Gun Violence in America


Lauren Tepper, Staff Writer

Everyday in America 100 people are killed by guns and a hundred more are shot and injured. No other developed country has such a high rate of gun violence. The U.S. suffers nearly four times the rate of gun deaths as that of Switzerland, five times that of Canada, 35 times that of the United Kingdom, and 53 times that of Japan.

Gun violence shapes the lives of millions of people in America who witness it, know someone who was shot, or live in fear of the next shooting. As of November 14, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive, a total of 366 mass shootings incidents have occurred in the U.S. A New York Times article referred to current secondary school students as the “mass shooting generation” being raised with the memory of Columbine, Sandy Hook and Parkland.

The shooting last Thursday at Saugus High School left two teenagers victims. Dominic Blackwell, age 14, and Gracie Anne Muehlberger, age 15, were killed. Thousands of Santa Clarita residents gathered on Sunday evening for a candlelight vigil to honor these two students. These tragedies must stop–“For the families who had no idea that yesterday morning’s goodbye would be their last. For the mother left wondering how she didn’t know that something was seriously wrong with her son, that he would carry such hurt, anger, grief in his heart, mind, in that backpack…The scares and trauma we see on TV came to Santa Clarita yesterday. Our safe, quiet town lost that title yesterday. Now we’re just another statistic.” This tragedy is all too common on school campuses nationwide.

It’s not only these mass shootings that we must work to prevent, but also the more than 36,000 lives lost every year by guns. Death by guns is now considered a public health crisis. It has been reported that in the U.S. guns are manufactured at a rate of about 18,000 per day, with an estimated life of 400 years each. In the U.S. there are more guns than there are adults. As Elizabeth Warren stated, “We lose eight children and teenagers to gun violence every day. If a mysterious virus suddenly started killing eight of our children every day, America would mobilize teams of doctors and public health officials, We would move heaven and earth until we found a way to protect our children. But not with gun violence.”

The economic impact of gun related jobs is 33 billion dollars. The National Shooting Sports Foundation claims that the manufacture and sale of guns, ammunition, and hunting equipment create 99,820 jobs nationwide. However, the economic costs of gun violence is 174 billion dollars. The economic impact of gun violence–including criminal justice expenses, medical care, lost wages and productivity is more than five times greater than the firearms and ammunition industry’s claimed contributions to the economy.

Gun violence prevention requires comprehensive strategies so we can achieve safety in our schools and communities. We should be able to go to school, pray in houses of worship, and walk our streets without being shot. This includes sensible, “common sense” gun laws, reducing access to dangerous weapons by banning high capacity magazines, requiring universal background checks, instituting waiting periods, reinstitution the assault weapons ban, getting “weapons of war” off the streets, and holding the gun industry accountable. Also, recognizing gun violence as a critical and preventable public health problem, supporting community planning and safety plans that include prevention, intervention, and expansion of social, emotional, and mental health support.

So, what can you do right now to join the fight against gun violence? Support organizations working to reduce gun violence, contact your elected officials, educate yourself and others about gun reform, and vote because we need to change the members of the Senate to change the laws to reduce gun violence. Together we can work to end gun violence. We can’t do everything but we can do something to make a difference. Choose peace, stop gun violence.