Exactly one year ago tragedy struck in a movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado. Twelve people perished and seventy people were injured. Countless others were affected by the trauma and horror that they witnessed on that fateful day when a gunman opened fire in a packed midnight screening of “The Dar Knight Rises”.
Exactly two hundred and eighteen days since one of the most tragic mass shootings in history happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, where a gunman fatally shot twenty young children and six adult teachers.
Unfortunately just as tragic and to the amazement of many, during that time since Sandy Hook, there have been fourteen mass shootings and over 2,500 people have been killed in gun-related violence.
An immediate question is why is there so much gun violence in the United States? Are there angrier or more evil people that live in the United States? The simple answer is in the numbers. As of 2009, the United States had a population of 307 million people. Based on production data from firearm manufacturers, there are approximately 300 million firearms owned by civilians in the U.S. That was data from five years ago that has likely increased resulting in nearly every person in the United States owning a firearm, thus increasing the chances of gun related violence exponentially.
The high-profile gun control debate that consumes the United States ignites every time a tragic mass shooting arises. An unfortunate reality, but a reality nonetheless. While lawmakers often argue and bicker over a seemingly obvious solution to gun violence, more and more civilians lose their lives far too early than it had to be.
That obvious solution is to take the guns away. Is that possible? Not currently. Is that unconstitutional? Yes, as the Constitution’s Second Amendment states the Right to Bear Arms. But let’s look back at another country who dealt with the same gun violence difficulties as the U.S. and went through a terrible mass shooting tragedy back in 1996.
In 1996, Australia experienced a horrific gun massacre in Port Arthur, Tasmania when a disturbed gunman opened fired at numerous locations, ultimately killing 35 people. This happened six weeks after Conservative Prime Minister John Howard won office and decided that his only solution was to ban all automatic and semi-automatic guns in Australia. Knowing it would not be easy and that there would be tremendous backlash from gun owners, Howard also knew he had the authority of his office to do the right thing. Most importantly Howard took an unwavering position to the public and convinced them that taking the guns away would not only make their country a safer place, but he persuaded the public through compensation for giving the guns back.
Prime Minister John Howard introduces new gun control while wearing a bullet proof vest
The result, while Australia experienced 13 gun massacres in 18 years prior to 1996, after the 1996 Port Arthur Massacre, Australia has experienced 0 gun massacres and total gun related deaths is consistently under 200 versus the U.S. that experiences consistently over 10,000 gun related deaths.
Gun control is a long-standing issue in the United States and one that is rooted deep into the origin of our great country. Unfortunately the realities experienced in the 1700s to bear arms are far different than the realities Americans face today when civilians have the ability to own and use automatic and semi-automatic guns.
Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the National Rifle Association, once defended the rights to bear arms by saying that “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” Well you know what else doesn’t kill people? People without guns…
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