By: Lauren Kottke & Ella Sutherland
Gun control is a big issue in the United States. It is an issue that has begun to get worse by the years. We are seeing the number of school shootings and mass shootings rise.
There are many statistics that prove the rise of gun violence. We found statistics that show that over the past couple decades, gun production, ownership and mass shootings have increased. NBC put out an article stating, from 1988 to 1992, the production of guns was at 3-4 million annually. But in 2009, that increased to 5 million. And then in 2016 it peaked to 11 million guns sold. They also stated that, in 2021 there were 61 active shooter incidents – “which the FBI describes as events in which someone is engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area”. But the previous year, there were 40 active shooter incidents.
To us and students, this issue is very important and personal to us. We see the school shootings happening around us and wonder if it would ever be us. Realistically, it is very unlikely but the fear is still there. Kids go to school everyday scared. And it seems like every time there is a school shooting, kids are the ones to fight. They are the ones to have protests and call for change. But nothing does change.
And that is because students and kids don’t have the power to change the laws. The people who control the laws and regulations on guns are congress and the states. Congress can change the laws through commerce and taxing laws. But they only have power that is enumerated in the US Constitution. So it is limited.
But the states can make regulations on guns to make them less accessible. For example, Minnesota has strict regulations on guns. If you want to buy a gun, you have to get a permit to carry a firearm, a background check, mental health screening and much more. If you have served time in jail, you cannot purchase a gun. But other states like Alabama, have less regulations on guns. There you can buy a gun without a background check or a permit. So it is up to the states what regulations should be on guns.
It’s hard to change gun control when you have no power. And most people don’t have the power to change it. The only people that can change the laws and regulations are people in the government. But people can still push for change by voicing their ideas, which could push the government to make changes. So here are some of our solutions that you can do to help support gun control.
Our first solution is to contact St. Paul’s elected representative and ask them to support and advocate for change. Demand that they advocate for effective gun violence prevention legislation. Although it might not seem like this solution can change much, it’s important to make our voices heard. So we would get our families and friends to also contact our representative. And our hope is that more people would join in and contact their representatives, starting a movement. We also hope that once enough people have contacted the representatives, change will be made. They will announce their support for effective gun control legislation, and announce a way they are willing to make change. For example by introducing a bill they could present to the governor (Note, in the recent session, Minnesota did pass more gun control laws).
Our second solution to this issue would be to write to our local paper and ask them to publish an article we wrote about gun violence. We will write an article that talks about how the legislation on guns is not enough, the number of school shootings rising, and active shooter incidents in general rising. We would also talk about how the companies that sell guns are benefiting from the rise in gun sales and how we can fix this issue. Like we said earlier, we don’t have much power to change the laws on guns, but we still have enough power to voice our opinions. And by publishing our article it would allow for more people to see our point of view. It could change the way people think about gun control. We think that because it would be students speaking, people would listen. We have our own experiences going to school during gun violence’s peak.
We hope that you take away some useful information from this article and help enact change. Whether that be talking about gun control to your friends and family, donating to gun violence organizations or contacting your local representative.
For more information you can visit:
- “6 Charts That Show the Rise of Guns in the U.S. — and People Dying from Them.” http://www.nbcnews.com/data-graphics/6-charts-show-rise-guns-us-people-dying-rcna30537.
- “Federal Powers.” Giffords, giffords.org/lawcenter/gun-laws/policy-areas/other-laws-policies/federal-powers/#:~:text=Congre ss%20can%20regulate%20firearms%20through
- “Gun Ownership by State 2020.” worldpopulationreview.com/state-rankings/gun-ownership-by-state