Gun control saves lives

Molly Ziesenheim, A&E editor

As of 2020, guns have officially become the leading cause of death in children in America. According to the Gun Violence Archive, 1,664 children ages 0-17 were killed in 2022 and 4,472 were injured.

Schools all over the country instill fear in children with the active shooter drills they are required to conduct. Drills were not as prevalent until the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting ten years ago that claimed the lives of 20 children between six and seven years old, as well as six adult staff members. Growing up with these drills, today’s children don’t know anything different. If we really love the children of America like so many say they do, we should be sparing them of that perpetual terror.

A common argument amongst those who are pro-gun is that arming teachers and installing metal detectors would solve the problem. Wrong. As explained by Scientific American, more guns do not prevent more crimes. We should not be training our teachers like law enforcement or spending our school dollars on things that don’t enrich learning. Just like COVID-19, guns are a global health crisis, and to address this, we need to make it harder to buy one.

In America, on average, it only takes a couple of hours to buy a gun. When buying from a private seller, it is illegal under federal law to require a background check. Guns are simply too accessible and can easily end up in the wrong hands.

The US is not necessarily a more violent society than other countries. The difference between us and others is how easy guns are to buy. For example, according to Business Insider, in Switzerland, a country with a lot of guns, the majority of people with weapon access are military-trained individuals or have gone through an extensive background check that takes several weeks. As a result, Switzerland has a significantly lower child death rate in regard to gun violence.

Another aspect of gun control needing to be addressed is an assault weapons ban. One of the most common guns used in mass shootings is the AR-15, an assault rifle designed with the purpose to kill quickly. This is not the kind of weapon needed for self-defense or sport. In 1994, Congress passed the federal assault weapons ban which reduced fatalities from mass shootings by 70 percent as recorded by the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery. While the ban only lasted ten years, this example is one of many that proves proper gun control, including assault weapon bans, saves lives.

Noted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Hawaii has some of the strictest gun laws in the country and has one of the lowest child death rates related to gun violence every year in America. 

If as a nation, we implement an assault rifle ban and enforce stronger gun control, we can honor all those killed by saving the lives of our children and protecting future generations.