We need stricter gun control laws

Twelve people died in a shooting November 7 at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California. This marks the 307th mass shooting in America this year — on the 311th day of the year.

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Between an assault weapon ban, background checks and ammunition purchasing restrictions, California has some of the toughest gun laws in the country. And still, tragedies like the one in Thousand Oaks can happen. Have we become so numb to mass shootings that each headline affects us less and less?

The students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida took it upon themselves to lead the March For Our Lives in March last year. Why is it that high school children can accept that we need stricter gun legislation, yet corrupt politicians cannot?

The United States has some of the loosest gun laws in the world. Gun ownership is protected by the Constitution’s second amendment, with some restrictions. People under the age of eighteen, convicted criminals, mentally handicapped, and dishonorably discharged military members are not allowed to own guns. However, this does not entirely prevent them from having access to them, anyway.

PBS reports that the U.S. has the highest gun ownership rates of any country, as well as the highest homicide by guns rate. A mass shooting in Australia in 1996 led to the country implementing strict gun control laws, and they have not had a mass shooting since. Similarly, Japan prohibits the ownership of guns entirely, and has the world’s lowest gun homicide rate.

Why should children go to school and have to worry about being shot at in the middle of class? Why should college students have to worry about being shot on the dancefloor, when all they wanted was a fun night out to dance with friends in the middle of midterms?

One common argument that gun supporters say is that “good people” need guns to fight off “bad people” with guns. One of the Thousand Oaks victims was Ron Helus — an armed police officer. Had the gunman been armed with a different weapon, such as a knife, it would have been much harder for the gunman to kill and injure people, and police would have been able to take him down more easily.

It’s time for America to look to these other countries and adopt similar laws. We can end this senseless violence, and stop the unnecessary loss of life. It’s time for our government to value human lives more than bribe money.

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