Past shootings show a need for gun control
By Veronica Rollin, Contributing Columnist
I remember a few years back on the warm spring day of April 20, 1999. The sun was shining, the flowers were blooming and in a small town in Colorado, two students were turning their pleasant high school into a bloodbath.
Of course, the Columbine High School shooting is not the only school shooting tragedy. According to www.infoplease.com, in October 1997, student Luke Woodham shot up his school in Pearl, Miss. In December of the same year, Michael Carneal opened fire in his high school in West Paducah, Kent. And, according to www.cnn.com, in Feb. 2000, a seven-year-old walked into class at Buell Elementary in Flint, Mich. and fatally shot a classmate.
In fact, according to adventurer Robert Young Pelton's The World's Most Dangerous Places, in the year 2000 alone more than 10,000 people were murdered by gunfire. Death by bullets has made America so dangerous that it is the only first world nation in Pelton's book, which is mostly filled with the likes of Chechnya.
But, despite the fact America obviously has developed the world's worst gun problem, Congress allowed the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban to expire - meaning Americans are now free to make, buy and sell these arms like toys. Take, for instance, the friendly AK-47 assault rifle, which has brought such peace to happy places like Afghanistan.
Of course, I am being completely sarcastic. America is a country where high schools have metal detectors and inner city children sleep in bathtubs to dodge constant drive-bys. Allowing assault weapons back onto the legal marketplace will only make both precautions more necessary as the murder rate rises.
What makes me so confident the murder rate will rise? Right now, according to Pelton, America has more than 220 million guns in a country of about 280 million people. That means, statistically, there are eleven guns for every fourteen Americans. Of these firearms, 65 million are handguns - a good indication they're probably not used to hunt ducks - and 3 million new more enter the market every year.
The result - gun-related murders of teenagers have shot up 30 percent in the last decade, and homicide is the second leading cause of death for American youth.
In my hometown of Sacramento, people can't even stay at nightclubs too late because of frequent shootings. In some schools, students are not allowed locker use because of guns being brought to class. Even in my own high school, students tried to steal guns from a sporting goods store so they could shoot up the campus.
Congress needs to wake up. This country has a gun problem no wealthy nation should have. If anything, we need more gun control, not less. We need fewer guns on the market, not more.
Furthermore, America needs to wake up too. The violence in the nation comes from the proliferation of guns and a pervasive, irrational gun culture. The reasons for rampant gun use are not because of Hollywood, Eminem or "The Sopranos" - they are because of Smith, Wesson, Beretta and Colt.
The Assault Weapons Ban should not only be renewed, but it should come without an expiration date because the threat will never expire. As long as there are killing machines like the AK-47 in this world, they need to be kept off our streets and out of our country.
Some might argue the ban was not necessary. Some might argue the ban violates our Second Amendment rights.
To the people who think the ban is unnecessary, I say consider the statistics stated earlier - murders occurred with the Assault Weapons Ban in the law books. If that is the kind of carnage we see with nothing worse than a shotgun available on the mainstream market, just imagine what the evening news would look like with gun shops selling Uzis.
We would long for the days of only 10,000 gun-related murders a year.
- Veronica Rollin is a political science sophomore.
- This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Daily Aztec. Send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Anonymous letters will not be printed - include your full name, major and year in school.
You call that a good article?????
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