POP! BOOM! CRACK! “Oh, haha, those must be fireworks” I thought. It was about a year ago and I was playing tennis against a girl from another school when these sounds happened. We both just thought it was some fireworks show and laughed it off and kept going. Little did we know a shooting had happened in front of the school we were playing at. We couldn’t see it. The courts were on the other side of a giant lot, maybe ¾ of a football field away. There were 2 people there, both probably armed. I think it was a shooting related to gangs. I remember the shots being in around 20-to-30 second intervals, much slower than I thought they would have fired. Around 30 minutes later the ambulances drove by. The sirens felt like a flashbang to the ears. I could see the shooters on the stretchers through the little window in the back, laying down, probably unconscious. To think just one little misfire or a little too much curiosity could have gotten me or someone else there in one of those ambulances right alongside them. But that was the day when I realized the dangers of gun ownership.
I live in Louisville, so shootings, specifically mass shootings, are no stranger to me. But just around a month ago, the week after the April 10, 2023 bank mass shooting and April 15, 2023 Chickasaw Park mass shooting, both in Louisville, I was leaving my church to go home when my family heard this weird crackling sound. All of us were alerted: Not again. But, alas, it happened once more. Later that day, my mother told me it was another shooting. The man was fine though. Only one mild injury. But this, alongside the shooting at my tennis match, made me truly realize how dangerous and widely available guns are. It hadn’t even been a week yet since Louisville lost so many lives to gun violence, then we almost lost another. And ever since then, the shootings almost feel regular. One shooting one week, 2 the next. Oh look, no shooting! Wait, there's another mass shooting the next week. Every single day is another chance for a shooting to happen. And there's always that chance that I could be in the wrong place at the wrong time. And I would be gone. Just. Like. That.
Gun violence has been an issue in America for a long while. It occurs in every part of America, anywhere from the suburbs of Detroit to downtown NYC. This mass amount of gun violence affects everybody. It makes people nervous to go outside, scared their body would be riddled with bullets, like a block of human swiss cheese. It makes everybody on edge, just waiting for it to happen again. While many people think of it as an issue, many people don’t realize how BIG of an issue it really is. According to Kiara Alfonseca, who wrote the article “There have been more mass shootings than days in 2023, database shows'' for ABC news, “The United States has faced at least 202 mass shootings so far this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive. There have been more mass shootings than days in 2023.”(Alfonseca 1) Gun violence is much more prevalent than most people think. Almost every day, in fact, more than everyday, there is a mass shooting just in America alone. Gun violence happens this often and yet the government has done almost nothing about it. It’s not just in 2023 either, as according to Everytown, an anti-gun violence nonprofit organization, “In the eight years between 2015 and 2022, over 19,000 people were shot and killed or wounded in the United States in a mass shooting.”(Everytown 1) This means on average, just over 1.5 people were killed or wounded per day over an 8 year period. A lot of this can be attributed to bad gun laws. People in America have much too easy access to firearms, may they be rifles, shotguns, or handguns. Age is also a factor in all of this. People 18 years of age now have access to rifles and shotguns, and when they turn 21, they now have access to more dangerous weapons, such as handguns. People 18-21 years of age are yet to have fully developed, so things like mental illness and irrational actions or reasoning are prevalent in their everyday lives, potentially causing them to act out violently in a shooting. The combination of poor gun laws, poor age restrictions and more mental health issues causes gun violence to become much more prevalent in our everyday lives. Congress should raise the age limit and strengthen the requirements of gun ownership because lives are being taken by people with too easy access to guns.
The rise in mass shootings is not random. Increases in stress, anxiety, and overall easier access to guns makes it so mass shootings are easier to conduct. Ever since the 2nd amendment was written, the “right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” This was originally created to give American citizens weapons to protect themselves from any threat to their personal being, and to also prevent the US from having a true army. With the creation of the U.S’s army, however, and that countries no longer have as much need for new territory, the 2nd amendment is no longer as useful as before. This, alongside the fact that guns now represent freedom and their ties to political beliefs, causes some major problems. According to Nadine Yousif, who wrote the article “Why the number of US mass shootings has risen sharply” for BBC news, “Americans have more guns now than they did before. US gun sales reached a record 23 million in 2020 - a 65% increase from 2019 - and remained high in 2021.[...] People are afraid, and they want to quell that fear by buying a gun.”(Yousif 1) People no longer feel safe, so they take desperate measures to make sure that they are. This can backfire, though, as they could be driven to the point of madness or someone else could get ahold of the firearm and use it to cause devastation. It’s not just gun ownership that's spiked either, as “some experts also point to the rise in life stressors, both in general and as a result of the pandemic [...] These issues can lead some people “to act out or respond violently.” (Yousif 1). The rise in gun ownership, anxiety, and depression causes mass shootings to happen at a much faster rate. The isolation people experienced during the pandemic could potentially drive them to pure madness. The pandemic was almost just a watered-down version of solitary confinement, a form of torture still used today in prisons.
The effects of gun violence in America make people and communities more reluctant to proceed with their everyday activities due to fear of another shooting. People now have so much more to worry about while doing what they could mindlessly do a few years ago. They now have to worry about “is this the right driveway” or “is he going inside to get a gun?” Also, because of the spike in gun violence, people now “experience [much more] stress, depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).”(Brady United 1) said Brady United, an anti-gun violence non-profit. The effects are both physical and mental. Somebody could have witnessed or survived a shooting and now they have complete mental breakdowns just out of fear of leaving the house. It’s not just adults moving on with their daily lives worrying either. Brady United also states that “According to a 2018 study by the Pew Research Center, the majority of U.S. teens fear a shooting could happen at their school.” (Brady United 1) People of all ages now fear that an armed man could gun them down at any point. The fact that children now have to worry about the “quiet kid” going rogue is horrible. The effects extend from beyond people too. Entire neighborhoods and cities' value could plummet because of a rogue gunman or an organized gang. There is evidence that “higher levels of neighborhood gun violence can be associated with fewer retail and service establishments as well as fewer new jobs. Higher levels of gun violence are also associated with lower home values, credit scores, and homeownership rates.” (Brady United 1). Entire cities and states have the potential to lose so much money just because of the US’s poor gun laws. Everybody and everything is at risk of being lost. All of these things combine into a frankenstein of anxiety and loss. Places and people being lost to a piece of metal shrapnel being launched at them at 1700 miles per hour.
The laws surrounding gun ownership need to require a more thorough background check and should require permits in order to purchase a firearm. The requirements in order to purchase a gun in America are frightening. The background checks are very poorly conducted, and in some cases not conducted at all. On top of this, “Only a dozen of the US's 50 states require purchase permits for handguns. Of those states, only three — California, Connecticut and Hawaii — require permits for the purchase of rifles and shotguns.”(Schuster 1) wrote Kathleen Schuster for DW, a world-wide news source. The fact that somebody could walk into a gun store completely unidentified and walk out with a weapon capable of killing people in a matter of seconds is sickening. These laws are severely loose and need to be strengthened before extreme collateral damage is done. The states that have the most strict gun ownership requirements are rated the highest when it comes to gun safety in said state. Guns can even fall into the hands of people who are forbidden by law to purchase firearms, such as former criminals, entirely due to lack of laws surrounding gun ownership. According to Schuster, “not every individual providing the gun in a transfer requires an FFL, [...] This potentially enables guns to fall into the hands of users who might otherwise not be allowed to own a firearm.” (Schuster 1) Somebody who is legally forbidden from buying a gun has the chance of being able to buy one due to the laws set by the government, the same people that forbid them from buying one. This is worsened by the fact that people can obtain firearms through unlicensed gun dealers. Many places can completely skip the background checks and FFL requirements, such as at gun shows or on the internet due to them not being registered as retailers by the government.
People under the age of 25 should not have access to guns because their brains have not fully developed, leading to more shootings. As it is, the time that you can drive, vote, bet, etc., you can also purchase a gun. In order to purchase a firearm, you “must be at least 18 years of age to purchase shotguns or rifles [...] All other firearms [...] can only be sold to people 21 and older.” (Schuster 1) People have access to some of the most deadly weapons ever created at the same time they pull out of their driveway for the first time without an adult. People with guns before they are fully mature causes many problems because they are still going through puberty, they are more prone to stress and anxiety, and they can have more irrational behavior. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, one of the nation’s top research universities, “The rational part of a teen’s brain isn’t fully developed and won’t be until age 25 or so.” (URMC 1) The fact that a person who has not fully developed has access to a weapon that should only be used in war does not bode well. All it takes is just one idea or conversation to push an underdeveloped individual over the edge and act out violently using their firearm. Having laws that grant guns to people under 25 is not advisable because “six of the nine deadliest mass shootings in the United States since 2018 were by people who were 21 or younger.” (Richtel, Thrush 1) said Glenn Thrush and Matt Richtel, who wrote the article “A Disturbing New Pattern in Mass Shootings: Young Assailants” for The New York Times. The evidence shows that because of the spike in anxiety and stress in recent years, giving individuals under 25 with access to guns is very risky. People under 25 also like to take more risks in general. Because of the way the human mind is created, when you become of age, the natural tendency to explore and do new things is put into overdrive. This, partnered with mental health issues, could cause someone to conduct a shooting out of curiosity and madness.
Congress should ban dealings of military style assault weapons and high-ammunition count magazines. “An “assault weapon” refers to a semi-automatic gun designed for military use and quick, efficient killing. Assault weapons are uniquely lethal because of their rapid rate of fire and high muzzle velocity — coupled with large-capacity magazines, which attach to an assault weapon to allow dozens of gunshots without needing to reload.” (Brady United 1) These weapons were originally created to be used in intense, close-range war combat, but were released to the public in the mid 19th century on account of the recent end of WWII. There is no modern-day use for them except to be used in the military. The public access to AR’s causes “mass shootings [...] [to be] far deadlier, and the death and injury counts of each mass shooting have been rising in recent years.” (Brady United 1) Having the public’s access to an assault style weapon terminated would greatly decrease the amount of mass shootings and the kill count per shooting. There is no scenario dire enough for an armed individual to unload 30 bullets at a high speed and to have the option to reload 30 more quickly. There is evidence that bans on assault weapons are effective. In 1994, the Federal Assault Weapons Ban (AWB) was introduced, and “for the decade that the federal assault weapons ban was in effect from 1994 to 2004, 89 people died in 12 massacres.” (Brady United 1) Just from having 1 type of gun banned from public use caused death counts to go down 70.3% over a 10 year span. The AWB alone was one of the most effective steps toward effective gun laws, but ever since it expired, the gun violence only increased. High capacity magazines should also be banned too. The partnership between assault weapons and high capacity magazines creates one of the most lethal combinations. The ability to continuously fire for extended periods of time is completely unnecessary for public gun owners. The average high-capacity magazine has around 20-30 bullets. If you were protecting yourself using an average handgun, which is much less lethal than an assault style weapon, would only take around 2-3 bullets to incapacitate, and around 4 to kill. So having the ability to shoot bullets, though they are smaller, at a much faster rate causes major gun violence issues.
The gun control laws of America are botched. Having poorly regulated laws, underaged access, and military style assault weapons partnered with high capacity mags available for public usage is not a good idea. Gun laws are an issue because too much harm is being caused by them. People everywhere in America now have to worry even more about guns. People are being hurt and becoming extremely anxious because of this. Congress needs to change this by regulating all federal laws in place. They should raise the minimum age to own a gun to 25 because the brain isn’t fully developed until then. They should tighten the reins on who can purchase a gun and should conduct more thorough background checks. They should also completely ban all dealings of military assault weapons and high capacity mags on account of their pure lethality and there being no public use for them. If this doesn’t happen, the gun violence pandemic will only worsen. More and more lives will be lost at the hands of rogue individuals with easy access to firearms. In conclusion, Congress needs to raise the age limit and strengthen the requirements of gun ownership because lives are being taken by people with too easy access to guns.
Alfonseca, Kiara. “There have been more mass shootings than days in 2023, database shows.” ABC News, abcnews.go.com/US/mass-shootings-days-2023-database-shows/story?id=96609874. Accessed 23 May 2023.
“Effects of Gun Violence | Brady.” Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, bradyunited.org/issue/effects-of-gun-violence. Accessed 23 May 2023.
“Mass Shootings | Everytown.” Everytown, everytown.org/issues/mass-shootings/#introduction. Accessed 23 May 2023.
Richtel, Matt. “Deadliest Mass Shootings Are Mostly by People 21 or Younger.” The New York Times, 2 June 2022, nytimes.com/2022/06/02/us/politics/mass-shootings-young-men-guns.html. Accessed 23 May 2023.
Schuster, Kathleen. “8 facts about gun control in the US – DW – 01/20/2020.” DW, 20 January 2020, dw.com/en/8-facts-about-gun-control-in-the-us/a-40816418. Accessed 23 May 2023.
“Understanding the Teen Brain - Health Encyclopedia - University of Rochester Medical Center.” URMC, urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=1&ContentID=3051. Accessed 23 May 2023.
“What are Assault Weapons and Large-Capacity Magazines? | Brady.” Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, bradyunited.org/fact-sheets/what-are-assault-weapons-and-high-capacity-magazines. Accessed 23 May 2023.
Yousif, Nadine. “Why number of US mass shootings has risen sharply.” BBC, 28 March 2023, bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-64377360. Accessed 23 May 2023.
Evidence shows that tougher laws could save lives. The science is increasingly clear that while some restrictive gun laws seem to reduce gun violence, other more permissive gun laws worsen it. And with more than 40,000 gun deaths a year in America, the stakes could hardly be higher.What is the thesis for gun control argument? ›
THESIS STATEMENT: Implementing stricter gun control laws will only effect law abiding citizens, stricter punishments will affect those that do not abide by the law.Why are gun control laws important? ›
While it is impossible to eliminate gun deaths entirely, stricter gun laws will ensure there are less casualties. Remember, less death is always better than more. A majority of Americans also believe we need more security around buying guns.Does the thesis statement control the essay? ›
The thesis statement is the sentence that states the main idea of a writing assignment and helps control the ideas within the paper. It is not merely a topic. It often reflects an opinion or judgment that a writer has made about a reading or personal experience.What is an example of a controlling thesis statement? ›
YOUR TOPIC + POSITION ON TOPIC = THESIS STATEMENT
Fast food causes health issues. Consuming fast food regularly leads to heart disease, diabetes, and obesity and there are lifestyle solutions to prevent these health issues. There are many things we can do to slow global warming.
A thesis statement should show exactly what your paper will be about, and will help you keep your paper to a manageable topic. For example, if you're writing a seven-to-ten page paper on hunger, you might say: World hunger has many causes and effects.