Mass shootings seem to be an increasing topic for news coverage. More and more mass shootings are reported on every day. According to Reddit.com’s mass shooting database, there have been 110 mass shootings across the United States in the first 6 months of 2014. That is certainly an alarming number.
In fact, the United States is number one on the entire planet for gun crimes. This is definitely not something that most Americans would be proud of. The United States has a long history of unnecessary gun violence, particularly the variety that takes place within schools. The first documented mass school shooting took place in a school in 1764 in Greencastle, Pennsylvania. Ten students and one teacher were killed.
An Unprecedented Increase
The number of mass shootings does seem to be increasing at an unprecedented rate. This has caused both gun rights and gun control activists to speak their beliefs loudly in very public forums, lobbying for what they believe is right for the country.
Gun rights activists cite their Second Amendment rights to bear arms as their primary reason for being allowed to own such dangerous weapons. They claim that the world is a safer place because criminals think there is a chance their victims are armed. They also believe that they would be able to better defend themselves and their families.
A popular gun rights activist, Charles C. Johnson takes to social media to “expose” the classification system that determines whether or not gun violence should be classified as a mass shooting. He believes that the classification of the term “mass shooting” lies with intent. If a shooter killed a bunch of students at a school, but it wasn’t planned in advance, Johnson believes that statisticians shouldn’t include this shooting as a “mass shooting.” Johnson even goes as far to label certain shootings as “fake shootings” on his Twitter feed.
Gun Control Activists
Gun control activists aren’t concerned with the particular classification of mass shootings, however. They just want to limit the amount of gun violence that happens in the United States. They see restricting the sale and possession of firearms as a way to do this. They cite scientific and historical data that links lower rates of gun ownership with lower rates of gun violence.
Gun rights activists like to rebut this fact with Switzerland’s rates of gun violence and gun ownership. Social conditions that promote responsible gun ownership are prevalent in Switzerland, but not in the United States.
Both groups believe it is up to the United States government to either preserve their constitutional right to bear arms or to protect the safety of the general public. As incidents of gun violence occur, particularly incidents with many, many deaths, legislators and lobbyists work to define what is right for Americans in terms of gun ownership.
The End Is Not In Sight
The sale of guns, and to whom, is a primary discussion of the debate from both sides. Gun control activists are concerned that irresponsible gun owners are allowed to purchase guns because of the lax regulation around buying guns. If unstable gun owners are allowed to buy guns, as in the case of the Colorado movie theater shooting, mass gun shooting violence is likely to occur.
It is acknowledged even by gun rights activists that who is able to own guns is important. If gun ownership was illegal in the United States, criminals would just get guns from a black market alternative. If this is the case, only criminals and law enforcement professionals would have access to guns, leaving homeowners powerless to protect themselves and their property. This is especially true, since criminals would know homeowners couldn’t have guns legally.