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Today, the most pressing issue in America is gun violence. This is because more recently, this issue has transformed from being a political affair to a very institutionalized public outcry: a need to protect America’s own children. In 2019 alone, there have been at least 255 mass shootings, averaging to no less than one mass shooting a day (Kent 1). Today, approximately 393 million Americans are gun owners, and among these gun owners, there are at least 368,000 machine guns in circulation (Ingraham 1). The number of deaths from mass shooting related incidents has rapidly increased from about 200 people wounded or killed in 2015 to a spiteful 650 in 2018 (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Explosives). From Sandy Hook to Dayton to El Paso to Las Vegas, gun control legislation and the national arms debate is no longer a political conversation–it is a major public safety concern. Stricter gun enforcement and a reduction of gun violence is in America’s best interests–safeguarding national public safety.
The idea of individual gun ownership as well as gun control legislation stems from the beliefs that govern America’s roots. Since the American constitution was ratified in 1787, and the Bill of Rights almost half a decade later, America’s freedom bells have been rung by a unanimous impulse for American independence and rights. From September 1947 until January 1949, the Freedom Train crossed the United States (US National Archives 1). With the national red, white, and blue color scheme, the Freedom Train marked a mobile representation of America’s most notable documents and events: the Gettysburg Address, the Emancipation Proclamation, the Allies’ victory in World War II, and an acquisition of global dominance in automobile transportation and telephone communication (Widmer 2). It was also at this time that the idea of inalienable human rights and righteous individual freedoms was slowly surfacing.
Throughout history and today, Americans have insisted on the need for freedom, independence and equality. America’s maxim, Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, defines this inexplicable American yearning to have unabridged jurisdiction over one’s rights, property, and psychological well being. This idea, this American fantasy, and reality, provides a rationale for yet again another modification to the constitutional Bill of Rights in 1791: America’s second amendment, the “right to bear arms.” However, the constitution and interpretation of the second amendment, continues to be a controversial and ongoing debate in the United States, succeeding a recent upsurge of mass shootings around the country. Major gun lobbyists, including the National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR), support individual gun ownership, contending the Second Amendment is indeed an unconditional, absolute right. Elseways, gun control advocates have more stricter interpretations of America’s constitutional right to bear arms, it being an obstruction of public and individual safety and well being.
Recent events in the news and mass shooting incidents have informed me on this issue. I have been keeping up to date with sources like CNN, the Wall Street Journal, and NPR. Additionally, I have been reading TIME magazine, which contains very relevant political and economic issues. I am also a fan of thrillers, which although portray gun violence in a very graphic sense, show the radical consequences of unregulated public gun use.
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