After I woke up on Sunday morning, I made the colossal mistake of checking Facebook before leaving my bed or drinking even a drop of coffee.
As I scrolled through my newsfeed, my eyes wandered onto a post that read: “Killers don’t need guns to kill people. Timothy McVeigh used fertilizer. 9-11 terrorists used box cutters and planes. The Nazis used cyanide gas…taking guns from innocent people will not protect innocent people. The problem is not guns. It is a Godless society.”
Once I got a very strong cup of coffee into my system, I returned to the post and began formulating coherent thoughts about it.
It’s true; killers do not necessarily need guns to kill people. We’re all aware of the age-old argument, “guns don’t kill people; people kill people.” This is not technically wrong. However, there is still clearly a problem, considering there have been 45 shootings at schools and colleges in America since the start of 2015, according to Newsweek. When one considers the days that have had multiple incidents—namely, Feb. 15, April 2 and Aug. 8—that means that 15 percent of days this year have been plagued by shootings at schools alone.
Doesn’t that make you sick?
Then, taking into account all mass shootings involving four or more people nationwide, there have been 297 shootings this year as of Friday, Oct. 2, 2015.
Returning to the subject of the aforementioned post, the incidents described in comparison to gun deaths all pertain to acts of terrorism. During his statement to the country on Thursday, Oct. 1 in light of the shooting in Oregon, President Barack Obama asked news outlets to take on the task of comparing gun deaths to those associated with acts of terrorism in the last 10 years.
CNN reports that there were over 406,000 gun deaths—accounting for homicides, suicides and accidents—in the U.S. from 2001 to 2013; this figure does not account for those injured as a result of gun violence. In the same span of time, there were just under 3,400 U.S. citizen deaths due to domestic and overseas acts of terrorism.
While 3,400 deaths is still far too much, it absolutely pales in comparison to the number of gun deaths this country has seen in 12 years.
Additionally, acts of terrorism have generally been decreasing since 2001; although 2004 and 2005 saw a combined number of 130 deaths, other years have seen fewer than 40. Meanwhile, there have more than 10,000 gun deaths resulting from homicide alone each year since 2001.
With that statistic in mind, don’t you dare tell me America doesn’t have a gun problem.
I’m not saying we should take everyone’s guns away or prevent people from owning them. My parents are hunters, so I was raised around firearms and learned how to use them responsibly. I have other family members and friends who collect guns for hunting or for show. Short of high capacity magazines and AK-47s, I’m well aware of the fact that guns can be owned and used without harm to others.
But let’s be real. If you aren’t willing to be subject to a background check or a mental health evaluation, or if you don’t want to register your weapon, you probably shouldn’t be in possession of a gun.
I acknowledge that stricter gun control laws won’t prevent all gun deaths, but considering we have 10,000 gun homicides each year, something must be done.
There is no excuse at this point.
I wrote a column on this subject in the April 16, 2013 issue of The Carroll News when I was still the Assistant World News Editor. Frankly, I’m disgusted nothing has changed since.