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Pittman Explains the Need for Gun Control

This piece was published in the December 2015 issue of the Prep News

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As this piece is being written, we are currently on day 341 of 365 for the year of 2015. This year, we have had 311 mass shootings, according to the Gun Violence Archive—if we define a mass shooting as an incident in which four or more people are shot.

This year alone, we have had 48,969 incidents involving firearm violence. This statistic is huge, and makes the fact that only 3,261 of incidents involving gun violence perpetrated by civilians are used in a protective manner seem insignificant. Comparatively, there are 12,401 deaths due firearms, along with 25,041 injuries. To put the total number in perspective, 6,851 Americans have died in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2003, according to the Department of Defense, when the War on Terror officially began.

Therefore, using the math I learned in Mr. Lyngar’s class, this means every time there is one instance of a defensive use for firearms, there are about four deaths, as well as nearly eight injuries by gun violence.

Along with that, there have been 1,776 accidental shootings this year. And sadly, what’s become all too common in the news, this year 649 children—from infants to eleven year olds—have died this year as a result of gun violence.

These numbers are staggering, especially when they can be prevented so easily. According to Mother Jones magazine’s database, which tracks mass shootings with at least four fatalities, along with the legality of how the killers obtained their weapons, 82 percent of weapons were acquired through legal means in the last three decades. This includes at least two of the assault rifles used by the murderers in San Bernardino, Dylan Roof’s weapons as he massacred a Charleston Church, as well as James Holmes’ arsenal when he assaulted a movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado.

Instead of addressing these issues, the majority of Republicans have instead insisted these tragedies are a problem with terrorism and mental health. Take Republican presidential nominee Mike Huckabee, for instance. Throughout his entire political campaign, Huckabee has spun any gun control issue into a federal failure to provide proper care to the mentally ill. Even though, in his last two years (2006-2007) as governor of Arkansas, Huckabee’s state received a D in the category of health care for the seriously mentally ill, in a study conducted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

This willingness to spin gun control into different issues is a disservice to the American people. The consistency of seeing shootings occurring is a huge threat to our society, and is already showing its teeth with our apathy towards adding gun control into legislation. The routine of reporting and hearing about shootings is implanting itself into our culture, which is absolutely disgusting.

Yet, even with these atrocities occurring around us so frequently, our government has failed to pass even the most basic federal restrictions on firearms. On December 4th, a day after the shootings in San Bernardino, the Republican controlled senate defeated two laws that would deny any person on a federal terrorism watch list the ability to buy weapons, as well as another bill that would enact universal background checks.

An entire party rallying against an out of date amendment is mind boggling, especially when the amount of Americans being killed outnumbers those killed in a warzone.

The United States Constitution was ratified about five years after the conclusion of the Revolutionary War, a time when militias were an absolute necessity in ensuring the colonies’ independence was upheld. The second amendment was added in order to ensure that in case the British invaded again, the colonies would be adequately prepared. Today, we are blessed enough not to worry about a possible British invasion. Instead, we have an enormous centralized military, making militias obsolete.

Furthermore, when the Constitution was written, muskets and bayonets were the weapon of choice. In no world could the forefathers have predicted that weapons such as the AR-15, with drum magazines and full auto capabilities, would ever enter into existence.

The second amendment is extremely outdated and is killing an abhorrent amount of Americans. If our nation continues to ignore this issue in our culture, no end seems in sight to this routine of hearing about these shootings.

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