America Needs Gun Reform Laws Based On Recent Shootings


Staff Illustration: Tatum Herrin.

Jake Lieberman

Throughout the earlier stages of the pandemic when people had to stay within their homes, avoid large gatherings and limit face-to-face interaction, shootings were less frequent. 2020 had the fewest mass killings in more than a decade, according to a database compiled by The Associated Press, USA Today and Northeastern University. However, as the world is slowly returning to normal, shootings around the country have increased. Every week, it feels like there is another enormous shooting that takes over the news. These incessant mass shootings take a toll on Americans’ mental health — not to mention their safety.

As new shootings happen so often, it’s overwhelming to constantly see headlines about each one. It is easy to feel powerless as more and more Americans become victims of mass shootings, but there are many things we can do. It is not acceptable that a gunman can open fire and shoot hundreds of bullets in a few minutes, killing many people. 

The United States needs gun reform. No citizen, besides police officers and the military, should have access to assault rifles. In Aurora, Colo., when 70 people were shot and 12 died, the shooter had an assault rifle. In another horrific example, 480 people were shot and 58 died in Las Vegas where the shooter had assault rifles. There aren’t any guns other than the assault rifle that lead to as much damage and as many bullets fired at one time. 

Some people claim that they need assault weapons for hunting or to protect themselves from harmful intruders. The U.S. actually had a ban on assault rifles in the 1990s, but it expired 10 years later under President George W. Bush. Some people claim that they need assault weapons for hunting and home protection. However, assault rifles are simply unnecessary and deadly. There are countless other, less dangerous weapons that can be used for self-defense or hunting.

Still, some people don’t support gun control. For example, the National Rifle Association is extremely pro-guns. According to the NRA mission, they work “to promote public safety, law and order, and the national defense.” But the NRA does not actually fulfill these goals. According to Scientific American, more guns don’t stop more crimes. Although some people believe that if they carry a gun, they can protect themselves from “bad guys” in our country, that isn’t the real outcome. Scientific American conducted around 30 studies to show that in fact, more guns actually lead to more crimes, including murders. Guns simply don’t help reduce violence. 

Critics of gun control also bring up the Second Amendment, which states, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Many people believe that this automatically means that no weapon can be constitutionally banned, as the Second Amendment protects the right to bear arms. This is another reason as to why there is complication surrounding gun laws in this country. 

However, this view of the Second Amendment is misguided. Twisted interpretations of the Second Amendment enable the school shootings and other mass shootings that happen too regularly. Since the Second Amendment was written in 1791, the development of our country has completely changed. With the creation of assault rifles, distinct from guns just meant for hunting as there is now more room for mass violence. The Second Amendment is not wrong; it just needs to be changed, because today gun control is vital.

Although implementing gun control won’t be easy, our government needs to take the steps to achieve it. America is seeing many more acts of violence right now, and that needs to come to a halt.