On July 12 2012, James Eagan Holmes walked in to a cinema dressed in tactical clothing, armed with tear-gas grenades and several firearms he killed twelve people and injured fifty-eight.
On December 14 2012, twenty-year old Adam Lanza walked in to Sandy Hook elementary school and killed 20 children and 6 adults armed with combat gear using semi-automatic guns.
In Australia, a mass shooting occurred at the popular tourist site Port Arthur leaving 35 people dead and 23 injured. Two weeks after the incident, at May 12 1996 the Australian government reviewed their gun control laws, and made it much harder for a private person to get a gun. There hasn’t been a mass shooting since.
I’ve chosen to write about gun control. In many states in the U.S all you have to do to get a gun is go to a gun store, pick your gun and write some papers. Gun control is a huge political question in the U.S, especially now when many school shootings and other public shootings has taken place in USA. Under 2011 in the U.S has more than 12.000 people been killed by firearms. And in whole America it’s an average of 82 people per day killed by guns.
Guns have a big role in USA’s history, the gunfight at O.K Corral and the story of Jesse James are stories that almost every American is familiar with. Hunting and target shooting is very popular in the U.S, and somehow it seems like almost everyone have some sort of relation to guns whether it’s about using it for hunting, target shooting or self-defense. That’s where I think the problem lies; it’s so many people who are attached to their guns so it’s becoming very hard to convince people that guns causes problems more than doing any good.
Already for over a hundred and fifty years ago guns was becoming a huge part of the American people’s lives. Revolvers and rifles in general are very associated with the Wild West. Back then guns were something everyone owned, as much as you needed a horse for transport or a house to live in you needed a gun to protect yourself and your family with. One of the biggest role models for kids born in 80’s and 90’s was probably Clint Eastwood. Can you find a cooler guy then him? I remember watching the movie “A fistful of dollars” when I was about 8 years old. The starting scene when Eastwood, outnumbered by seven men are doomed to be killed. But still manage to kill them all by shooting through he’s pocket instead of drawing the gun. For real, who did not wanted to be like him? I had an own cowboy hat and a plastic gun to play with and the trip to High Chaparral in Småland was the coolest thing I’d ever been to. But here’s the difference, I had a plastic gun to play with. Sure, I don’t think that the American kids play with reals guns at the age of eight, but many fathers probably take their kids with them to go hunt or shoot at a shooting range. And right there you built a relation to guns.
An often used argument for those who want to keep the gun laws as they are, is “Guns save lives”. But if you think about it, sure at some cases maybe guns can be used as self-protection, but if the gun-laws had been stricter it wouldn’t be necessary to own a gun at all. Looking at statistics, 0, 5 percent out of five thousand people had used guns for self-defense over the past 10 years.
After the killings in Sandy-Hook elementary school politicians proposed a new way to stop these kinds of things to happen. Instead of making stricter gun laws, they’d like to arm the teachers with guns. The republican politician Louie Gohmert wrote on twitter after the shootings in Sandy Hook, "I wish to God she had had an m-4 in her office, locked up so when she heard gunfire, she pulls it out ... and takes him out and takes his head off before he can kill those precious kids,". So basically their way of stopping these things from happen is to arm all the teachers in U.S with semi-automatic weapons.
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