Newtown, Connecticut. Charleston, South Carolina. Colorado Springs, Colorado. San Bernardino, California. These seemingly random places are connected by the mass shootings that have occurred in those cities.
According to the University of Alabama Department of Criminal Justice, 31 percent of the world’s mass shootings occur in the U.S., compared to our country’s five percent of the world population.
Shootingtracker.com defined a mass shooting as, “incidents where four or more victims are shot,” and the website documented more mass shootings in 2015 than days of the year. This means that on average, one or more mass shootings occurred each day, somewhere in the US.
These events have evoked a profound reaction in the emotions of the public, but Congress has done nothing to tighten gun control laws in the U.S. in light of these events.
President Barack Obama announced a new executive order on Jan. 5, 2016 concerning gun laws. In a public announcement, Obama shed tears as he called for tighter background check requirements and effectiveness as well as education and enforcement of gun control laws at a state level.
Many politicians, mostly Republicans, opposed Obama’s proposals, claiming that they would infringe upon the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. Obama defended himself, insisting that his actions are “not a plot to take away everybody’s guns.”
Obama also believes, “that we can find ways to reduce gun violence consistent with the Second Amendment.”
Students at CVHS have many differing perspectives and experiences surrounding this issue. Junior John Anthony admitted to have used guns recreationally and said, “The recreational use of guns is perfectly fine, but there should be limits on who can access guns.”
On the other side of the spectrum, senior Jackson Bores is not a gun user and stated, “It’s way too easy to buy a gun in America. In addition to stronger background and psychological tests, mandatory classes on gun usage, storage, and other overall safety procedures need to be implemented.”
It could be argued that despite the implementation of new background checks, weapons could still be obtained illegally through places such as the black market. The accessibility of weapons is not limited to legal markets.
However, 80 percent of the weapons all mass shooters from 1982-2012 possessed were obtained by legal means, a statistic that will undoubtedly continue and cause more fatalities unless something is done to limit the accessibility of firearms.
Obama’s order has strong support from the Democratic Party and opposition from the Republican Party. The fate of gun control, and of the nation, lies with the 2016 presidency.