In the wake of another firearm tragedy in the States, the contentious issue of American gun policy is being more keenly discussed than ever before. Begging the question, why something wasn’t done sooner.
Last Friday, twenty six people of which twenty were aged between six and seven years old, were gunned down by one Adam Lanza in
the sleepy town of Newtown, Connecticut. Unfortunately, events such as this are not uncommon in the United States with several mass shooting occurring across the pond with the last fifteen or so years, including a massacre in a movie theatre in Colorado earlier this year. So what more will it take for the American people to forfeit the second amendment in favour for a bit of sanity.
Many Americans will argue that the problem isn’t the widespread possession of firearms but the mental well-being of the perpetrators. The opposition want free mental health care in order to decrease the likelihood of this happening. Others will argue with the frequency of these shootings increasing in the past few years that residents require firearms in order to protect themselves. However, when similar shootings happened in the UK, the government cracked down on gun possession and fire arm homicide rate is 0.1 in 100,000 across England and Wales.
Some say tightening gun laws will have minimal effect on gun violence in the short-term because the weapons are already out there. However crack downs on illegal weapons and enforced psychological testing and licensing for gun owners is easy enough to introduce. Michael Moore argued on Twitter that murder is ingrained in American culture, deriving from the execution of the native Americans all the way to the invasion of Iraq.
While that may be true, it is wrong to adopt the mentality that because of this changes shouldn’t be made. Racism and homophobia are prime examples of social wrongs that are gradually being faded out and if action isn’t taken sooner rather than later then gun culture is an evil that will afflict the United States for generations to come.
- The United States are 12th in the world for firearm-related deaths.
- Per capita, The USA’s homicide rate is 4 times higher than the United Kingdom and Australia, where there is significant gun control.
- Americans own the most firearms per capita in the world.
- 8,583 people were killed by firearms in the United States in 2011.
- There are 89 firearms for every 100 Americans.
- You are 36 times more likely to be killed by gun fire in the United States than the United Kingdom, again per capita.
- Over 100,000 people were killed by firearms in the United States between 1998 and 2009. The equivalent of the population of Exeter.
- 13 – Number of mass shootings in the USA during 2012.
Twenty children and six adults have been robbed of a future, a chance for freedom. They’ve been robbed of the ‘American dream’ that the United States prides itself on being able to provide. The time is now for change. You can restrict the number of perpetrators through better mental health care but you can also restrict the tools they have access too. Anybody saying that guns aren’t the problem are kidding themselves. How many more innocent people have to die before the American people see sense?