Gun Control within the US

America has always been considered as somewhat of a cultural anomaly when compared to other areas of the World – especially here in the west.

 

Heritage is of upmost importance to some Americans, with the Amendments creating the backbone of society within the States. The amendments are integral to the American way of life, that some swear by them as if they were a religion.

 

Living in America, considered to-be the home of the brave and land of the free, one can abide by a certain list of amendments, created to alter the Constitution of the United States already in existence. The amendments are considered to be somewhat unorthodox, especially when consulting their second amendment.

 

‘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’.

 

When amended in 1791, the World was a very different place to what it is now, especially taking into account weaponry. The weapon of the 18th century tended to be a single-shot musket or cutlass, which when compared to the killing technology these days, differs hugely.

 

Capacity to carry out mass shootings then was somewhat limited due to the before mentioned reasons. For example, there was only one shooting in 1764, and forty during the 19th century. However, as weapons became more advanced, these numbers would rise.

 

Automatic weapons changed the game completely. Following the creation of the Browning automatic rifle (BAR) via John Browning, killing large amounts of people suddenly became very easy. After the First World War, weapons similar to the BAR became available for general sale.

 

Fast-forward to 2018, and America has seen another tragic shooting at a school in Florida this month, which saw 17 people killed or injured. Last year, the amount of shootings in the US was 346, with the Las Vegas shooting in October killing fifty-eight making all the headlines.

 

The most recent Florida shooting saw a 19-year-old student, who previously went to the school, utilising an AR-15 assault rifle to carry out the attack. Nikolas Cruz was said to acquire the rifle legally, made easier by the fact that one does not require fingerprints or a permit to purchase said gun. Processes like this are common throughout America.

 

How and why is it so easy for a nineteen year old to acquire a weapon such as an AR-15?

 

Well, within the United States there is a law that was passed in November of 2016, stating that sellers should carry out back ground checks on buyers in Nevada, but was never enforced. This is a trend within America because they don’t seem to have adapted to the times we are now living in.

 

Today, President Donald Trump has announced that perhaps the best way to fight fire is in fact with fire by stating teachers should be armed. President Trump has been recorded as saying that out breaks, such as the one in Florida, could be ended very quickly. Meanwhile, families of all who have been affected are grieving, as well as calling for access to guns to be reduced significantly.

 

One of the reasons behind the lack of support for banning guns within the US is the National Rifle Association. Set up in 1871, the NRA aimed to ‘promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis’. Conversely in recent years, the Association has gained a lot of power within congress, which includes the power to involve themselves in legislation changes.

 

In terms of sheer scale, the NRA claims to have 5 million members since the Sandy Hook school shooting, which took place in December of 2012. Past members have included former President George HW Bush and Chuck Norris.

 

Speaking to a UK coordinator of the Gun Control Network, Chrissie, about the state of gun control within the US, she believes that it should be a ‘privilege’ to own a gun and not a right. She believes that on the whole however, it would be ‘impossible to ban guns’ as ‘Pandora’s box has been opened and we cannot shut it now’.

 

When asked if there should be a law that all states comply regarding gun safety and gun laws, Chrissie told me that because there are no physical borders between states in the US, a law that suits all would be very hard to enforce. This is a problem because no one can check people for weapons when crossing borders, therefore any regulations would be nearly impossible to enforce.

 

Interviewing Chrissie, and looking up many sources regarding to gun safety and crime within the US has been very eye opening. It is simply mind – boggling that this sort of behaviour can continue, with mass shootings happening within the US every year, and on multiple occasions. Chrissie stated herself that the more guns that are placed within a society, the more killings there are.

 

That for me says it all, and there is no way that US politicians, such as President Trump, should look to approach the issue with more self defensive weapons for those staffing places such as local schools. This neither helps the issue, just simply creates more problematic and ethical questions.

 

Hopefully America will be able to instigate further restrictions on gun lobbies such as the National Rifle Association, so they cannot influence the rules any further than they do today. Only then I think we will be able to see changes within gun legislation in the US.

 

 

 

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