The gun control debate has become more heated as a result of recent events. Both sides of the political spectrum have strong opinions about the downhill spiral that the US has seemed to find itself in. More and more mass shootings are happening and a solution is being sought. Should there be stricter gun control laws?
On April 20th, 1999, United States citizens learned the details of a tragic mass shooting spree at Columbine High School in Denver, Colorado. Two students decided to go on a killing rampage costing the lives of 12 fellow students and a teacher, while also injuring 24 others. Columbine was not the first mass shooting in the United States but it caught people’s attention because it was the first of its kind, affecting students while at school This catastrophic event was a precursor to what would come years later.
Since the 1999 Columbine shooting, there have been more than 15 mass shootings in the United States. Below are some of the most tragic shootings ever to be covered by the media:
April 16, 2007- Gunman goes on a shooting spree killing 32 people at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia.
April 3, 2009- Gunman kills 13 people at an immigrant community center in Binghamton, New York.
November 5, 2009- Gunman kills 13 people and injures 32 at Fort Hood, Texas.
October 12, 2011- Gunman killed 8 people in salon shooting in Seal Beach, California.
July 20, 2012- Gunman kills 12 people and wounds 58 in a movie theater screening of the new Batman film in Aurora, Colorado.
December 14, 2012- Gunman kills 20 children between the ages of six and seven, and kills six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut.
September 16, 2013- Gunman kills 12 in Washington Navy Yard.
November 1, 2013- Gunman opens fire in an LAX Airport terminal. Killing one employee and wounding two others..
The LAX shooting is the most recent shooting in the United States. “The ‘lone gunman’ entered the screening area in Terminal 3 and pulled a rifle out of his bag, opening fire before he was taken into custody after an officer-involved shooting,” said LAX Chief of Police Patrick Gannon to NBCNews.
With America’s history of mass shootings in the past two decades alone, it comes as no surprise that studies done by Duke University sociologist Karen Healy, have found that the U.S. is an unusually violent country, in comparison with other OECD (Organization for Eco-nomic Co-operation and Development) countries. But the U.S.’s violence is on a decline from previous years.
According to political scientist Patrick Egan, gun ownership in the Unites States in near an all time low. So why all the mass shootings?
Mother Jones (a nonprofit news organization that specializes in investigative, political and social justice reporting) has tracked and mapped mass shooting from 1982-2012, finding that the shooters had obtained their weapons illegally. This explains why mass shootings are on the rise despite a low rate of gun ownership. These guns are not being documented.
Economist Richard Florida suggest that states with stricter gun control laws have fewer deaths from gun-related violence. Despite this perspective, the Midwestern and Southern states have very relaxed gun control laws compared to those of the East coast.
Gun control will continue to be a heated issue because of our constitutional right to bare arms and the governments need to protect the people.