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Gun Violence and Mass Shootings

According to the Gun Violence Archive, from January 1st to November 6th of 2017, there have been 307 mass shootings in the United States—that’s nearly one mass shooting every day. The Gun Violence Archive defines a mass shooting as a gunman who shoots or kills four or more people at the same general time and location. There have been a total of 13,375 deaths in 2017—633 of them were children 11 and under, and 2,825 were teenagers. The government has never defined what a mass shooting is, nor differentiated them from other shootings. However, the Congressional Research Service defines it as “a shooting in which a gunman kills four or more people, selects victims randomly (which rules out gang and domestic shootings), and attacks in a public place. By this definition, there have “only” been nine mass shootings this year.

Thirty of the deadliest mass shootings in the United States have occurred since 1949, and seventeen of them have occurred in the last ten years. Just last month, on October 1st, the deadliest mass shooting in American history took place, the Las Vegas shooting. The gunman, Stephen Paddock, killed 59 people, including himself, and injured over 400. Paddock opened fire from his Mandalay Bay hotel room, into the Route 91 Harvest music festival. Authorities found over 20 rifles in his room, including an automatic rifle. They found another 24 guns in his home in Mesquite, Nevada. He acquired some of them over the course of twenty years, however, 33 of them were bought between October 2016 and September of 2017. His motives for this devastation is an ongoing investigation. Previously, in 2016, the Orlando shooting had held the record for the deadliest mass shooting with 50 deaths. The Orlando shooter’s motive was to protest the U.S. bombings in Syria and Iraq, in addition to being seen as a hate crime due to the fact that he opened fire in a gay bar.

On Sunday, November 5th, 2017, a gunman opened fire in a church in Sutherland Springs, a town on the outskirts of San Antonio, Texas. The gunman, identified as Devin Patrick Kelly, killed 26 people, with ages ranging from 18 months to 72 years old. Kelly was armed with two guns, a rifle, and a handgun. The authorities haven’t determined a clear motive, however, Kelly did send threatening messages to his mother-in-law who attends that church. This is still a developing story, detectives think there may have been more than one shooter. Sutherland Springs is a small town with a previous population of about 600, lost 4% of their population due to this shooting.

There is no doubt that the United States has an issue with mass shootings. The U.S. is home to about 5% of the world’s population, yet 31% of all public mass shootings occur here. Despite all of the lives that have been taken, the protests and petitions put in place, the current administration has not taken action to address this issue. In fact, when Trump was asked about the Vegas shootings, he stated, “Look, we have a tragedy. What happened is, in many ways, a miracle,” implying that many more lives could have been taken. While the overall casualties of these events matter, the fact remains none of these innocent civilians should have been murdered in the first place. Time and time again, the government makes mass shootings seem unavoidable—as if they were natural disasters. The federal government has the power to make guns less available to the public, yet they have not made any federal laws to do so. In addition, gun rights groups, such as the National Rifle Association are known for giving politicians money. During the 2016 campaigns, gun rights groups gave $5.9 million dollars to GOP candidates.

A new gun control law was voted on in Nevada, in the aftermath of the Las Vegas Shooting. Until this law passes, Nevada residents are able to purchase and own guns with little to no background checks or permits. In addition, bump stocks are up for possible legislation. Bump stocks are devices used to change semi-automatic rifles into fully automatic rifles which is what the Las Vegas shooter used.

On April 28, 1996, the worst shooting in Australian history occurred. Martin Bryant, a 28 year-old Australian man opened fire at a cafe in Port Arthur, Tasmania, Australia. He killed 35 people and injured 23. In the aftermath of this shooting, Australia created strict gun laws, including banning semi-automatic and automatic rifles, established new licensing requirements, made a 28 day waiting period to purchase a gun, and created a national firearms registry. Considering the number of mass shootings that have taken place, many people argue that the United States should do the same.

How many more lives will be taken and ruined before the government creates new legislation?

 

Sources

“At Least 26 Dead at Baptist Church near San Antonio in Worst Shooting in Texas History .” Dallas News, 5 Nov. 2017, www.dallasnews.com/news/texas/2017/11/05/reported-shooting-baptist-church-town-near-san-antonio.

Cillizza, Chris. “8 Charts That Explain America’s Gun Culture.” CNN, Cable News Network, 3 Oct. 2017, www.cnn.com/2017/10/02/politics/guns-maps-las-vegas/index.html.

“Gun Violence Archive.” Gun Violence Archive, www.gunviolencearchive.org/.

Willingham, AJ, and Saeed Ahmed. “Mass Shootings in America Are a Serious Problem — and These 9 Charts Show Just Why.” CNN, Cable News Network, 5 Oct. 2017, www.cnn.com/2016/06/13/health/mass-shootings-in-america-in-charts-and-graphs-trnd/index.html.

Andone, Dakin. “The Las Vegas Shooter’s Road to 47 Guns.” CNN, Cable News Network, 6 Oct. 2017, www.cnn.com/2017/10/06/us/stephen-paddock-47-guns/index.html.

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7 COMMENTS

    • Well, I guess if the solution to stop gun violence in America is by banning all guns, then I guess the solution to stop all car accident deaths is by banning cars.

      Heck, why stop there? I guess we can also ban water because so many people drown in it. Or, even better, let’s ban humans from having hearts because so many people die of heart disease everyday! Or wait, even better; let’s eradicate the 1st Amendment to stop bullying! I mean, you seem to want to eradicate the 2nd, so why not the 1st?

      There’s a bad side and good side to everything, even allowing civilians to own firearms. It gives us the ability to fight against a tyrannical government and defend ourselves, but sadly at the cost of allowing people to purchase them for criminal intent.

      • Hi-

        Guns are meant to hurt people. Cars, water, hearts, etc. are not to KILL, even still, we DO regulate them. We have doctors preventing heart disease, licenses preventing bad drivers, lifeguards preventing drowning. She wasn’t talking about banning guns, but regulating them.

        If you would like, come talk to the journalism teacher in room 307 and you can write an opinion article in response!

        • I don’t think you understand the message he’s trying to put out. First of all, the claim, “guns are meant kill” is entirely false and has been a debunked statement ever since the beginning of the gun control debate. When firearms are made by a gunsmith, they have a specific purpose: to force out a projectile out of the barrel in high velocities. Guns are like machines, tools with different functions and complex parts. Obviously, firearms in particular use combustion pressure from the burning powder to force the bullet out of the cartridge after the primer was hit. I’m just talking from experience from shooting guns and understanding gun safety from being in the Boy Scouts. Yes, guns do have the capability of causing damage. However, it’s not the gun that chooses to destroy, it is the person behind the gun that does.

  1. I’m sorry, but in reality bump fire stocks just make the weapon worse. True, they are meant to allow semi-automatics to mimic a fully-automatic weapon, however they don’t really preform this task well.

    Also, never use liberal sources for information on firearms, they are 99% of the time wrong. I know this from personal experience. Instead, take info from people who actually take interest in guns and don’t just label all black-colored firearms as “Assault Weapons”, which is in fact an entirely fake category of firearm.

    • Don’t forget the fact that most shootings occur in cities run by leftist mayors like Chicago and Detroit. Shootings that happen in cities are often related to gang violence or drug related. Chicago might have one of the most restrictive gun laws in the country, but criminals can still get guns off the street aka the black market from some shady guy wearing a trench coat. Lol his trench coat might contain some weed and crack, not just stolen guns.

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