Guns are Out of Control in the United States


Ah, guns. They’ve divided our nation for decades, killed tens of thousands of Americans every year, and are America’s favorite collectibles right next to Funko Pops, Squishmallows, and streaming services. What’s not to love?

Seriously though, America, it’s time to wake up and face the music behind the absolutely ridiculous state of guns in this country. 

Ten years ago, comedian, John Oliver, declared the Second Amendment the “winner of all Amendments” saying: “It has defeated all the other Amendments! Which of course it did, when you think about it, it’s the only amendment with a f—ing gun.”

It’s sad but it’s true. Out of every Amendment, the second one seems to get disproportionally more protection than any of the others.

Recently, everyone’s favorite meatball and Thai food enjoyer, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, signed a bill that would allow people to carry a concealed weapon without a government permit. At this same time, he has banned thousands of books in schools, passed anti-drag bans that could effectively end all pride parades in Florida, and is going after Disney World because of their supposed “woke agenda.”

Herein lies the problem. Republicans are focused on the completely wrong things. They will project for hours upon hours over how LGBTQ+ “indoctrination” is ruining and corrupting our youth and will go to extreme lengths to restrict the First Amendment rights of LGBTQ+ people. Yet, they refuse to address the actual issues that are destroying the lives of our children. 

Firearm-related deaths have now become the leading cause of death of children in the United States but, sure, let’s go after the largest employer in Florida because Mickey will be hosting pride nights.

They’ll expand access to the very things that are killing our children but will restrict the First Amendment rights of people just trying to express themselves. Republicans may claim they protect liberty but then they will pick and choose who gets those liberties. After the Nashville school shooting, conservatives came out of the woodwork calling to restrict access to firearms for trans people. 

There have been over 140 mass shootings in the US in 2023 yet for some reason Republicans aren’t calling to restrict straight white men’s access to guns despite making up the vast majority of mass shooting perpetrators. Strange how trans people are painted as monsters after something like this and straight white men are just painted as mentally ill isn’t it?

Basically, if Republicans were forced to rank the amendments they’d probably say something like “First is the worst, second is the best, third is the one with a hairy chest.”

We are long past the time for gun control and the laissez-faire attitude toward gun laws has become ridiculous. We’ll regulate food, TV, cars, pools, drugs, books, alcohol, drag performances, and even phone calls but somehow we draw the line at guns? 

Why is it harder to buy a car, which is absolutely necessary to function in modern America, than a gun whose express purpose begins and ends with killing things? If guns were as regulated as cars they would require mandatory training, a written test, a practical test, liability insurance, renewals, and inspections, along with a title and tag at each point of sale.

We’re willing to do all that for a car but not a gun? 

Many will argue that guns don’t kill people, people do. Here’s the problem with that line of logic, drugs do the same thing. Using their line of reasoning, crack doesn’t kill people, the people taking it do. They keep saying “Don’t blame guns” but will then blame drugs for the deaths they cause. If you give a child a bag of candy and leave them be, of course, they’re going to eat it. It’s not the candies’ fault that the child made a dumb decision but maybe we shouldn’t be giving kids bags of candy to begin with. Maybe removing the thing that helps facilitate these actions will stop them from happening, shocking I know. 

Many retort by saying that banning or restricting guns won’t help stop bad people from getting firearms. Sure, if someone really wants a firearm, they could probably get one, especially in a country with the highest domestic arsenal in the world, but introducing that legislation would give harsher consequences for obtaining and using those firearms. Just because we can’t get 100% of guns off the street doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to minimize the amount that are there. Again, using this logic, we shouldn’t even try to crack down on meth because someone who wants meth can probably find it.

After a 1996 mass shooting that killed 35 people in Port Arthur, Australian Prime Minister John Howard introduced sweeping gun control legislation that ended up confiscating over 650,000 guns from civilians. After this happened, gun deaths, homicides, suicides, and mass shootings plummeted. So, yes, there is evidence to show that taking guns away does reduce gun deaths.

There is also the problem of Stand-Your-Ground laws. Prior to these laws, citizens had a duty to retreat before resorting to deadly force. This basically means that you could not use deadly force if you could safely retreat or de-escalate the situation. Stand your ground laws, however, remove that duty to retreat and, instead, require the actor to have believed that they or their loved ones were in danger of “death, serious injury, kidnapping, or sexual intercourse compelled by force or threat.”

These laws stem from the “Castle Doctrine,” which was coined by English parliament member Sir Edward Coke who said: “A man’s house is his castle and fortress, and (his) home is his safest refuge.” Basically, it says that a man is allowed to defend his home by any means he deems necessary. Stand-Your-Ground laws take that idea even further by applying it to public spaces.

The problem with these laws is that it essentially allows people to kill without impunity so long as they believe they were in danger but the problem is that you can’t prove or disprove if they actually thought that, especially if the person who was shot is dead. In 2018, a man was shot in Missouri over a disagreement over how much a dog could weigh, and the shooter didn’t face any charges because of how complicated Stand-Your-Ground laws can make things. This is in spite of the fact that there were multiple witnesses and over four hours of surveillance footage.

As of 2012, nearly 70% of defendants who cited Stand-Your-Ground laws in Florida had gone free. Many proponents would say that’s a good thing and that people were going to jail all the time for just defending themselves, but they never have any evidence to support that.

The problem with these laws is that the crux of this legal defense stems from a perceived fear which is inherently unprovable and subjective. Not only can a defendant just lie and get away with it by saying they feared for their lives, but you can’t really prove them otherwise. 

Over 25 states across the country have enacted Stand-Your-Ground laws, including Pennsylvania. In those states, there has been a nearly 11% increase in homicide rates since those laws were passed. In states without those laws, the homicide rate went down by over 2%.

There are limits to these laws, however, but they aren’t particularly good ones. In cases that reach across racial lines, there is a significant slant in who is believed. In cases of white-on-black homicide, the odds of it being found justified were 281% greater than with white-on-white homicide. 

Essentially, issues with our gun laws reach far beyond just the guns themselves but also the legal use of them. If we were to reform our laws on how to obtain and possess a firearm, we also have to reform laws on the acceptable use of a firearm which are currently ripe for abuse and have a heavy racial bias.

The moral of the story is to get rid of Stand-Your-Ground laws and don’t give Ron DeSantis Thai food, children bags of candy, and homicidal maniacs legal access to firearms.