Too Many Guns?

By Isabel Paner

Posted on December 1, 2017 at 11:15 PM PDT

Following the aftermath of the horrifying mass shooting in Vegas that left 58 people dead and 546 injured, many Americans wondered when would gun violence cease? Thoughts and prayers offered up by American politicians following these tragedies are only empty words when there’s no push for improved legislation behind them. In 2012, 20 children were killed in the Sandy Hook shooting. In 2015, 13,286 people were killed by guns, including 475 left dead in the wake of 372 mass shootings. Enough is enough.

While stricter policy on gun control might not completely stop gun violence, it will still save lives. The United States is an outlier when it comes to gun laws and gun ownership compared to other developed and Western countries. In Spain, only 1.1 million civilians have licenses to own 3 million guns, while about 55 million Americans own 265 million guns.

Australia is also a prime example when it comes to effective gun laws. Following a mass shooting in 1996 where 35 people were killed, the Australian government implemented legislation that banned automatic and semiautomatic firearms, as well as a buyback program. Guns are required to be registered in every state and territory. Despite backlash from anti-gun control supporters and far-right parties, Australia’s gun laws have proved to save lives. Seven years later, annual firearm-related homicides rate dropped by 42%. Gun-related suicide rates dropped by 57%, and there hasn’t been a single mass shooting in Australia since 1996, compared to the United States’ hundreds.

The homicide rate in the United States is also nearly six times the one in Canada and 16 times that of Germany, whose strict gun control laws restrict ownership, acquisition, and carrying of firearms to those with a creditable need and ban fully automatic weapons. Kevin Quealy and Margot Sanger-Katz for the New York Times reported, “In Poland and England, only about one out of every million people die in gun homicides each year - about as often as an American dies in an agricultural accident or falling from a ladder.”

Clearly, laws need to change. I’m not saying we should completely take away gun ownership, but we should enact stricter gun control laws unless we want to continue facing the repercussions of harrowing gun violence.