Gun control in America is something which has been debated for some time, it seems that every time there is a mass shooting there follows an argument between the anti-gun lobby and the NRA.
I was inspired to write this after seeing this picture on a popular Social Media site, posted by Bustle.com. The Ad itself is sponsored by gun control group Evolve Together.
Now, I know that this ad might shock some people and this was probably (definitely) the intention, but some of the comments on the post made my jaw drop!
Bearing in mind that most (if not all) of these comments came from good ole Americans it goes some way to show why the debate seems never ending.
‘This ad must have been written by a pedophile’ (I would have thought it was written by a caring individual who is sick of seeing mass shootings on the news)
‘Why would a mother allow her children to play with sex toys?’ (That’s the point!!)
The comment which really got my blood boiling (and forced me to comment in reply) was …
‘That’s disgusting! What sort of mother would allow her child to be in an advert like that!’
I had to answer her and I told her that ‘I would allow my children to be a part of this if it saved just one child’s life, saved just one family going through the pain of losing a child’.
Of course the message of this campaign is to lock up your guns, kids will play with things that they shouldn’t. Let’s face it, with the best will in the world you cannot watch your kids 24 hours a day.
There were a lot of comments in favor of the ad and while reading through I came across this video….Jim Carey. Cold dead hand. I want to warn you, this will have you laughing as only Jim Carey can (and it does get a little rude!).
So now for the more serious stuff…
Why is Gun Control such a big issue?
When you look at the figures this question isn’t actually as silly as it sounds.
For the benefit of this post I am not talking about ‘gang shootings’ but the ones like in Columbine, Sandy Hook and Stockton. I am talking about mass shootings, where 4 or more are killed or injured as a result. (This is apparently the FBI definition.)
Being a ‘good writer’ I have done a little digging, I wanted to see how the figures stacked up over a period of time and if it was increasing.
I discovered that, in the 30 years from 1985 to 2012, there were 62 mass shootings. Now that isn’t really a lot at an average of just over 2 per year. In that 30 year period over 979 people were killed or injured, this works out to almost 16 people per shooting (or 32.63 people per year).
Of all of the previous mass shootings, there are two which stick firmly in my mind. The first is the Columbine massacre, remember that one? The other was the Sandy Hook school incident. I remember these two for quite different reasons, with Columbine the media blamed Marilyn Manson. I am a big fan of his music and I was intrigued as to how he could influence such an atrocity. Of course he didn’t! Sandy Hook affected me more as a mother. This case was brutal as the victims were young children, at school where they should have been safe.
The worst shooting in terms of number of victims was the Aurora Theater massacre in Colorado, with a total of 70 victims all contained in a cinema screening of The Dark Knight Rises.
In 2013 there was an average of 1 mass shooting per day with a total of 365 for the year. This is a dramatic increase and the figures are no better for this year.
So far this year there have been 143 mass shootings in the US. This might sound like a decline on the 2013 figures but today’s date is 15th July 2014!! In the past 6 and a half months 526 injuries and a shocking 180 deaths are a direct result of mass shootings.
The situation has got so bad that there is now an online tracker for mass shootings, yes really, you can see for yourself here.
Nobody knows why these people do these things, whether it is a mental health issue or another trigger. Some may have been (or felt they had been) victims of bullying or ridicule and simply wanted to get some revenge. Maybe they felt the need to be remembered for something. I guess nobody will ever know the full truth about what motivates a mass shooting but the big question is… What can be done to stop it from happening.
When these tragedies happen there tends to be a flurry of calls for tighter gun control or a complete ban on guns from the Anti gun campaigners. The NRA also make noises in support of guns, even going to the lengths of claiming conspiracy theories and cover ups.
The law for gun control varies from state to state. Surprisingly of the 51 states, only 2 totally prohibit guns. Of the remaining 49 states, 2 prohibit the concealed carrying of a hand gun in public and 7 prohibit open carrying of a hand gun. 35 states require a permit to conceal carry in public while 31 states freely allow the open carrying of hand guns. When it comes to Rifles and long guns there is no legal restrictions in 44 states!
A total ban is likely to have some pitfalls, getting the guns out of the houses in the first place would be no mean feat, but isn’t it worth it?
This post was supposed to be a for and against argument, but it has turned out much longer than I expected so I am turning it into an introduction to a series of posts. Writing this has refueled my interest, so I am going to write a separate post about Columbine, Sandy Hook, Aurora and the NRA.
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Until next time…..
Written by Emma Pollard.