The Reality of Being American

Amanda Rose Jones, Editor

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There are approximately three hundred million guns in total in the US. This estimates to nearly one gun for every member of the population. Gun violence is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States and claims hundreds of lives per day. Each day, forty-eight children and teens are shot in suicide attempts, unintentional shootings, and in murders. Each day, seven children and teens die from gun violence. Each day, forty children and teens are shot and survive. Thirty-two are shot in an assault, one survives a suicide attempt, and eight are shot unintentionally. This is the reality of being an American.

Because of these known statistics and the fatalities of gun violence, there has been major controversy over the topic of gun control, and how easy it is to obtain one in the United States. For example, in the state of Pennsylvania, to purchase a handgun in their Commonwealth you simply have to be an eighteen year old with no past history of violent crimes. No serious background check is done on the person purchasing said weapon, nor is their current mental status taken into consideration. Gun violence has been, and still is no stranger to the United States of America. It has been a large problem for decades, and the overall rates of this type of violence has been steadily rising since the turn of the twenty-first century. Since Former President Barack Obama left office, jurisdiction on attaining guns is becoming simpler as the days pass. The House repealed his act to have background checks on the people seeking to purchase a gun, making it so more mentally ill and dangerous people are able to obtain weapons. And so far in 2018, there have been: 22, 363 total number of incidents because of gun violence.

In Germany, to purchase a handgun, anyone under the age of 25 has to pass a psychiatric exam.  In Finland, Handgun license applicants are only allowed to buy firearms if they can prove they are active members of regulated shooting clubs. In Italy, to secure a gun permit, one must establish a genuine reason to possess a firearm and pass a background check. While mass shootings and other types of violence haven’t completely disappeared from these countries radar, the overall rates are ridiculously higher in the US.

No one is asking the government to try to suddenly up and remove all the guns from the United States. Not only is it unrealistic, but there are responsible people who own guns in America who will not and do not abuse the power that comes with owning a weapon. However, they are not the problem. The problem lies with the people who are able to easily attain a weapon but are not mentally fit to keep it. The problem is the legislation that allows these people to own automatic weapons in America when they plan to use it to harm others instead of simply protecting themselves. Those are the real problems, and those are the problems that need to be fixed in the United States. If you want to own a gun, and you are within legal rights to do so, do it. However, be smart with the weapon you have acquired and make sure it is in safe hands. Allowing America to keep the same legislation, is enabling the current situation at hand. And it will most likely result in higher rates of death in the US and more disagreement all around. Stronger laws on acquiring gun’s won’t entirely rid us of our automatic weapon problem in the United States, people will still illegally sell guns or will find other ways to buy them. But stronger laws would help us on our way to reducing the amount of gun violence in America.

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