How many mass shootings need to occur before anything is done? Gun control is a topic that many people argue about, but few know what they are even arguing. Personally, I don’t believe anything will ever be done. Guns are used as a platform to push other issues and forgotten until the next mass shooting occurs. Gun control doesn’t mean taking away guns. It can mean protecting people and avoiding situations like mass shootings.
To give some background about myself, I grew up hunting and shooting for fun. I have lost many friends and family to gun violence. I know people who were killed by police, by strangers, and lost in war. At one point in my life, I was a Marine. I have vast experience with firearms, and yet I choose not to own one. I also have mental health issues related to past experiences with gun violence. I don’t think guns are necessary. My opinion is that if you aren’t hunting for food, you don’t need a gun. If you feel like you need a gun for self-defense, maybe you should be a fan of gun control. I do believe there are many responsible gun owners, but there are also many irresponsible ones.
I don’t believe that more guns equate to a safer society. In fact, I get anxiety from having to wonder how many people around me are possibly armed. The last thing I need is for some would-be hero to shoot me in a panic while trying to “help” in an active shooter situation. And I would never want to be the person standing there with a gun in his hand when police respond.
“I know people who were killed by police, by strangers, and lost in war. At one point in my life, I was a Marine. I have vast experience with firearms, and yet I choose not to own one.”
I strongly believe people do not know how they will react in a situation until it happens. I don’t care how well you can shoot an immobile target. I don’t care how many years you’ve been handling guns. There is no way to know how you will respond to a stressful or violent event. This is a factor in police shootings as well. No one should have to find out how they will react in that situation.
When it comes to gun violence numbers, our country is comparable to developing nations that have serious drug cartel problems, political instability and civil unrest. How is it that we are on a similar level to countries that are in such turmoil? Some people blame mental health issues for the mass shootings here, yet nothing has been done to improve mental health care. Mental health is used as a convenient excuse when the need to deflect away from the real issue arises. These deflections are an insult to the millions of people who struggle with their mental health.
The Institute for Legislative Action, which is the lobbying sector of the National Rifle Association, publishes statistics focused on gun safety. The site heavily downplays gun violence. It frames incidents involving guns as a minor issue compared to traffic accidents and several other things. The major issue is completely avoided. The site uses the “what about …” form of deflection that has become all too common in our society. We can play a numbers game all day, but that doesn’t stop gun violence from occurring.
The site mentions that the NRA has a program that teaches gun safety to pre-kindergarten through third-grade students. They are taught if they see a weapon, they should not touch it. I don’t understand why young children should be exposed to firearms in the first place, especially when accidental shootings can occur when children handle weapons. Parents need to be more responsible if they own a firearm.
So far this year, there have been 11,328 gun-related deaths in the U.S. Just over 6,400 of those deaths were suicides. There is a severe mental health crisis in our country, and we are failing to address it. An average of 4,200 veterans die by firearm suicide every year. Mental health and veterans are two things that people like to bring up in defense of their opinions — the same two things that are overlooked at a time when awareness is most needed. Everyone preaches about these issues until they actually have to care. As soon as mental health and veterans no longer fit whatever narrative is being pushed, they are forgotten.
I don’t understand why people believe anyone wants to take away their guns. When has anyone ever made a real attempt to do that? Red flag laws don’t count because those are justified. This is a fear tactic perpetuated by people who want to stay in office. A common argument I hear is that people want to keep their weapons to fight tyranny. In fact, the people who use this shallow defense are actively agreeing with the tyranny that has been plaguing our country recently. I don’t see any of these militias fighting against police brutality, insurrectionists, or domestic terrorists. I have no respect for people who preach such high morals and values and then stand by while the things they claim to disagree with happen around them.
Parents should not have to buy bulletproof backpacks for their children. Students should not need active shooter drills. No one should be scared to walk outside or go to a store. As a society we do everything except handle the actual issue. Instead of spending money on metal detectors and other excessive protections, we should fund mental health and counselling services. A gun club should not be telling us that gun deaths are normal. There are so many things we can do to make our country better. People preach about caring for each other but fail to act on it. Talking isn’t enough. We need action. We need changes.
The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to New Mexico State University, the NMSU Department of Journalism and Media Studies, Kokopelli, or any other organization, committee, group or individual.