No known war or external aggression is currently ongoing in the world’s most advanced democracy and largest economy. However, over 12,000 lives have been lost in the United States of America within the first quarter of 2023 in gun violence. In 2022, over 40,000 people were killed by gun violence in the country. Similarly, since 2020, the number of mass shootings have exceeded 600 each year.
President Joe Biden
This growing trend makes America the country with most deaths from gun violence among the developed economies.
From mass shootings in schools, shopping malls, night clubs and other public places, to now cases of wrong people in wrong places, America has become more dangerous than many war-torn countries. Knocking on a wrong door gets you shot, getting into a wrong car gets you shot, driving into a wrong drive-way gets you killed.
It is clear that animal lives are now more respected in the country than human lives. One then wonders why the growing trend.
The answer may not be far-fetched. This is a country where there are more assault weapons in the hands of private individuals than the entire country’s military. Assault riffles are very easy to purchase/own in America as long as you’re an adult. There seem not to be enough background checks, making it possible for even those in the law enforcement radar to keep acquiring arms and ammunition.
One is tempted to ask why Animals are more protected from the hands of trigger-happy gun owners than humans. You need to be licensed to kill or hunt animals, but no license is required to shoot and kill another human being in the God’s own country. The definition of self-defense in modern day America leaves much to be desired. It makes me question the labeling of certain parts of the world as no-go-areas, or as categorized by the US Department of State (Cat 4 – Do Not Travel). Is America today safer than these countries so labelled?
This triggers the argument about gun ownership and America’s 2nd Amendment (Right to bear arms). My understanding of that provision of the constitution is to provide every American the right to own firearm for lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. What then is the need for individuals who are not serving in the military or any law enforcement to own high caliber/assault rifles? Like every other machine, whoever purchases any adorable asset would want to enjoy same. If I purchase a state-of-the-art luxury car, I’d certainly want to go on a cruise to enjoy my machine, etc. Do you then wonder why at any slightest provocation, someone or some people are shot dead? Most gun owners want to periodically test their machines.
There is simply no sense in the conservative argument that any attempt to make it more difficult for individuals to own assault weapons amounts to infringement on the rights of Americans to self-defense. You cannot so much talk about the right to life for the unborn and on the other hand deny the living same right to life. By maintaining the status-quo in the way such machine guns are acquired, you’re simply encouraging more deaths through mass shooting/killings.
It is my opinion that individuals who are not licensed hunters should have no business owning assault rifles. The sensible thing to do is ensure that only individuals aged 21 and above who are licensed to hunt animals should be allowed, after thorough background checks to purchase, own or use such rifles, and only for the purpose they are licensed. All other firearms for personal protection/self-defense should be hand guns with limited number of rounds.
Make no mistakes, if there are no assault rifles available for easy purchase, there’d almost be no cases of attacks with such caliber of guns. It is from among the good gun owners that monsters are created in times of crisis. A good person in possession of an assault rifle who suffers any mental health issue will use same gun to kill. If you would not allow sharp objects around a child for fear of injuring self and/or others around him/her, why would you allow dangerous weapons in the hands of adults who when provoked could use the weapons to harm or kill others?
From suicides to hate related mass/random shootings and acidents, America is continuously becoming a very unsafe place to live in, or even visit due to these rising cases of senseless killings by trigger-happy gun owners.
The recent legislation by congress in 2022 is not enough to combat this epidemic. Stricter gun laws are needed in the United States to reverse this ugly trend and make the once safe country, a place to admire, visit and/or live in.
Martins E. Ogbu