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Gun Violence in America

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It was a normal Wednesday for the parents of a class of sixteen primary one children they spent the morning as they did every day with their children who were between the ages of five to six. They took them to school, but little did they know that they would never have that opportunity again and that would be the last time that they would ever hold their son’s or daughter’s hand or make them cereal. The class of sixteen five to six-year old’s began to prepare for a P.E lesson and on the way, on the 13th of March 1996 in Dunblane Scotland, these children were attacked. They were murdered. The class of sixteen five to six-year old’s alongside their teacher’s lives were taken. Hearts and families were broken. At the hands of a man with a gun.

Gun violence is most prominent in The United States of America where the constitutional right to bear arms seems more important than the 2,824 children murdered and 13,723 injured by these murdering machines however this is a worldwide issue. The countless acts of violence involving guns daily is in the thousands and it is thought that in The United States of America alone around 100 people are killed by guns every single day; most being young black men.

Gun laws in Scotland, however, differ from those in the rest of the UK. In licensing terms, they are currently identical to the rest of Great Britain. A firearm certificate is required to purchase firearms and a separate shotgun certificate is needed for shotguns and although the process that you must take in order to own a gun is extensive somehow many people still own them illegally. The Scottish laws are the ‘Firearms Rule of 1889’ and the ‘Firearms Act of 1968’ which prohibits all ‘handguns, semi-automatic and pump- action non-rim-fire rifles. There are in fact only 566 licensed handgun owners in Scotland and 1.3 million legal shotguns in England and Wales. However, it is estimated that there are around 500,000 illegal guns. You may ask so what can we do about it if we already have laws in place? Well, if we stop guns being manufactured then we will no longer have to worry about them and the pain that they cause.

So, why do people own guns? The main excuses many people use are that they and used for protection and security purposes, recreation, social and cultural pressures, paranoia, anger, and insecurity.

Guns make people feel more protected and according to the Pew Research centre 48% of gun owners say that they own a gun for that very reason, however, if the manufacturing of guns was abolished then you wouldn’t need a gun in order to protect yourself from a gun and guns are very rarely used in cases of self-defense. According to a Harvard University analysis of figures from the National Crime Victimization Survey and found that the number of people who defended themselves with a gun was only nearly 0.9%, under 1% of victims protected themselves with a firearm. In 2010 there were only 230 ‘justifiable homicides’ which means that a private citizen has used a firearm to kill a felon. For every ‘justifiable homicide,’ there are 36 criminal homicides.

Another reason that people say that they own guns is for recreation. Recreational shooting activities include hunting, shooting competitions or using firearms as a hobby, like knitting the hobby or murdering animals is considered a hobby to some. There are 13 animals that we as humans have hunted into extinction in the past 200 years. So why do we do this? Power? I can’t be sure what or who gives us the right to take away lives of innocent animals. There has also been a very strong connection between serial killers and the killing and torturing of animals. It was found that 99% of serial killers at some point in their lives have admitted to acting out their violent fantasies on animals before attempting to do it to human beings. Domestic violence is more likely to turn deadly with a gun in the home. So why do we allow this violence?

Guns are also used due to social and cultural pressures, for a lot of gun owners, it’s something that they take great pride in. If you grow up in a culture were guns are looked at with respect, it will influence all your choices and attitudes towards guns. Young children are very easily influenced into doing and believing in things that their parents do or believe and in the United States alone 1.7 million children live with unlocked and loaded guns. Young children are also being influenced by television and video games when it comes to guns. They are everywhere.

Another reason that people own guns is due to paranoia, anger, and insecurity. Many gun owners feel ‘vulnerable or naked without their guns’, people feel safer in their home with a way of protecting themselves and although this may be true, and guns might calm people nerves and makes them feel safe in the case of an emergency. This is proven to be ineffective, I will again emphasize a previous point that under 1% of gun deaths occur as an act of self-defense.

What a lot of parents do not consider is that when allowing a gun into their home is that the suicide rates of children in the United States of America are 66% higher and it is the second leading cause of death. 80% of the suicides were committed by men and 89% of those involved a gun, these growing statistics could be detrimental. 71% of people have acted on suicidal thoughts within an hour of having them and people are less likely to act on suicidal impulses if there is no gun present in the house. Amongst suicide victims, attempts with a firearm are much deadlier than by jumping or drug poisoning and 90% of suicide attempts with a firearm will die.

In conclusion, the original purpose of a gun is to hurt people and things, the true purpose of a gun is to cause death and pain. I only fear that one day we might become a society numb to the ideas of death and pain, the normalization of guns in media is becoming a very large problem that needs a solution and a quick one. We must do something about these stainless-steel killing toys.   

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