The American Problem

Guns, Culture, School Shootings, & How America Needs to Examine Itself

Assault-style weapons are both highly criticized yet in high demand across America.

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Assault-style weapons are both highly criticized yet in high demand across America.

To say America’s Constitution is a bit vague in certain spots is accurate, nothing highlights this better than the Second Amendment.  “The right to bear arms” certainly needs more clarification; what does “to bear arms” mean in effect. It is left to modern America to figure out what is proper gun control. In order to change for the better, American gun control needs to break barriers in order to be effective yet without impinging on rights; America needs to destroy the cultural rifts of the nation, and America needs to understand itself.

An extremely important factor in American gun laws is the divide between the North and the South. The South tends to regulate firearms less and also seems to take firearms with a more reckless attitude. The North seems to be anti-gun compared to the South and those that do own them tend to be more restrained in regards to usage. Not to say this is always the case however. America’s lack of centralized means states vary wildly between each other in gun laws. For example, just across the border in New Hampshire I could easily buy a firearm I couldn’t in Massachusetts and there’s nothing to stop me from bringing it into MA. Obviously this is an average, thus most people don’t really fit into it, but it’s still worth mentioning the divide between the two. This can (and does) create a major political rift, while also heavily destabilizing federal gun control due to state variation.

Mass shootings are very rare and account for little of America’s gun crime fatalities. Mass shootings are increasing at an ever worrying rate though according to this PBS article. The two most important reasons mass shootings are occurring more is: sensationalization of these events in the news (regardless of political agenda the news outlet might have) and the rise of extreme right-wing ideals. America has always struggled with people and media being radicalized, however, there are ways to combat this. One idea that seems to be catching on is keeping the names of the shooter and/or victims anonymous so as to report without generating attention to the motive/shooter. As for the increase in extreme right wing ideals and the correlation between gun owners, this dangerous correlation can be fixed with education. Those who are less educated tend to be more bigoted and extreme. While education is a grand investment, it may be hard to convince people to give up money for schools. 

One type of firearm is not always more lethal than the other in fact, according to this Reuters report handguns cause more deaths than rifles in mass shootings. Only the rate of injury seems to be influenced by a gun’s design in the context of mass shootings. While yes, it is shown that banning certain types of firearms does reduce the occurrence and lethality of shootings, that is almost certainly impossible to accomplish in America. The political consequences of restricting weapons anymore in America is simply too great and will likely see a short-term increase in gun violence as people who are scared act more violently.

One of the most prevailing arguments is that people do not need weapons that fall into the class of semi-automatic assault rifles. While this is true in that most people do not need one, it would be contradictory and largely nullify the reason for the 2nd Amendment. 

The Second Amendment exists for forgein invaders equally if not more so than domestic threats. Think back to the American revolution, minutemen. These people that owned firearms to near equal of the invading British reinforcements were critical to the success of the revolution. So yes in today’s modern society most people do not need such a rifle but to restrict the option is to go against why the amendment exists.