~Lyndon B. Johnson~
There have been fifty rampage killings in the U.S. in the past twenty-five years resulting in 377 people killed and 471 injured. In the spring of 1999 the United States witnessed the first media coverage of a massive school shooting. Two students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold shot and killed twelve students and a teacher at Columbine High School in Littleton Colorado. These events that took place at Columbine heightened awareness that current gun control laws just weren’t enough. Not only were firearms entering school systems, but Columbine proved that firearms were very accessible to young people and children. Sadly the Columbine High School shooting was the wakeup call many Americans needed to realize just how seriously changes in laws were needed.
Unfortunately, the events in Littleton Colorado were not the last time school shootings were in the media. Not only was Columbine a gun control wakeup call, but it also served as an example for future school related shootings. Eight years later in April of 2007, once again the Second Amendment proved too lenient. A single gunman Seung-Hui Cho using two semi-automatic pistols killed 32 people and injured 17 on the campus of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg Virginia. Not since Columbine had there been a shooting to the degree seen at Virginia Tech. When the founding fathers wrote the constitution and created the Second Amendment they never imagined a single gunman using his right to bear arms to slaughter his fellow classmates. Times had changed in America, now constitutional rights were allowing unstable and mentally ill people to access firearms with the intention of killing other people.
As if high school and college based shooting were not enough, in the spring of 2012 Adam Lanza, a disturbed 20 year old Connecticut man, brought gun violence to elementary schools. Using his mother’s AR-15 rifle Lanza ruthlessly slaughtered 26 people including 20 children under the age of 10. This event was the final straw Americans needed to understand just how real the gun problem in this country really was. The Sandy Hook shooting showed Americans that gun violence could affect people of all ages. In my opinion it should not have taken the death of 20 young children for people to finally realize just how much of an issue this country really has.
Similarly, John Wayne Rogers a legally blind Florida man was able to obtain a high-powered rifle despite his physical handicaps, prior gun convictions, and substance problems. The issue is not only the fact that nearly anyone can buy a firearm, but also the shear numbers of guns in this country. Adam Lanza didn’t actually buy the weapon himself; his mother purchased the gun long before the shooting. Background checks only work if we can guarantee that the weapon will not fall into the wrong hands. And given that there are so many guns in this country and they are so easy to come by, it is nearly impossible to ensure that these weapons will not be used for violent purposes. This is not to say that background checks are not important, but like any other law or amendment we need to make revisions when the current system is not working.
The bottom line is, guns are just far too accessible in the United States. Compared to countries like the UK, France, and other European countries where guns are incredibly hard to obtain, in the United State nearly anyone can buy a gun. This is a sad reality given all of the tragedies and massacres America has experienced and continues to experience. I can’t even remember all of the different shootings and school shootings in my lifetime. Worse, someone like my younger brother who is only 10 has been practicing lockdown drills since he first started school. While school does feel safer everyday, gun violence continues and the NRA and other gun lobbyists continue to allow millions of guns to circulate the United States. In my opinion the US will never become “gun free”, however, as long as Second Amendment rights continue to contradict gun control laws, the United States will never be able to enforces stricter gun control laws needed to make this nation safer.