Opinion: Gun Control is necessary

CJ Brown

We, as Americans, need to take a good hard look at what has happened in our country. In 2016, over 13,000 people died due to a firearm, and this number increases every year. We’ve seen mass shooting after mass shooting in Las Vegas, Texas, Orlando, and so many other places. There have already been over 390 mass shootings in 2017 (a mass shooting is classified as a firearms-related incident with multiple victims.) It is estimated that there are 310 million guns in circulation in America, almost one gun for every citizen. These numbers are much greater than any other country in the world, and something has to be done about it.

Many Americans will argue that complete gun control is impossible, and there is nothing that we can do about the problem that has been ravaging our country. I disagree. Australia is a prime example and blueprint of what we can do in America. Following a mass shooting in 1996, Australia banned all automatic and semi-automatic weapons. In a major government buy-back program, the Australian government bought over 660,000 guns, costing half a billion tax dollars. Although this seems like a lot of money, there hasn’t been a mass shooting in Australia since, and this law has saved an estimated 200 lives per year.

Americans were given the right to bear arms in the constitution through the second amendment. However, this was a document written 230 years ago, in fear of a tyrannical government. This bill was originally passed in case an unjust leader came to power, and the United States was in danger of becoming a dictatorship. However, in today’s government, with a system of checks and balances in place, it is pretty much impossible for one person, or even a group, to create an inequitable society.

Another thing we have to consider is bump stocks. These are attachments that can be put on semi-automatic weapons that makes them mimic the speed of fully automatic guns, which are illegal in the US. However, bump stocks are legal, and can increase firing rates to 400-800 rounds a minute. This technology helped the gunman in the recent Las Vegas mass shooting shoot over 1,100 rounds, killing 59 people and wounding over 500. If we ban bump stocks, tragedies like the Las Vegas shooting could possibly be avoided in the future.

I do believe in the right for Americans to own guns for the purposes of hunting or home defense. In many cases, a gun is the only way for someone to put food on the table. However, there is no reason for anyone outside of military and law enforcement to own semi-automatic and automatic weapons. A change has to be made in America. It is time to ask ourselves, how many lives is enough?

Opinion articles written by staff members represent their personal views. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent WSPN as a publication.