Two teenage men walk into a typical middle-class American suburban high school. They are dressed in black trench coats, bitter because their peers had cast them out as pariahs. They have booby-trapped the school with homemade bombs and explosions. They are carrying guns; they walk in and start shooting, targeting ethnic minorities and jocks. In the end, their bloody rampage kills 15 and wounds 25.
Within hours, the President is on television pinning the blame on a lack of early-warning systems for disturbed children. Media outlets begin to ask how on earth such a horrid event could have occurred, and why America is so prone to violence. The NRA stands by its position that “shooting teaches kids good things.” No one seems to make the correlation between our relaxed gun laws rooted in a cultural obsession with firearms and the rampant gun violence seen in America.
The United States is home to more murders by far than any other developed country. The statistics are astounding; American murder rates are substantially higher than the European average. According to Californians for Responsible Gun Laws, 36,000 Americans fall victim to gun-related deaths every year. The FBI reports that about eight murders occur per 100,000 residents in the US, while according to the UN, two murders occur per 100,000 in Canada, a little over one murder per 100,000 in both Germany and the Netherlands and less than one murder occurs per 200,000 in Japan.
Why is the incidence of murder dramatically higher in the US then in other wealthy countries? For one, the United States suffers from greater social injustice and disparities in wealth and income than its western partners, which obviously leads to more social problems, but that’s a whole other issue. Our absurd gun laws, though, are most to blame. It is incredibly easy to purchase and use firearms in the United States. Our laws regarding guns, enshrined in the Second Amendment, have created a culture that has developed an unhealthy affinity for the gun. Just about every other Western country has strict gun control laws. They recognize that most guns have no purpose other than to kill, so there is no point for their existence in a civilized, democratic society. Consequently, their cultures are not as inundated with violence and terror as ours, so thousands of their citizens are not shot and killed every year. Unfortunately, that is not the way it is in America.
The United States is witness to thousands of murders. With one of the world’s highest murder rates, we are by far the most violent society in the Western world. Our nation’s capital also holds the honor of being the world’s murder capital and several other American cities top the list of the world’s most dangerous places to live. We also have a culture, heavily prevalent in Southern and rural states, which glorifies gun possession and use. This gun-loving trait in our culture is primarily to blame for the many thousands of murders that take place in our country annually, from the inner cities to suburban high schools to rural towns.
What should we do to end this culture of violence that infects our country? We must institute tough, stringent and effective gun control laws. We must also reevaluate the role of the Second Amendment. Immediate federal action is necessary.
Thousands upon thousands of needless deaths could have been avoided, had it not been for a vague constitutional allusion, which gives us the “right to bear arms.” The Second Amendment was written at a time when firearms were essential for personal security and for dinner, and when fear of tyranny was still fresh in American minds. Today, more than 200 years later, the Second Amendment is used to defend an unhealthy cultural obsession with guns. It could single-handedly be blamed for the extremely violent and murderous element of American society. Its existence has resulted in thousands of deaths, causing grief for many more. Therefore, it should be repealed.
The abolition of the Second Amendment would strip gun advocates of their legitimacy. The NRA could no longer support gun use under the guise of constitutional liberty and would be forced to reevaluate its arguments and its agenda. The Second Amendment is outdated and dangerous; it must be removed from our constitution forever. This constitutional clause has no place in a modern, advanced and prosperous democracy.
Since handguns and semi-automatic weapons have no purpose other than to take human life, they should be outlawed. (After the hopeful repealing of the Second Amendment.) A complete ban on all handguns and semi-automatic weapons must be instituted. A civilized society cannot tolerate the mass proliferation of these types of weapons. How can we allow devices that have no purpose but to kill to be easily accessible and available to all sectors of society? It is morally reprehensible and arguably uncivilized to allow the American people access to handguns and semi-automatic weapons.
(For those that collect guns or use them for legal hunting, certain firearms should still remain legal, albeit under strict monitoring and regulation.)
As a society, we must make a firm decision regarding our future relationship with firearms. They have caused too much damage and pain for many Americans. We do not need them, nor should we want them. Handguns and semi-automatic weapons have no logical and moral reason for existence.
Those that say we should keep gun ownership legal overlook the fact that if we did not permit gun possession, there would be no need to have them for protection. It should be a national goal to create a gun-less society. By taking away the right to bear arms, instituting strict firearm regulations and clamping down on the illegal firearm market, we can reach the goal of a much less violent society.
Americans must realize that the pervasiveness of their gun culture is dangerous and humiliating. While the world looks down on us for our gun laws and violent culture, thousands of Americans are dying. Tough anti-gun laws and a comprehensive ban on most firearms will do much to reduce America’s unfortunate love for guns, and will hopefully lead to a less violent society.