Tighter Leash: CHS students should consider stricter gun control laws


Misha Rekhter, Perspectives Editor

As an American citizen, I recognize the inherent freedom to protect oneself that all Americans possess. It is this freedom which has prompted the stockpile of weaponry in American homes; gun owners endlessly cite the Second Amendment as justification for the possession of these firearms. However, in the wake of today’s fifth anniversary of the tragic Sandy Hook shootings, gun violence remains prevalent. Since that time, two solutions have formed regarding combating gun violence: increase weaponry in all settings or tighten gun control laws. As a citizen concerned with the widespread ownership and use of weaponry, I’m alarmed that a genuine response to gun violence is the former argument.

While it may appear comforting to own a gun for self-protection purposes, it’s ultimately dangerous. It is strikingly simple to purchase a weapon in the United States as the requirements are entirely surface level. According to CNN, this manifests itself in that the number of civilian-owned firearms in the United States is estimated around 310 million. That’s one firearm for nearly every man, woman and child in this country. The second-largest civilian firearm stockpile belongs to India with 46 million, a country with more than 1.3 billion people. As such, in comparison to other developed nations, American gun control laws are laughable.

The relative ease of owning and operating weaponry in America correlates to its frequent use. According to NPR, the United States had 3.85 deaths due to gun violence per 100,000 people in 2016 which is a rate eight times higher than the Canadian rate and 27 times higher than Denmark’s rate. It becomes frighteningly obvious the United States has rampant gun control and violence issues that cannot be resolved by pumping more firearms into the arms of civilians.

It’s time to clamp down on gun control laws similar to steps taken in other nations. For example, in Australia after the Port Arthur mass shooting in 1996, where Martin Bryant killed 35 people and wounded 23 more, immediate action was taken to tighten gun control laws. The government implemented laws that required a genuine reason for gun ownership, such as hunting, and it introduced a national gun-buyback policy which resulted in the melting down of more than 650,000 firearms. The evidence for the success of these actions is rather obvious; there have been zero mass shootings since Australia took these steps. The United States should consider successful tactics such as the ones used in Australia and  other countries in stemming gun violence here.

America bears the troubling honor of being the home of most of the deadliest mass shootings in the world and a severely inflated number of gun-related deaths. With stricter gun laws, this violence can be sedated and reduced, but it’s up to the citizens of the United States to realize these are the necessary steps. It’s time to get a grasp on gun control laws and transform the United States into the safe country it needs to be.

The views in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the HiLite staff. Reach Misha Rekhter at [email protected]