Reforming the indulgence for firearms in the U.S.

Tinkering around the edges on guns is not the answer

Advocates for gun control march in protest in Washington, DC in the winter 2013. (Wikimedia/Slowking4)

Advocates for gun control march in protest in Washington, DC in the winter 2013. (Wikimedia/Slowking4)

The “U.S. Travel Advisories” list warns persons about those countries that pose a risk to travelers. Ironically, the U.S. has more mass shootings than any other county in the world. At what point will America regard itself as dangerous enough to be rated on its own list?

The country has had shootings in 41 states, instilling greater fear and terror since these incidents can occur anywhere.  Random sites that were once considered safe such as theaters, concerts and schools are now seemingly at risk. Hashtags of radical change such as  #guncontrolnow have replaced the previous sentimental tags such as #prayersandlove.

Demonstrations were held in Washington D.C. where students laid down for three minutes, in order to exemplify how quickly Nikolas Cruz killed 17 students on Feb. 14. Although these displays are effective for those who agree, it is questionable when new gun control laws will be enacted.

It is defeating when no reform transpired after the horrific events at Sandy Hook Elementary School when Adam Lanza shot and killed 20 children ages 6 and 7  in 2012. Additionally, the hoax theories surrounding Sandy Hook further contributed to the suffering of the victims’ families. The Second Amendment to the Constitution protects gun holders whose positions on gun control fueled by special interest groups appears to be concrete. However, without appropriate legislation, the position of the public and Congress may change as more shootings affect them.

“I’ve been around assault rifles a long time. I’ve seen first-hand what these weapons are capable of,” said U.S. Army Sgt. Marcus Estrada, a 12-year veteran of the Second Infantry Division with two combat tours during Operation Iraqi Freedom. “The fact is simple: assault rifles were designed for the military, for the purpose of killing. Now regretfully, our citizens are being cultured to its infamous design. How these weapons continue to be allowed to the general public worries me.”

Estrada’s observations are illustrative of why such weaponry should not be in the hands of civilians. Clearly, the ramifications of guns upon families, children and communities do not warrant their accessibility to the general public.

“More so, I do not understand the personal need for any individual to justify an assault rifle in the name of home defense or to ‘defend’ the Second Amendment,” Estrada said “As a father of two, it is horrifying to think my children may one day be put in harm’s way by the very style weapons I used to fight the insurgency.”

Congress defines mass shootings as those in which the assailant selects victims randomly, kills four or more persons and attacks in a public place, according to a comprehensive report by CNN Digital reporting staff AJ Willington and Saeed Ahmed. However, shootings that occur among family or gang members, attacks that result in injury rather than death and incidents  with less than four fatalities are not included in those calculations.

Examining statistics of all gun violence results in far greater quantities than those recorded from mass shootings alone. The actual figures are even more jarring when all fatalities are included as opposed to solely counting massacres.

President Trump has proposed extensive background checks and a ban on bump stocks as immediate solutions. These solutions are weak attempts since 292 guns that were involved in mass shootings, 167 had been bought legally, according to the Washington Post “Mass shooting statistics in the United States.” Buying guns legally with proper background checks  can get in the wrong hands, regardless.

Presently, there are enough firearms for each adult in the country and then some as indicated by Willington’s report. The President also suggested that selected teachers be armed in order to protect the students. Is there really a need for more guns on school campuses?

Consider adapting Australia gun control laws in 1996 after the massacre in Port Arthur wherein a shooter killed 35 people and injured 18. Specific semi-automatic weapons were banned and the law implemented a mandatory buyback of firearms. The result was that 700,000 weapons were surrendered, with homicides declining dramatically by 20 percent from 1996 to 2017, according to

Enacting mandatory buyback programs and instituting felony charges for the possession of firearms as an ample deterrent for gun control may be the next step forward to protect Americans from senseless violence.