America’s Greatest Love-Hate Relationship: Guns

Image obtained from Creative Commons.

Image obtained from Creative Commons.

Reagan Reed, Staff Writer

In a state like Kentucky, convincing people that gun control isn’t a bad thing can be extremely difficult. Most people immediately jump to the conclusion that people in support of gun control are trying to take away all guns or trying to get rid of the second amendment, but that couldn’t be less accurate. In reality, I don’t hate guns or think that nobody should own one; they obviously serve many purposes, such as law enforcement, self defense, or hunting.

However, the past few years of constant mass shootings and senseless deaths have forced me to reinforce my views on the subject. As a student, there’s a constant environment of being afraid of having a school shooting. We have lockdown drills every so often as a reminder of the possibility, it’s always in the news, and our parents talk to us about what to do if we’re put in that situation. It’s our reality. No one can seem to find a solution because each side is so extreme in their beliefs that no one is even willing to sit down and have a peaceful conversation about how to stop the problem. I guess you could say that’s what I’m trying to accomplish with this article: to start a discussion so maybe something can change.

In my mind, if you’re going to have an opinion on something, it should be an informed opinion. So, since I am in support of gun control I thought it would only be right for me to do some research into the subject and the facts we have on it. The statistics I found only made me feel like we need it even more.

The first source I read was a statistic on leading causes of child death, and in the number two spot, at a rate of 15% of all child deaths: gun deaths. The only other cause that more children are dying from than guns is motor vehicle accidents, which are out of most people’s control, obviously. But that means that around every one in seven kids to die is because of a gun, which is completely in our control. As a fifteen year old, no longer a child but still nowhere near an adult, these numbers scare me. Of course a lot of them aren’t mass shootings; a lot of the time they can be accidental, or because of street violence, or even suicide. However, children should not be put into a position where they can get shot and killed so consistently to where it is the second leading cause of child deaths.

The issue of mass shootings seem to have been forgotten by people as well based on the minimal news coverage of them; it’s like they’ve become so common it’s not big news anymore. We’ve become complacent with the fact that this is happening, and we’re willing just to sit here and not do anything about it except tweet “Thoughts and Prayers.” 

It’s not just youth that are being hurt here either, it’s everybody, it’s people in their own homes. Five women are murdered every day by guns in America. Five women every single day. Most of them are because of domestic violence too. These women are being attacked by their own partners who were supposed to be people who protect them, but instead turned to violence and have a weapon capable of killing them right in their hands. A woman’s chance of being killed during a fight with their significant other increases 500% if there is a gun present. Guns don’t make people kill other people, I do know that, and I’m not saying it’s otherwise. It does increase the amount of murders though, and it does make it easier for people to die senselessly over an argument.

We have to start somewhere to find a solution to this problem, and please don’t say that people will still get guns even if we outlaw them. To me that is an excuse to sit by and watch the violence unfold without feeling any guilt or responsibility. Of course people will get their hands on guns if there are restrictions on them. That’s what people do with literally every illegal substance. But we don’t just make other things legal because “people will do it anyways,” because that’s not a logical way of thinking. It doesn’t make sense to give people free reign just because the problem isn’t 100% eliminated another way. I think we can reduce gun violence if we start small and try to think of ways to make it where there are laws in place to protect us, but still offer enough freedom so that law abiding citizens who actually need them can get them. I realize this is a fine line I’m attempting to walk here, but I would rather we do something small to create change then do nothing at all.