Banning guns is not a panacea

But it’s the most obvious, direct way to reverse a generational trend that shames our nation


Madison Olsen

Actor and activist Matthew McConaughey was among the speakers at the #MarchForOurLives in downtown Austin on March 24, 2018, which attracted more than 10,000 to the Capitol today. “This is an American issue,” McConaughey said of gun control. “It’s a Texan issue. It’s a legal and law-abiding gun owner issue. It’s a mother issue. It’s a father issue. And, quite literally, this is our children’s issue.” McConaughey also said that consensus leading to action should be above politics. “My hope here is that we can find a common ground on what I see as a very much a common-sense issue. This is an issue anchored in purpose for all of us. It’s not anchored in politics.” Photo by Madison Olsen.

Julia Kay Smith, staff reporter

As a high school student in the United States, I know it’s out of the question to strip citizens of their Second Amendment right to own firearms. Prying military style assault rifles from the cold and clammy claws of the far right crypt that is President Donald Trump’s administration has become a lost cause. Focusing energy on excuses as to why gun violence is so prevalent today– violent video games, the lack of mental health support, as well as trauma or domestic violence in one’s background. Shootings and gun violence are so prevalent today because guns are still sold.

The argument that shootings are not an issue of guns, but one regarding people is faulted in itself. According to Merium-Webster, the definition of a shooting is “the action or practice of shooting with a gun”. Yes, that’s right, a gun. I agree that the access to mental health education and facilities is all too sparse in these trying times. However, guns are the real problem here. When talking about gun violence, we must consider the entire realm: mass shootings, homicides, and accidental deaths. 

Shootings and gun violence are so prevalent today because guns are still sold.

Starting with mass shootings, they are not just a problem of people wanting to harm people but a problem of access to weapons of mass destruction. According to the 2015 Mass Shooting Tracker, there is roughly one shooting for every day of the year in the United States, putting us at 355 mass shootings in 336 days. With guns circulating communities and getting into the wrong hands, people are dying in the masses. 

Moving onto homicides, the statement that guns don’t kill people but people kill people is partly true, except for the fact that its people killing people with guns. As told by the Human Development Index, the United States holds the record for homicides by firearm: roughly 29.7 deaths per 1 million people, more than 3 times its runner up, Switzerland. For some, guns symbolize safety and protection. However, with more guns lead to more death. In a 2013 study from both the CDC and Injury Prevention, the correlation between the amount of deaths in an area and the ownership of guns is positive; a 1% increase of gun ownership comes a 1% increase in homicides by gun. 

Gun violence is not only referring to the over 2,000 shootings that have happened in this country since Sandy Hook (Gun Violence Archive), but also to the increased number of suicides that come with an increased supply of guns. The name of the game here is “more guns, more death,” and suicide is no exception. Guns make suicide easier and quicker. According to the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 96.5% of fatal suicide attempts wielded firearms, while only 7.6% used poison, and 5.1% cutting. Victims of suicidal tendencies and thoughts should have the chance to get help and have their voice heard, not be silenced by the simple trigger of a handgun. 

Access to therapy, medications, or institutions is not going to solve the problem of outright violence in this country, and banning guns is only the first step of many.

Accidents happen, especially with guns. In an experiment conducted by the Emory University School of Medicine, they found that one third of boys between the ages 8-12 pulled the trigger upon finding a gun in their household. Critics would argue that it is unfair to ban everyday guns such as hunting rifles or handguns, but accidents are far too common and far too fatal. I would argue that at the very least, heavy restrictions be put on such guns in order to restrain the incidents from happening. 

We can’t all be perfect. Mental health affects people in different ways and everyone has a different background, some filled with violence and some filled with trauma. Access to therapy, medications, or institutions is not going to solve the problem of outright violence in this country, and banning guns is only the first step of many. Deaths due to guns are not caused by violent video games and problems can’t always be solved by a good guy with a gun. Continuing to allow guns to circulate through our towns and in and out of our homes is reckless, leaving us to wait like sitting ducks until the next act of violence is to occur.