Gun Control And The Mass Shooting Epidemic In America

Let’s imagine, for a moment, that nationwide gun restriction laws were put in place. Weapons of home defense would be banned. Nobody would be able to defend themselves against armed intruders. This will likely result in the completion of many thefts, but will also come with an increase in homicide rates. It is clear that the United States is suffering from a mass shooting epidemic. Because of this, typically the people in favor of providing a solution for the problem have turned toward gun control. These advocates represent this idea that if we restrict the guns seen in mass shootings, we may see a change. Although this may be true, most of these people have their statistics wrong. Many people believe gun control will solve our mass shooting epidemic but this is not the case. Obviously, everyone would like to see our school shooting and mass shooting epidemic put to an end. It seems that the only logical answer is to restrict the weapons being used in most school shootings. Gun-control advocates automatically turn toward banning weapons such as the AR-15 because “AR-15 rifles were used to commit every major mass shooting in the United States since a 2012 attack in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater” (Garcia). However, most advocates of gun-control have their statistics wrong.

Firstly, most mass shootings don’t even involve rifles like the AR-15. It is apparent that gun-control advocates argue against assault weapons such as the AR-15, and they claim that they are the most popular weapons used among mass shooters. Therefore, gun-control seeks to only limit the purchase of certain guns, mainly assault weapons. In hindsight, handguns actually outnumbered assault weapons when it came to mass shootings. The statistics show that the use of handguns vs. assault rifles was 141-55 in every mass shooting in the United States from 1982 to 2019 (Statista). If most mass shootings aren’t even occurring with the use of assault weapons, why are we only looking to restrict them? It seems like gun-control advocates don’t want to face the problem directly. They seek a step-by-step approach to the problem that, in my opinion, will only make things worse. If we choose to limit the problem rather than abolish it entirely, we will only be creating more problems within each step of the process. This is why gun control is a bad alternative for solving our mass shooting epidemic. It will only lead to the creation of more problems such as gun trafficking.

To illustrate, gun-control will only increase the amount of criminal activity occurring in the United States. We will inevitably see a rise in gun trafficking. Surely, we used to have a drug problem in America, so we made most drugs illegal. What did that do? Increase the amount of drug trafficking, cartels, and illegal drug smuggling organizations. Why would this outcome not be the same for gun control? It has become apparent that someone seeking to cause as much damage to human life as possible, will stop at nothing to achieve there goal. Among this, more firearms will be purchased illegally. With the inevitable rise in gun trafficking, more consumers will be purchasing from these illegal gun trafficking organizations. If a mass shooter has a goal to do as much damage as possible and release all of their hate, is it really likely that a simple gun restriction will stop them? For example, the two kids who committed the mass shooting at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999, obtained some of their firearms illegally–the rest were stolen (Chronis). They went through months of preparation to plan and proceed with this attack on their classmates. The illegality of the situation did not stop them from obtaining their weapons. Among that, it did not stop them from proceeding with the attack. A person focused on causing as much damage as possible is not going to abide by the law. Therefore, it is only logical to assume that restricting assault weapons will not stop mass shooters from obtaining them. Furthermore, that concept is irrelevant, as previously mentioned, most mass shootings occur with handguns, which aren’t being looked at when it comes to gun-control. On top of the effects, it is likely that extreme second amendment supporters may invoke their second amendment rights and defend themselves against the tyrannical government. Taking away someone’s constitutional right will surely cause someone to question whether or not their government is seeking to limit their rights entirely. To a gun supporting constitutionalist, this will likely result in violence justified by self-defense. Overall, the misuse of firearms is heavily outweighed by the positive aspects they bring to many Americans.

To elaborate, firearms save more lives each year in self-defense than the number of lives taken by the use of a firearm. According to Capitalism Magazine, “roughly 11,000 lives have been lost through non-suicide deaths involving a firearm each year… Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million per year, in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008.” (Elder, Larry) According to the statistics, as many as 3 million people are saved due to the use of a firearm each year. On top of that, only 11,000 people are killed each year due to a firearm. This number is including all mass shootings, homicides, and accidental discharge. The number of lives saved due to a firearm is already significantly higher than the amount taken, yet gun-control advocates seek change in hopes of limiting the deaths caused by firearms? Also, taking away people’s rights to gun ownership will not help prevent future shootings. Shootings like the Southerland Springs shooting would not have been stopped and would have ultimately resulted in many more deaths if gun-control laws were put in place. This shooting occurred on November 5, 2017. Twenty-six people were killed within this massacre. Thankfully, an AR-15 owner, Stephen Willeford, was nearby and was able to respond faster than the local authorities. He heroicly discharged his firearm and killed the shooter. If he had not had his AR-15, and instead had a handgun, it is likely that he would not have been able to stop the attacker because he would have had to get into a close-quarter, out-gunned, fight with the shooter. Among the shootings like this that would not be stopped, people will not be able to defend their homes in the case of a home invasion. According to Skilled Survival, the AK-47 is a prime weapon for home defense. It allows for easy close-quarter and distant combat. On top of that, it is relatively inexpensive with a low upkeep price. If gun-control restrictions were to be put into place, assault weapons such as this would not be an option for eager home defenders. Some advocates might argue that American’s don’t need an assault weapon to defend their home, a handgun will do just fine. However, it does not make sense for gun-control advocates to favor handguns. As mentioned numerously throughout my argument, handguns are the primary firearm used in most mass shootings. Why would someone seeking to limit mass shootings favor the very gun that is being used in the majority? This is because many of the gun-control advocates are not educated on the real statistics. They are primarily fed propaganda that is used to persuade uneducated people.

After everything considered, what is the best solution to this problem? We need to stir away from gun-control and seek better alternatives. As clearly mentioned, gun-control is not an effective preventative when it comes to limiting the number of mass shootings occurring within America. Instead, perhaps we should look at the signs leading up to a mass shooting and develop a system based on them. According to Steve Helling, “several organizations and foundations have developed warning signs to identify possible mass shooters” (Helling). In order to limit the number of mass shootings, why not test the people who are subject to these warning signs? Simply require them to undergo a psychological evaluation to determine whether or not they are suitable to roam the public. If the test concludes that they are deemed unsafe for the public, send them to a facility where they will be housed and provided for. Sure, some people might find this idea to be extreme, but wouldn’t it be more beneficial to require a simple test that only affects those showing the signs of a mass shooter, rather than tampering with the second amendment which affects every citizen in the United States? If we were to simply perform a psychological evaluation on every person showing the signs, proclaimed by gun-control advocates, we would certainly see a decrease in the number of mass shooters roaming the streets. Of course, there is a chance for innocent people to be placed into custody, but there is that chance with almost every law put into place as well. It is much more beneficial to have a system that works actively in preventing something from happening, rather than taking a step-by-step approach toward prevention like the gun-control laws seek to do.

In response to gun-control supporters, it is amazing to see someone putting their foot down and attempting to solve a very real, serious, and devastating problem. However, gun-control is a solution that is simply not going to work. There are a lot better and more effective solutions that will result in a much better outcome for everyone. Seeking to place a ban on the weapons that many people find fundamental to their well-being is not a wise decision by gun-control advocates. On top of that, most of the arguments proclaimed by gun-control supporters are faulty. The number one argument gun-control advocates are stating is “gun control saves lives” (Rooney). It is alarming to know that once the actual statistics are looked at, the number one argument that gun-control advocates proclaim is actually false. Gun-control will not save more lives and that is proven. Limiting the availability of firearms will undoubtedly affect nearly 3 million people each year that are saved from armed robbery, home invasion, etc. due to firearm use. To put that number into perspective, only about 11,000 people are killed each year due to firearms. That number includes all mass shootings, school shootings, and homicides. Furthermore, the second most common argument made by gun-control supporters is “you do not have the right to own any gun you want” (Rooney). This argument is also false. According to the constitution of the United States of America, we have the right to own whatever firearm necessary in hopes of being able to defend ourselves against a tyrannical government. The second amendment is already limited as it is. If a citizen wants to purchase a firearm legally, they have to undergo extensive background checks, wait a certain amount of days (typically thirty) to even receive that firearm, and among that, you cannot buy any gun you want. Fully automatic weapons are practically unobtainable by ordinary citizens. Finally, the third most common argument proposed by gun-control supporters is “fewer guns means fewer gun crimes period” (Rooney). Yet again, this argument can be proven to be faulty as well. Theoretically, it seems as though fewer firearms circulating within America will contribute toward fewer firearm deaths. Although this may be true, this is not the argument imposed by gun-control advocates. They believe that fewer guns will result in less gun-related crime. Wouldn’t that only increase the number of gun trafficking incidents in America? What happened when we made drugs illegal? We have seen a drug smuggling epidemic, the formation of cartels, drug rivalries, etc. Implementing laws that restrict guns entirely will most certainly increase gun trafficking rates which will result in an increase in gun crime. It seems as though every argument made by gun-control advocates can be disproven. Does America have a mass shooting problem? Yes. Does America need a change that will result in fewer mass shootings? Yes. Is gun control the answer? Absolutely not. These problems we are facing in America are real and desperately need solutions. However, the main solution, gun-control, is not an effective means. There is a lot more that can be done to stop the shooting epidemic occurring within America. We need to consider the outcomes and come up with a solution that will work for the majority. Gun-control is a very heated topic that is in no way favoring the majority. With any problem, there is no way to satisfy everyone, but we can at least try our best to satisfy most people and come together to stop this horrific epidemic.

Overall, the mass shooting epidemic in the United States is a real and serious problem. Obviously, something needs to be done to limit it as much as possible. However, restricting gun rights will do nothing but cause more issues when it comes to gun ownership and firearm distribution. There will likely be a revolt in America. We will see the millions of dedicated gun owners become furious with the government and they will likely go to extreme and desperate measures to prevent the government from altering their fundamental rights. On top of that, more lives will be lost due to the limitation of self-defense. Establishing gun-control will severely limit American’s right to self-defense. With the very limited forms of defense that will become available after gun-control laws are put into place, many people will have no form of defense. If a robbery or home invasion were to occur, these people would most likely be victimized without a chance to fight back. That alone is an alternative that makes gun-control look like a terrible solution. More lives will be lost at the hands of gun-control than the lives that will be saved according to the gun-control advocate’s goals. Finally, many mass shootings that are inevitably going to occur will not be stopped by heroes on the street. People like Stephen Willeford will never be heard of. The mass shootings that will inevitably occur, most likely through the use of gun trafficking, will be extremely severe and the only people that will be able to stop these shootings are the authorities who are sometimes restricted by certain laws and procedures.

Works Cited

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  • Chronis, G. Peter. “Gunman’s Prom Date Airs Story.” The Denver Post. 1999 The Denver Post. Web. Dec. 10, 2019.
  • Elder, Larry. “How Many Lives Are Saved By Guns–And Why Don’t Gun Controllers Care?” Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine 2019. Web. Apr. 6, 2019.
  • Garcia, Arturo. “Were AR-15’s Used In Every Mass Shooting In The United States After Aurora?” Snopes. Snopes 2019. Web. May 18, 2018.
  • Helling, Steve. “How To Spot Warning Signs of Potential Mass Shooters, After Spate of Arrest For Threats.” Merideth Corporation. Web. Dec. 9, 2019.
  • “The Hero Of Southerland Springs Shooting Is Still Reckoning With What Happened That Day.” Texas Monthly. Texas Monthly 2019. Web. November 2018.
  • Swearer, Amy. “Broad Gun-Control Restrictions Are Not The Answer.” The Heritage Foundation. 2019 Heritage Foundation. Web. Nov. 16, 2018.
  • “10 Best Survival Rifles To Protect And Defend Your Family.” Skilled Survival. 2019 Magazine Pro Theme. Web. Dec. 10, 2019.