by Miles Cutlar
13,286. That’s how many people were killed by firearms in 2015 alone, according to – www.bbc.com/news. When I first read that statistic, I thought wow, that’s a lot of people. But I also thought that’s a lot of people who I didn’t know and had no relation to. So 13,286 is just a number to me; but to the thousands of families who lost their loved ones, it’s personal. It hits home. And it’s even worse when those 13,286 who died did not have to. They were senseless tragedies due to a poison in the streets of the United States and perhaps the biggest flaw of the constitution known as guns.
Karin Wilson was a mother. She used to have a child. He was ripped off the face of the earth due to gun violence. The article on opposing viewpoints does not tell me how he got shot, but it really does not matter because the effect it had on Mrs. Wilson was nothing short of devastating. Mrs. Wilson’s only child; Christian, was killed on December 3, 1999. In an article submitted to opposing viewpoints, Mrs. Wilson tries to describe some of her pain; ( “Let me tell you how my life has changed. I won’t have the comfort of my son looking after me in my old age. I won’t have my son around making sure I’m eating well, taking my medications properly, taking care of my bills, making sure my house is warm in winter, and the sidewalks shovelled and de-iced when it snows. I don’t have any more graduations to attend, or opportunities to applaud successful career achievements.”) Mrs. Wilson goes on to advocate for better gun control and support for other victims of gun violence. It is great that she refused to stay a victim of gun violence and chose to become an advocate against it, but the fact of the matter is that Mrs. Wilson’s life is destroyed. At the end of the day, no amount of advocation is going to bring her son back. Mrs. Wilson’s story is not an uncommon one, and it is something we hear about all too often. Guns do two things: They put one person in the ground, and they leave at least one person behind to feel their pain for the rest of their lives.
One protest of gun owners in favor of keeping guns might be for recreational purposes. By recreational they mean hunting for deer, raccoons, or other game in the woods or on a reserve. Based on that, it is concluded that those people are perfectly fine with thousands of people dying a year due to gunfire as long as they are allowed to kill animals for fun. This is ludacris. Now, although those guns used in hunting have no direct correlation to the number of people killed due to gunfire; who is to say that those hunting guns cannot be used to kill someone. This is why guns must be completely banished for any purpose or use.
Of course the main argument against the banishing of all firearms would be the existence of the second amendment in the Constitution. The second amendment states (“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”)-(The Constitution) First of all, when it states “A well regulated militia,” it is not clear who that is supposed to apply to, but it seems to be that a majority of the people responsible for gun-related deaths in the United States today do not exactly “fit the bill.” For example, it is hard to say that Adam Lanza; the man who shot and killed twenty children between six and seven years old at Sandy Hook elementary school, is considered to be part of a regulated militia. When James Madison and others wrote the Constitution, they were thinking about protecting themselves from empires like Great Britain who might want to conquer their land and kill their people. They were not, however, thinking about people like Adam Lanza, who are not interested in protection and rather have an agenda focused on killing as many people as they can. Then people say,“Well, you need more gun regulations.” In the United States we have had gun regulations in some form or another since 1934. From 1934 to 2016, that is eighty-two years. After eighty-two years of gun regulations in the United States, In 2016, In Chicago, Il, seven hundred people were killed due to gun violence. As of May 30, 2016, five hundred and ninety- three troops have been killed in Iraq under president Obama. That means that one hundred and seven more people have been killed in a city in the United States due to gun violence than in a war zone over seas in the middle east. Based on that, It is safe to say that gun regulations have not worked. The other argument that could be made, is protection. It could be said that if everyone has a gun, then everybody is safe and protected. First of all, guns do not have names on them, and they can get into the wrong hands very easily.(“Kids younger than three have gotten ahold of guns and shot someone at least 59 times this year.”)-(www.therace.org) The year that they are referring to is 2015, the same year that saw an average of thirty-six people get shot a day. That is more than one person getting shot every hour. Now it could be argued that if everyone uses their guns responsibly, then no one will get hurt. On one particular day, if every single person in the United States could use their guns “properly,” then no one gets shot. However, According to www.newsweek.com, about one in five Americans suffer from some sort of mental illness, so we cannot count on everyone being responsible with their firearms. On June 12, 2016, Omar mateen walked into an Orlando nightclub and gunned down forty-nine people before he was ultimately killed by police. On that day, June 12, 2016, it did not matter how responsible everyone else in the Unites States was with their firearms, because one man decided to go on a killing spree and he set the record for the most casualties during a mass shooting in the United States. It does not matter about how many regulations you have, or how many people decide not to shoot their guns that day, all it takes is one person to end dozens of people’s lives. Ultimately, all this destruction, sorrow, and tragedy, is due to our “precious” 2nd amendment.
It is understood that as long as the second amendment is in the constitution, it will be the law of the land. So then the problem arises of how to rid the constitution of the second amendment. Well, one way to do this would be to have a state propose a new amendment repealing the second amendment. If this new amendment gets two thirds of the house and the senate votes, then it will be sent off to all states for a vote in which it needs three-fourths of the states approvement. While it is accepted that the chances of this process being successful are next to impossible, make no mistake about it, history with guns shows us that in the coming years deaths will rise, not fall. This is a problem, that if ignored, will continue to get worse. Obviously the second amendment is still around today, which evidently shows that lawmakers will not care about this issue until they have to bury their own loved one because of gun violence.
Assuming that the process of the amendment was successful though, the issue of enforcement of this new law would then come into play. Obviously there would be some individuals who would not want to give up their guns. For this, it could be proposed that there would be a period of time put in place for people to turn in their firearms. After this period of time, all individuals that are caught in possession of a firearm can and will be arrested. The idea is to treat firearms like police officers treat illegal drugs. Yes, there are people who do illegal drugs in the United States, but those individuals all know the consequences if they get caught with those drugs. It is understood that this would be a very difficult process, but history shows us that the right thing is often hard to do.-(The Civil Rights Movement) Also, to clarify, it is not being suggested that firearms should be taken away from police officers, because they would be the ones who would enforce this law.
To conclude, it is clear that guns absolutely have no place in our society and must be taken off the streets immediately. The only way to do this is to propose a new amendment and through a process ultimately get the second amendment repealed. This new amendment would be like alcohol on a fresh wound. It would sting at first, but we all know it is for our own good and would ultimately heal our society in the long run.