Gun Violence and Gun Control: What is the answer?



Mikaela Millslagle | Opinion Editor

It seems to be that lately you cannot access any version of the news without seeing something related to gun violence. Every time I find myself scrolling through my news app, there’s at least one headline that involves the words “gun control,” “______ shot and killed,” or “mass shooting.” This last weekend alone, I heard of yet ANOTHER shooting in Colorado. The prevalence of this is staggering, as a quick search of the internet showed that there have been approximately 300 mass shootings this year in the United States alone. When I say mass shooting, I’m referring to any event in which multiple people were injured or killed, with the minimum seeming to be four individuals. Why is this such a problem? That seems to be the question so many people are begging for an answer to.

In addition to this, there is a widespread call for gun control across our nation. Many people are demanding that guns be taken away from citizens, that there be more laws put in place, that the government do SOMETHING to stop this craziness from continuing. This in itself is a double-edged sword, as there is also a large part of our nation that opposes gun control. There are many individuals that pride themselves on the Second Amendment, and push strongly against all opposition of having this right taken away. Looking into a bit of statistical data about countries who do enforce gun control, I came across a few graphs here and was surprised at what I found. While many people like to call for gun control and assume that less ownership will translate into lower homicide rates, the research here indicates something different. While the United States does have one of the highest gun ownership rates worldwide, this doesn’t equal the highest gun homicide rate. In fact, it’s shown that countries like Mexico and Brazil, which have substantially lower gun ownership rates, have much higher homicide rates. Statistics like this push me further into opposing gun control.

Access of guns stretches beyond public stores, where you have to be of a certain age and meet requirements for different gun purchases. There are multiple avenues for individuals to gain gun access, including illegal trades such as the black market. Countries with low gun ownership but high homicide rates are those in which illegal trades are much higher, which indicates that more guns must be circulating around the population than what is known. Calls for gun control would likely push our country into a similar pattern, where obtaining guns moves to methods similar to obtaining drugs. A negative stigma associated with guns is not the answer for reducing these mass shootings and gun homicides we’ve seen so much of lately.

Arguments for both sides have been presented multiple, and I’ve read through many compelling articles that show support for each side of the issue. Through all of this, however, my stance has remained steadfast. My family is one that throws on coveralls, laces up our boots, grabs hand warmers and a coffee before heading out the door around 5:00 AM most weekend mornings once the first day of bow season begins. There aren’t many seasons that my father misses, and I do my best to try and get in a good deer during shotgun season. My brothers love shooting their rifles and bows, and most of my cousins make it a competition for who can get the biggest deer. My father and his friends have been working together to run hunting lodges, hoping to open a new one next year even. Hunting and guns have been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember, and gun safety has always been something that has been stressed. In order to become a hunter, you are required to take and past a hunter’s safety course. This has impacted myself and my younger siblings and our knowledge on gun safety tremendously, so why should this not be something required of all individuals? Safety measures and knowledge should be provided to each person who wishes to own and operate a firearm, whether it be for sport or recreation. Some type of guidelines need to be implemented in order to satisfy opposition and support of our Second Amendment and hopefully reduce the ridiculous amount of shootings we’ve come accustomed to seeing.