Time to take a stand against guns

Columbine, 1999. Virginia Tech, 2007.  Sandy Hook, 2012. San Bernardino, 2015. Pulse Nightclub, 2016. These tragic incidents share one thing in common: they could’ve been prevented by stricter gun control laws.

Guns have become an increasingly controversial issue. NPR and The Washington Post have estimated there are over 300 million guns in the US, with 112.6 guns per 100 residents. With the prevalence of gun ownership, it’s virtually impossible to eliminate gun violence.

Evidence for strengthening gun regulations has become irrefutable. There is no excuse why legislators in Congress cannot pursue more stringent control. There is an obvious connection between the lenient laws regarding firearms and the higher death rate due to guns, which some have consistently failed to recognize.

By increasing regulations on guns, limiting the purchase of firearms, and evaluating the mental health of potential buyers, we would significantly reduce the risks of innocent people being massacred by unknown shooters.

We can look to countries like Great Britain and Finland to see a correlation between stricter gun legislation and lower crime rate, as well as fewer deaths due to guns per capita.

If we go back in our history, even as recently as January 6, 2017, we see domestic terrorism occurring due to weapons of unparalleled killing ability in the hands of those who shouldn’t possess them.

Even legally obtained guns are a threat to our safety; 80  percent of people who carry out mass shootings use legally purchased firearms. The ratio of people killed by firearms in the U.S. compared to other countries in the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) is 19.5 to 1, displaying a remarkable discrepancy between the U.S. and nations with a similar socioeconomic status.

We should not interpret gun deaths merely as depressing or isolated incidents. We need to take every opportunity to remind ourselves that the bloodshed will continue to occur at even faster rates if we don’t take action now.

At this pivotal moment in our country, we need legislators to put aside their monetary and political differences  and take a forceful position to stem the gun epidemic in our country. We have seen enough young lives cut down before flowering into their potential.

We must display solidarity in our quest to become a society safe from the scourge of gun deaths.