Violence in America: Guns under Violence


When people think about the United States, the ideals of freedom, pride and the right to bear arms often come into mind. Americans hold strong to their constitutional rights, and seldom appreciate the government infringing on their constitutional rights.

Everyone has the right to their own opinion, so it is important to remember that no matter what side of the topic feels correct, respect for the other side is necessary in order to move forward both as a society and as a country.

During the 2007 Virginia Tech mass shooting, English teacher David Friedman was a student affected by the tragedy. For him, gun control is not just another controversial topic that has been sensationalized.

“If you talk to enough people, you’re going to find someone through some tangent that has been connected to gun violence,” Friedman said. “It is sort of like 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon and you’re going find someone through some tangent that has been connected to gun violence, and know i am just another person who now has a connection to gun violence.”

Many people oppose gun control, viewing gun rights as a large part of the American identity. History teacher John Downes has been exposed to guns for his entire life, and was raised to respect the use of guns and to understand how much power a firearm holds.

“I am a military brat. I come from the family of a retired colonel, so guns, as a culture, were never a problem,” Downes said. “My dad taught me how to fire a gun, and he taught me the safety of a gun. In fact, I learned about gun control to the point of personal self-control around guns, that even with a toy gun, I was never to point [it] at someone else. There’s a different realm of gun safety right there.”

At the same time, according to the Council on Foreign Relations, legal gun purchases that have been registered through the National Rifle Association have also been on the rise since the 1990s. Furthermore, the gun and ammunition industry has increased by 8.9% since 2010. The presence of guns throughout history have helped develop the American culture and have provided a sense of safety. However, even though there are increased sales of guns, this subject does not directly correlate with gun violence.

The subject of gun violence has also sparked controversy over the opening of NOVA Gun Shop just a mere 60 ft from Franklin Sherman Elementary School in Mclean, VA. According to Fox 5 News, many parents are upset with the unnecessary risk that comes with opening a gun shop so close to an elementary school. However, the owners of the store argue that their presence complies with Virginia State laws, which does not state any restrictions to where gun shops can be established.

In an effort to lessen the impact of an active shooter, many school districts in the United States practice lockdown drills multiple times each year, which prepare for the potential event of an active shooter being present on school grounds. This shows how gun violence has changed the way Americans think, even in an educational setting where students have the right to feel safe. Similar to “duck and cover” drills that were practiced during the 1950s as a method of protection against the effects of a nuclear explosion, it seems as if lockdown drills are becoming a part of the American culture.

“I understand both sides of it,” Friedman said. “[But] there’s got to be a happy medium.”

In comparison, gun violence is less common in other developed countries. Although the United States holds under 5 percent of the world’s population, it is home to 35 to 50 percent of the world’s civilian-owned guns according to the Council on Foreign Relations. Though the sale of guns don’t necessarily equate to higher levels of violence gun violence, it is important to take steps to ensure safety within our communities.

Gun control is necessary in America. Guns do not have to be completely eliminated, but regulations should be enforced. The accessibility of guns is threatening towards communities throughout the country. The recreational use of guns is one thing, but there is no valid reason for an individual to own 20 handguns and a semiautomatic. Even during the event of a possible home invasion, a single handgun is all it takes to ward of the intruder. It is important for us to take the correct steps, such as limited the amount of guns in America, so that a community where people do not feel endangered, such as sending their kids to school or going to work, can be formed.