Ranger Review

Influx of Gun Violence Sparks National Controversy

Students+from+around+the+country+protest+gun+violence+at+the+March+for+Our+Lives+in+Washington%2C+DC.+Over+2%2C000+protests+were+registered+in+2018.+
Students from around the country protest gun violence at the March for Our Lives in Washington, DC. Over 2,000 protests were registered in 2018.

Students from around the country protest gun violence at the March for Our Lives in Washington, DC. Over 2,000 protests were registered in 2018.

Students from around the country protest gun violence at the March for Our Lives in Washington, DC. Over 2,000 protests were registered in 2018.

Rhianna Lingle, Ranger Review Reporter

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Gun violence has been an issue in America since the rise of automatic weapons and the wider  availability of guns across the country. Since Colorado’s Columbine High School shooting in 1999, this issue has become increasingly relevant due to numerous school shootings.

The shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 14, 2018, placed this seemingly irrelevant problem back into perspective. According to Business Insider, Americans are more likely to be killed in a gun violence incident than any other cause of death. This year has resulted in a total of 154 mass shootings (the definition of “mass shooting” being five or more casualties) as of June 28, 2018.

Some argue that mass shootings could be prevented by restricting the availability of guns, while others claim that the root of the problem is not with guns, but the American healthcare system. With the national school walkout on April 20, 2018, students (and political parties) have disputed this issue more than ever.

While some argue that self-defense should not be dictated by the government, the use of smaller scale weapons such as shotguns and pistols is less destructive.

“My dad is in the military and he owns a single shot shotgun for self-defense,” Ellie Driessen 9 said. “You do not need a gun that sprays bullets for self-defense.”

Kate Lockburner 9 has been surrounded by guns since she was born. Her family owns Magnum Shooting Center in Monument, Colorado.

“I feel as though it is not in anyone’s right to say why people should not be able to have military grade guns for self defense,” Lockburner said. “I do understand the other side of the argument. When the second amendment was put into place, they did not have automatic weapons.”

The main argument against gun control is that people could still obtain guns illegally after restrictions were placed; however, 168 weapons used in mass shootings throughout the United States this year were obtained legally, while just 52 of them were obtained illegally (Washington Post). Careful use of background checks should be used when purchasing a firearm. Background checks, while thorough, are not entirely foolproof.

Driessen proposed a solution to this problem by extending the waiting period to purchase a firearm.

“I think more powerful restrictions should be placed, and longer waiting periods should be put into effect. I know there is a background check, and it needs to be very thorough. There should be a really long waiting period before getting the gun because why would you need it that day unless you were planning a mass shooting?”

However, the integrity of background checks is not guaranteed, regardless of what steps are taken to prevent loopholes in the process.

Another crucial component of the gun violence controversy is the accessibility of quality mental health care to prevent outbursts of violence from people who struggle with mental health.

“I think that school shootings start with the way you’re raised. It’s just the way that humankind has formed that when you’re scared of something, you kind of block it out and you can’t control something. It’s just human nature.” Lockburner said. “I feel like there are things that you could prevent, starting at home, with a child who might have an issue.”

“In school you constantly hear about how people are struggling, and people have short-term issues but they don’t know how to handle it and they don’t go to therapy because they think it’s too expensive, even if they have a long-term issue,” Smith said.

People with mental health issues constantly refrain from seeking help from a professional due to the rising cost of therapy. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, therapy may cost up to $100 an hour. Of all minors living in poverty who require mental health treatment, less than 15% of them receive therapy (National Center for Biotechnology Information). According to a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association, 81% of those polled pointed to cost concerns as a barrier to getting mental health care.

This issue cannot be blamed exclusively on the quality of mental health care, as the widespread availability of guns allows violence of a greater magnitude to occur. According to the NRA, one must be at least 18 years of age to purchase a long gun or rifle (including assault rifles) and 21 years of age to purchase a shotgun or pistol.

Regardless of one’s stance on gun control, something must be done about gun violence. We as Americans cannot value guns above the lives and safety of students.

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About the Writer
Rhianna Lingle, Ranger Review Reporter

Rhianna is a freshman at Lewis Palmer High School, and this is her first year writing for a school newspaper. She has been playing the violin for ten years...

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Influx of Gun Violence Sparks National Controversy