The American Epidemic: Guns


Collin Bullock, Writer

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.

The second amendment of the Constitution has been held in the highest regard by gun owners in the United States since its ratification. But in past years, its validity in modern society has been brought into question. Particularly by Colombine. 22 years ago this week, two students walked into their school and spawned a national tragedy resulting in 13 deaths and  21 injuries. National horror spread with the news. Everyone agreed something had to be done to change this. So something was: Schools. Schools across the nation began practicing lockdown drills, where teachers shut the lights off, and the entire class huddled in a corner, away from the door. The earliest I remember this practice was 5th grade. 2011. The next year, 60 miles from my own school, it happened again. Sandy Hook. 26 people dead. 20 victims were children in Elementary School, just a few years younger than me. I didn`t understand what happened at the time. Part of me wishes I never did. 

Once again, people agreed something had to be done. Lockdowns were practiced again. But some teachers had a change this time: How to treat a bullet wound.

It`s been eight years since Sandy Hook. Commemorated through a virtual vigil, Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal spoke on the anniversary. “Those little boys and girls would be starting high school this year. Those parents, those young women, those educators inside those classrooms would have had eight fantastic years of personal growth time with friends, maybe marriages, maybe children of their own,” said Sen. Murphy. He and Sen. Blumenthal both expressed their hopes that commonsense laws may be passed under the new Presidential Administration.

But Legislation, as being considered, maybe too little too late. Last week, a Shooter opened fire at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis. 8 people were killed by a 19-year-old former employee, including 4 of the Sikh community. Last year, his Mother had called authorities after she raised concerns about his mental health, and how he may commit ¨Suicide by Cop.¨

In response, a shotgun was taken from the man. Months later, he purchased a rifle, and then another three months after that. He used those same rifles last week to kill 8 people. Somehow, this evaded the red flag law in place in Indiana.

Last month, a string of shootings targeted at spas killed 8 people, 6 of whom were Asian, making some consider that it may have been targeted. Some days after that, Ahmed Al Aliwi Al-Issa shot and killed 10 in a grocery store in Boulder. According to the nonprofit organization Gun Violence Archive, this adds to over 150 Shootings since January 1st..

At the time of the signing of the bill of rights, the Founders had flintlocks and muskets. Modern guns are far more precise and deadly. Weapons of war somehow find their way into the hands of civilians, when hunting or self-defense would have no use for Automatic, or Semi-Automatic, weapons. After the ban on certain weapons in 1994, research has shown that ¨There was a very appreciable drop in both the number of incidents and an even bigger drop in the number of deaths.¨ Says John Donohue of Stanford University. The ban expired 10 years later, and no action was taken to renew it, so more assault weapons were obtained, and shootings ballooned faster than before.

The Constitutional right to bear arms is exclusive to 3 countries: Mexico, Guatemala, and the United States making the Second Amendment the only written Constitutional right among the developed nations. Many people say the Founding Fathers did not intend for some laws and legislation to be enacted. They also hadn`t anticipated Civil Rights of Voting Rights movements. The question I ask myself every time I check the news only to see ¨6 Dead, multiple injuries,¨ or ¨Active Shooter in Knoxville High School,¨ or ¨Suspect in Long Island Grocery Shooting detained after hours-long Manhunt,¨ is one I feel stronger about each time our communities are slaughtered.

Have we lost the privilege to own Guns?