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Other countries make it work; why can’t we?

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Students protesting for gun control

Students protesting for gun control

Students protesting for gun control

Mina Butt, Writer

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There have been more mass shooting in the United States than any other country in the history of the world. There is no fixed definition of a mass shooting in the United States. However, according to the Investigative Assistance for Violent Crimes Act of 2012, signed into law by Congress in January 2013, a “mass killing”  consists of at least 3 victims, excluding the perpetrator.

Studies have shown that the rate at which public mass shootings occur has tripled since 2011. According to research, there were 383 mass shootings in 2016, 346 shootings in 2017, and 35 shootings since the beginning of 2018. Violence has surrounded the United States for years, yet the government has failed to produce legislation which effectively enforces gun control.  

Due to the uncontrollable gun violence, citizens of this country are demanding for the United States to look at how other countries have dealt with their gun issues. For example, Australia had a severe mass shooting in 1996 and the government immediately took action. Only 12 days had passed since the Port Arthur massacre when the Australian government decided to pass the National Firearms Agreement (NFA). The NFA placed tight control on semi-automatic and fully automatic weapons, although permitted their use by licensed individuals who required them for a purpose other than ‘personal protection’. Numerous studies have shown that the NFA has significantly reduced gun violence in Australia and according to research, a study  found that there were no mass shooting deaths of five or more in Australia from 1997 through 2016.

Additionally, from the moment 43-year-old Thomas Hamilton unloaded his arsenal of handguns on children and staff at Dunblane primary school in the United Kingdom on March 13 in 1996, gun control was immediately enacted. Currently, firearms are strictly regulated in the UK and studies show that the country has one of the lowest gun homicide rates in the world.

Furthermore, Germany, a country filled with guns, has an extremely low gun homicide rate. Germany has one of the highest weapons-per-head rates in the world and the country’s police union estimates that the number of illegal guns is considerably higher than legal weapons. Despite this, their gun homicide rate is significantly smaller than the United States’. Experts have inferred that this is because of the efficient gun laws that Germany has put into place. In 2002, a 19-year-old student in the Thuringian state capital, Erfurt, shot dead 16 people at the school that had recently expelled him. Within a year, the law regulating access to guns had been changed. Germany is the only country in the world where anyone under the age of 25 who applies for their first firearms licence must undergo a psychiatric evaluation with a trained counsellor, involving personality and anger management tests.

According to many citizens, “thoughts and prayers” are no longer enough. Gun violence in America has become unmanageable. The fact of the matter is that the United States is a land of guns. America continued to be a gun loving country, even when twelve people died in Aurora, Colorado due to a gunman opening fire in a movie theater. America continued to be a gun loving country, even when a gunman killed 27 people, including 20 children, at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. America remains a gun loving country, even when 17 people were killed at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland, Florida on February 14, 2018 .

The most recent mass shooting in Parkland, Florida has triggered many Americans to demand for effective gun control. Americans are tired of feeling unsafe and afraid. As a result, protests and marches are being planned across the nation in order to demand action from what is viewed as a currently unproductive and incapable government. Change is being demanded and according to many Americans, change needs to come and it needs to come now.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Other countries make it work; why can’t we?”

  1. maddison Garza on March 12th, 2018 6:48 pm

    I think it’s really important for us students to get involved in something that we believe in so strongly. we’re the ones being affected. People say that teenagers can’t speak their mind. well what are supposed to do? Let people die? No one’s doing anything about it. And I shouldn’t be afraid to go to school or send my siblings to school. And another thing. If the shooter of the Parkland, Florida shooting was so mentally ill, how did he have access to a gun in the first place? Why didn’t he have proper surveillance? We’re tired of being silenced and we’re doing something, whether people like it or not.

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Other countries make it work; why can’t we?