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Post Column: America lags behind other nations on gun control

On Jan. 10, as Vice President Joe Biden was scheduled to address the nation, he was interrupted by news that two students had been killed at Taft High School in California.

According to Slate.com, 137 people have been killed in school shootings in America since 1980. There are also more shootings occurring each decade.

According to the Huffington Post, out of 28 countries studied by the Small Arms Survey, only the US and Yemen consider firearms a basic right, and Yemen has begun to crack down on their firearm policies. The US, whose population accounts for only 4.5 percent of the world’s population, holds 40 percent of the world’s civilian firearms.

But is the amount of guns in this country the reason for all the school shootings?

What is it about firearms that gets Americans so heated? It is, after all, the Second Amendment. Right after free speech is the right to bear arms. Guns are readily available to almost anyone who passes a simple background check. But is that the guns’ fault? After all, “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” Unless the gun malfunctions, but that’s beside the point.

According to The New York Times, American children 5 to 14 years old are 13 times more likely to be murdered by a firearm than children in other industrialized countries.

“More Americans die in gun homicides and suicides in six months than have died in the last 25 years in every terrorist attack and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq combined,” wrote Times columnist Nicholas Kristoff. The numbers are simply staggering.

It’s true that criminals would still have ways to get guns even if they were completely banned. After all, they are able to buy heroin and cocaine. But looking to the rest of the world shows how far behind we are as a country.

According to Kristoff, Australia passed a gun-regulation law after 13 mass shootings occurred in 18 years. Since the regulation was passed, there have been no mass shootings and the murders committed with firearms have gone down 40 percent. Canada requires a 28-day waiting period to buy a gun and two people to vouch for the person purchasing a firearm.

Simple regulations would not take away law-abiding citizens’ rights to own firearms. America is a great nation that is looking the other way when it comes to gun control. People hear “gun control” and think the government simply wants to take away all rights to gun ownership, but that just isn’t true. The food, toy and auto industries all have more regulations than the firearms industry.

The auto industry requires air bags and seat belts. They are required for citizens’ safety, not to take away the ability to drive. But hey, car accidents don’t kill people, people kill people.

Jessica Ensley is a sophomore studying  journalism at Ohio University and a columnist for The Post. Do you think gun laws would help stop shootings? Email Jessica at  je726810@ohiou.edu.

 

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