It is too often that the news speaks of “shootings” in the United States: school shootings, mall shootings, movie shootings… Shootings everywhere. Americans are constantly reminded that these “shootings” are a possibility where ever they are; at all times they are vulnerable. It has come to a point where movie theaters warn and encourage viewers, even young children, to report any suspicious activity; public school students are asked to go through metal detectors every time they enter the building and lockdown drills have become routine. These little precautions show that instead of trying to control and suppress this growing problem, Americans are simply adapting.
Although the United States has made an effort to increase background checks on gun owners, many wonder why the United States hasn’t simply banned gun ownership completely. The answer leads back to the American Revolution, the very beginning of the country itself. The United States is a country based on freedoms and liberties, and citizens will go to great lengths to preserve them. The idea at the time was that every citizen had the right to own a gun not only to protect himself from danger, but also from an authoritarian government. The problem is that although now there is very little risk that the United States would become a dictatorship or anything close to that, many citizens still refuse to let go of the symbolic value of owning a gun.
The problem is that it is rather easy to obtain these weapons. Those who buy them usually store them in their homes, where anyone living there can access them rather easily and background checks are not run on the acquaintances and families of gun owners. In fact, in many cases the “shooter” was not even the legal gun owner, he simply used a relative’s. Even though the knowledge of this issue is widespread, a gun ban would be very hard to pass because the right to “bear arms” is stated in the second amendment, and any such change to the Constitution would be highly disputed for many citizens would consider such an act as compromising the country as a democracy.
by Lucy J.