Guns are an American scourge

Guns are an American scourge

Guns are the leading cause of death among American adolescents. In 2017, the United States had 120.5 civilian owned guns per 100 people. In 2019, there were 4.12 gun homicides per 100,000 people. How many more innocent lives will be lost until society understands that the issue is guns?

Laws and restrictions 

The Gun Control Act of 1968 regulates firearms at the federal level. It requires citizens and legal residents to be at least 18 years of age in order to purchase shotguns, rifles, and ammunition. Other firearms, such as handguns, are only sold to people that are 21 or older. State officials are able to make the age restrictions higher, but are not allowed to lower the federal minimum.

Fugitives, patients involuntarily admitted to mental institutions, people with felony convictions that required prison sentence for more than one year, as well as people who have been found guilty of unlawfully possessing/using controlled substances are prohibited from purchasing firearms. Shotguns, rifles, machine guns, firearm mufflers, and silencers are regulated by the National Firearms Act of 1934. The purchase of semi-automatic and automatic weapons are legal in most states.

Not every individual that sells a gun is required to have a Federal Firearms License (FFL). Not every buyer is legally subject to a background check, which allows guns to fall into the wrong hands of people who are not allowed to own a firearm. Anyone can sell a gun from their home and online, as long as he or she is not conducting the sale as a part of regular business activity. A firearm purchase can occur without a background check, without being illegal, which is called a “gunshow loophole.”


There is no excuse to why a 17 year old should’ve been able to get a military style weapon, enter his high school and kill and injure 34 students in 4 minutes. When Nikolas Cruz entered the freshmen building, he took out his semi-automatic rifle and began to spray bullets. He killed 11 students, injured 13 in 2 minutes. Not only was he not a student attending that school, but he was expelled. Staff were warned that he was expelled because he put students attending the High school at risk, yet he still managed to enter the school. These security systems in schools all across the country aren’t protecting students. There should be more done to solve the gun problem that has been spreading throughout the United States. Ever since the Parkland shooting the number of students that are exposed to gun violence has risen from 187,000 in 2018 to 338,000. Nikolas Cruz shouldn’t have been able to kill 11 students in 2 minutes, and shouldn’t have been able to acquire a gun that made that possible.


   Oxford was supposed to be a safe learning environment for all the kids that attended the High School. Ethan Crumbley, a 15 year old boy was completely responsible. Many point the fingers at his parents for allowing him to have easy access to a weapon knowing that he wasn’t in the right mental state. Crumbley’s mother knew he had a troubled mental state and still purchased him a gun. When will students feel safe entering their schools meant for learning? When will it be safe for kids to just be kids? When will the United States start to take this issue seriously? A twitter account named captdoor said this on twitter, “Which would save more lives? A painted rock or some trained students who are adults.” This tweet is illogical and has no evidence behind their claim. The Oxford shooting shows how giving KIDS guns to protect themselves could play out. Not only are they kids but the average human brain isn’t fully developed till the age of 25. Giving kids guns won’t protect schools; kids shouldn’t be responsible in stopping school shootings, that’s what the government is for.

Global Comparison

The U.S. holds 45% of the world’s civilian-owned guns. It ranks number one in firearms per capita and has the highest homicide by firearm rate of the world’s most developed nations. The United States should take notes from other countries. Between the years of 2009-2018 the United States has held the record by having the highest amount of school shootings, 288.

Canada has a relatively high gun ownership of 34.7 civilian owned guns per 100 people, but does not suffer with a similar level of gun violence. In 2019, there were 0.5 gun homicides per 100,000 people. Canada’s national government, just like the United States, sets gun restrictions. Their firearms are categorized into three classes: non-restricted, restricted, and prohibited. Non-restricted weapons include ordinary rifles or shotguns. Restricted weapons include handguns, semi automatic rifles, or shotguns. Prohibited weapons are automatic weapons. Non restricted firearms need to be registered and consider background checks from more than five years in the past.

Norway has rare political issues on gun control. As of 2017, there were 28.8 civilian owned guns per 100 people, but there were only 0.07 gun homicides per 100,000 people in 2019. This is near the bottom in gun homicide rates, where the U.S. rate is about 44 times higher. Norway required applicants to be at least 18 years of age, specify a valid reason for gun ownership, and a government license. In 2021, Norway banned semi-automatic weapons.

Japan has highly restrictive firearm regulations which contributes to their low gun death rates. In 2017, there were only 0.3 civilian owned guns per 100 people. In 2019, there were only 0.02 gun homicides per 100,000 people. Most guns are illegal in Japan and the low rates of gun ownership reflect this. Shotguns, airguns, guns with specific research, industrial purposes, or those used in competitions are permitted. In order to obtain these weapons, one must undergo formal instruction, pass a written, mental, drug test, and background check. Most Japanese see no need for firearms because of the overall low crime rate in Japan.

Counter Arguments

People present many arguments about gun laws, and law enforcement. These arguments are ignorant and have no evidence to back them up. Gary Porter tweeted on twitter a few hours after the MSU shooting saying, “Honest question: ask them who’s going to defend them once the police have been defunded.” This quote simply lacks information. The police have not been defunded, the United States has spent $428.66 trillion on the police system. The amount spent on police funding is right under how much the United States spends on the education system. The police system in other countries like New Zealand have only spent 3.97 billion on police funding but seem to have less shootings than the United States.

There is no excuse why the United States should be in a gun epidemic while other countries are not having the same problem. There are some reasons, the United States has a significant amount of more guns, it has one of the weakest laws for guns, and it has no security measures in place to protect the students.

Japan has had zero shootings compared to the United States. Japan’s ranking in how much they spend on the police system is significantly lower than how much the United states spends. Even though the United States spends more on the police system, which many argue that the police are keeping the school shootings down and are being defunded, evidence shows otherwise. Japan has spent only $60 billion on their police funding showing a major gap between both countries.

France from the years 2009-2018 have had only 2 school shootings in those 9 years, compared to the United States whopping 288 in 9 years. That’s estimated to be about 32 school shootings a year. France’s spending on their police funding is significantly lower, they spend $43.4 billion on the police system.

How to prevent

There are many ways to prevent gun violence in the United States. One solution is to create stricter gun laws. This includes raising the age to purchase a semi-automatic firearm and requiring universal background checks without loopholes, the background checks should include drug and mental checks, and to help prevent gun violence is to require safe and secure gun storage. Another is being more careful with who is in the household when purchasing a gun. There should be more resources for mental health to combat violent thoughts turning into violent actions. Creating stricter gun laws does not take away our second amendment, even if people think that it does, there are sacrifices that should be made in order to protect the lives of many.


   Students are dying and they shouldn’t be. School shootings are preventable. There have been too many school shootings and deaths caused by gun violence for this issue to keep being swept under the rug. There are numerous solutions for the numbers that the United States has. School shootings should not be a problem in today’s society.