34; the exact number of reported mass shootings in the United States since the Las Vegas tragedy on October 1st 2017. This leads to one question for lawmakers: when will enough be enough?
The topic of gun control is one of the longest, most controversial debates in U.S. history. Both sides of the debate typically use the same arguments: those for gun control argue for the sake of public safety and security, while those against gun control say it is a 2nd Amendment right. While this may be true, the same document that grants citizens the right to bear arms also counts the African-Americans as three-fifths of a person so it might be time to stop referring to the Constitution as “the law of the land”.
According to The Giffords Law Center, 93 Americans are killed by a gun every single day, which equates to about three deaths per hour. Over 100,000 people are shot each year in the U.S., 38,000 of who lose their lives.
Although the U.S. is considered to be one of the most industrialized, modernized nations in the world, it falls far behind other countries on this issue. The Giffords Law Center reported that Americans are 25 times more likely to be killed with a gun than any other developed nation. While the U.S. is considered to be one of the most dominant world superpowers, it falls well behind the curve of this dangerous social issue.
The statistics are just as shocking among the American youth. In terms of youth gun violence, the Law Center revealed that children and young adults 24 years of age and under, make up about 38% of all firearm deaths and non-fatal injuries in the U.S. In regards to safety; over 1.69 million children age 18 and under are living in households with loaded and unlocked firearms.
The data is even more alarming when looking at race or ethnicity. Firearm homicide is the leading cause of death for African Americans under 45 years of age. Although they only make up 13% of the country’s population, 24% of African-Americans suffered about 24% of all forearm deaths in 2009 and over 54% of all firearm homicides in the U.S.
Among homicides, guns are typically the weapon of choice used to commit violent acts. In a study conducted in 2007 by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, it was discovered that nearly 70% of all reported murders nationwide were committed with a firearm. In that same year, 385,178 firearm crimes were committed which included 11, 512 murders, 190, 514 robberies, and 183,153 aggravated assaults.
Beyond all of this troubling research, the solution is clear: stricter gun control legislation. Following the passing of the Brady Act in 1994 through the end of 2012, background checks at the time of firearm purchase have blocked more than 2.4 million prohibited consumers. Among those prohibited were domestic abusers, convicted felons, mentally ill persons, and other unstable individuals. According to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, in 2012 alone background checks blocked 192,043 prohibited persons from gaining access to firearms which included over 82,000 felons.
If it were not for the passage of the aforementioned Act, who knows how many other devastating incidents such as those at Virginia Tech or Aurora, there would have been. Countless innocent lives are taken every day because of the absence of gun control and the issue is getting worse as time goes on. Getting access to a firearm in this country is easier than obtaining a fake ID and that says a lot about the priorities lawmakers have. From the Columbine massacre, to the tragedy at Sandy Hook, it goes to show that support loose gun control will stop at nothing for their ability to freely possess weapons.
But there must come a point when America does look at itself and say; enough is enough to the senseless and seemingly never ending cycle of gun violence? When does the right to live outweigh the right to freely bear arms? These are questions to be answered by the American people and the people that represent them in executive and the legislative branches of government.
By: Almaz Abedje
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