Gun control is a term that is used and seen constantly, it is on the news, in magazines, and although a once hush term it seems to come up in many conversations between a variety of people and often. For several years we have watched school shootings become more frequent and also accidental deaths and suicides, this is happening by children that have acquired the use of a gun at home. Guns are being brought into friends’ homes, neighborhoods, department stores, schools etc.
The use of guns do not start only at physical violence, it also can began with bullying and threats. One can threaten another that they are going to hurt someone and because of that fear then the victim of bullying will find a way to protect themselves. Sometimes the need for wanting protection turns into wanting to retaliate. Some people believe that no matter how well guns at home are locked up and controlled that a child that wants it bad enough will find a way to get to them.
Gun control is not just about people wanting to take away the rights of responsible adults, it encompasses so much more than that. A large part of anti-gun activists are focused on the current situations involving guns and children combined. Anytime a gun falls in to the hand of a child there is a large possibility of severe consequences. Depending upon the age of the child their brains have only reached a certain rate of growth and some do not have the ability to produce common sense and actual understanding of what can happen if a human being is shot with a gun. As adults we can think things through, we understand cause and effect and that there are always consequences to a situation. A child does not rationalize that kind of thinking, they are more in the moment of what is happening and wrapped up in their emotions.
There are many gun violence statistics that have been researched, Based on a survey in 2010 it is estimated that 47-53 million households in the United States are private gun owners. And in 2007, there were 613 fatal firearm accidents in the United States. The specific ages of those fatalities are as follows. (Agresti, 2013)
|Age Group||Fatal Firearm Accidents|
|Raw number||Portion of fatal accidentsfrom all causes|
Aside from the fatalities occurred by one person shooting another there is also the risk of suicide. The “Firearm Deaths And Death Rates, 1999-2010″ (n.d.) website states the following, “In 2010 there were 668 deaths of Teenagers aged 15-19 by suicide using a gun.” This is an alarming amount of suicides that are caused by guns and many times the reason for the suicide is simply returning violence and oppression by violence.
Two topics that are always included in the Gun control debate:
The opposite side says that the gun can protect the family from a criminal.
The opposite side says that a person who wants to kill or commit suicide will simply find a way.
What needs to be included in these topics are what happens to families after they experience a death because of a gun, how it happened and how many thought it would or wouldn’t happen. Too many people have no idea what the statistics actually are for the violence created from guns and the damage that they can do. Some people simply do not think of it because they think that it could never have an effect on them. There has to be a general concern for what the underlying problem is, the root of the reason why guns are being used in violent ways and by and against other children. Gun control needs to be addressed between everyone including teachers and parents of children. It needs to be debated and discussed in a way that is beneficial to all and coming to a conclusion on how to reduce the rate of violence by guns.
Every state has their own specific firearm laws which make a huge difference in the ability to choose to distance yourself from weapons. In the state of Oregon for instance, According to “Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence” (2012), “For the benefit of all and gun violence prevention, Oregon:
What Oregon does not do are as follows:
In the year of 2010, Research shows that the state of Oregon had the 22nd highest amount deaths by a gun per capita among the all of the states. In 2009 Oregon also had the 25th highest crime rate combined with gun exports between all of the states. This shows that guns that were sold in Oregon were found and recovered after they were used in different crimes in states other than Oregon.
Alongside the laws that are created for every state there needs to be support behind those laws and they need to be readdressed often as times create change frequently. If the statistics show that crime and or suicide has become worse over a period of time then the laws in place need to be adjusted to make a change.
Every day there are new polls being created, new high records being set of gun statistics like this one from the Brady Campaign:
According to “Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence” (n.d),
· More than one in five U.S. teenagers (ages 14 to 17) report having witnessed a shooting.
· An average of eight children and teens under the age of 20 are killed by guns every day.
· American children die by guns 11 times as often as children in other high-income countries.
· Youth (ages 0 to 19) in the most rural U.S. counties are as likely to die from a gunshot as those living in the most urban counties. Rural children die of more gun suicides and unintentional shooting deaths. Urban children die more often of gun homicides.
· Firearm homicide is the second-leading cause of death (after motor vehicle crashes) for young people ages 1-19 in the U.S.
· In 2007, more pre-school-aged children (85) were killed by guns than police officers were killed in the line of duty. (Gun violence takes a massive toll on AMERICAN CHILDREN.)
These are the types of statistics should have everyone for or against gun control thinking about the children in this world and what the importance of gun control means in their lives. Considering the children now are the future and it is our job to create a viable future. According to “Stomp Out Bullying” (2007-2014), “It is proven that Bullying is harmful and some people feel that when a child is bullied that it is a part of life and they have to learn to stick up for themselves to overcome the situation. Bullying can be far worse than just kids teasing each other harmlessly, it can make some kids feel frightened, lonely and very unhappy. It makes them feel like they are not safe anywhere they go and that they are being bullied because something is specifically wrong with them. They start to lose all confidence in themselves because the bad outweighs the positive and they start to withdraw, not wanting to go to school anymore or take part in activities with other children for fear of being bullied. Statistics have shown that children who are bullied and abused by others have a much higher chance of using guns. The website goes on to show several crimes that have been committed by kids with guns:
SANTEE, CA., March 2001 – A teenage boy, 15 years old took a gun from his fathers weapons along with may rounds of ammunition. He took them to school in his backpack and he fired 30 of them during a shooting in his school. 2 kids were killed and 13 others were hurt in the incident.
ST PAUL, MN., February 2001 – Two little girls, just 5 years old were suspended from their school after one of them brought a loaded gun to school in a handbag. Police stated that the gun was the girl’s grandfather and it had been kept in a purse at the home. Prosecuters considered filing charges against the grandfather because the child shouldn’t have been able to get to the gun.
WEST PHILADELPHIA, PA, March, 2001 – A 8 year old student was arrested by police after he brought a gun to school with him and threatened a little girl. Police found an unloaded, 9mm semi-automatic pistol and a loaded clip for the weapon in the boy’s book bag. The gun was reported stolen a few years prior apparently and the uncle of the boy was later charged with reckless endangerment.
LITTLETON, CO, April, 1999 – Two boys, that were 17 and also 18 years old walked into their school and began shooting throughout the cafeteria. They continued their rampage throughout the entire school. After an hour and a half, 15 were dead, which included the two boys who resorted to committing suicide after shooting all the others. Police later confirmed that the boys had more weapons and ammo in their homes.
These are only a few of the stories about gun violence. Sadly, there are so many more! And many of them began with bullying! (Bullying is harmful).
There is an unbelievable amount of references to how guns have hurt children and others because of children having the access to them. People have got to take a stand and become more educated on the pros and cons of having a gun and what the consequences can be from it as well. If someone must have a gun in their possession and there are children in the home there are ways to store your gun outside of the home and where that child has no access to it. Again, even the parents that think it can never happen to them or their family, the ones who think it could never be their kids, it can be. And if not their kids it can be a friend of their kids. We have to stop being naive, get educated, stand firm and fight to save the children of today and tomorrow!