Gun Violence by Maggie

January 14, 2020


Gun Violence

Gun violence and mass shootings have become a permanent part of American culture. In 1966, the most terrible mass murder in that time period occurred at the University of Texas at Austin. The “Texas Tower Sniper” murdered 16 people and wounded 31 over 96 minutes. He was using a bolt action rifle and semiautomatic weapons. These advanced weapons allowed him to achieve a casualty rate of one every two minutes. However, the deadliest current mass shooting in the United States took place in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2017. “Firing from a hotel into a country music festival, a shooter killed 58 people and wounded 546 over 10 minutes. By using assault rifles converted into automatic weapons, he achieved a casualty rate of one per second” (Gun Violence: a Brief Cultural History). 

People of all races, colors, and backgrounds are affected by gun violence, but the most affected population are children and teens. Gun violence shows itself in many different ways in American schools, therefore school shootings have created worries for the younger generation. “Children exposed to violence, crime, and abuse are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol; suffer from depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder; resort to aggressive and violent behavior, and engage in criminal activity. Exposure to community violence, including witnessing shootings and hearing gunshots, makes it harder for children to succeed in school” (The Impact of Gun Violence on Children and Teens).

Many solutions to solve gun violence have been thought of, including having abusers hand over their guns, background checks, not allowing people who have been accused of domestic violence to have guns, and law enforcement strategies. “Longtime gun violence researcher Garen Wintemute argues that background checks if implemented properly, could help stem shootings” (The Solutions to Gun Violence That Exist Despite Tragedies). I strongly agree with the last solution, background checks, because if people are checked on their background and a history of mental illness or violence shows, then they obviously should not be allowed to own a gun. 

The solution that I am proposing is to reduce the access to firearms for youth and individuals who are at risk of harming themselves or others, namely, those that are mentally ill or those that have a history of violence should not be allowed anywhere near a firearm. “Linking guns and mental illness arise in the aftermath of many US mass shootings in no small part because of the psychiatric histories of the assailants. Reports suggest that up to 60% of perpetrators of mass shootings in the United States since 1970 displayed symptoms including acute paranoia, delusions, and depression before committing their crimes” (The American Journal of Public Health (AJPH) from the American Public Health Association (APHA) publications). It is indisputable that individuals who have a history of violence and mental illness should not have access to weapons that can be used to harm themselves or others.