The recent spike in mass shootings comes with a question that toys with Americans’ political psyche: Should the second amendment be repealed? And there is a quite simple answer; absolutely. America has fallen victim to a redundant loop of: a shooting, the issue of gun violence being brought into question, politicians saying it is too soon to speak on the issue, and thoughts and prayers being given to the victims and their families. There comes a time when thoughts and prayers are not enough. These “well wishes” need to be replaced with legitimate action. Take guns out of American’s hands.
In order to speak on the issue of guns, it is important to refer to where American gun culture initiated, the constitution, or more specifically the second amendment. Some refer to the second amendment as solely “the right to bear arms” but in reality, the actual amendment goes much deeper. The entire amendment states:
“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.”
To put in simpler terms, the amendment in its rawest form says that American Citizens should be armed in order to form a militia against a tyrannical government. This implies that Americans should be able to arm themselves to the equivalent of their government. If this amendment was taken as literally as pro-gun individuals intend, Americans would legally be able to possess nuclear missiles, and hand grenades. Of course, if the most advanced piece of American artillery was still the musket, the situation would be quite different, but the solemn truth is that eighteenth century laws simply cannot protect twenty-first century weapons.
Change is not only good, but often necessary. The second amendment was ratified 300 years ago. If America still held on to all of its laws from three centuries ago, women would not be able to vote, and people of color would still be considered three-fifths of a person.
There seems to be a common ideology among the pro-gun community that goes as follows: If you take away guns, nothing will change, except now only the “bad guys” have guns. With this statement comes an easy rebuttal. If one were to look at Australia, for example, they would see that taking away guns is, in fact, quite effective. In April of 1996, a man killed 35 people with a semi-automatic weapon in a popular Australian tourist area in Port Arthur. Australian Prime Minister John Howard decided that one shooting was all his country needed to crack down on guns, and he made the process of acquiring a rapid-fire weapon almost impossible. In 2016, The University of Sydney conducted a study showing that Australia has not experienced a single mass shooting since the revoking of firearms in 1996. 18 years prior to the legislation (1979-1996) there were 13 fatal mass shootings in Australia.
To simplify things even more, let’s put it into numbers. On average, 96 people are killed a day from a gun, and to make matters worse, seven of those daily deaths are children. The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of the woman being killed by five times. And as if those numbers weren’t jarring enough, America’s gun homicide rate is 25 times the average of other high-income countries, so to those saying that taking guns away won’t solve the problem, why is the United States the only country experiencing this problem at such high numbers? May it possibly have a correlation with America’s prevalent gun culture?
The other primary reason for America’s affinity for guns lies at the government level with lobbying. A gun lobby is defined as “an organized group which attempts to influence public policy and law with respect to firearms, especially as an advocate of ownership of and access to firearms by individual citizens”.Companies like the National Rifle Association (NRA) pay politicians to vote in preference of their pro-gun agenda. In 2018 alone, Texas Senator Ted Cruz has received approximately 77,450 dollars from the NRA. Guns have turned America into an Oligarchy rather than a democracy. While students “march for their lives,” the cries for help fall on deaf ears, as many politicians are more concerned about their pocketbook than the voice of the American people.
The abundance of mass shootings in America is so great, that we as a society are becoming desensitized to them. There is an obvious issue at hand when another massacre appears on the news, and no one bats an eye. How can America pride itself on being such a developed nation, when we continue to see one, very prominent problem, and try to solve it with thoughts and prayers? Thoughts and prayers are not enough. If thoughts and prayers worked, we wouldn’t have seen a mass shooting after Columbine in 1999. It is 2018. Thoughts and prayers did not stop Nikolas Cruz from killing 17 of his peers just two months ago. Avoiding an issue does not make it subside. It does the opposite. Unless guns are revoked, innocent Americans will continue to die, and the United States will continue to be defined by the issue it most ignores. Repeal the second amendment to make America safe.