COLUMN: Shootings are a cause for stricter gun laws


Kyara Morales-Rodriguez, Columnist

These past few weeks, the United States has seen some of the deadliest mass shootings of the year.

On Tuesday, a gunman killed a reported 21 people at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX, with at least 19 students and two adults among the casualties.

And these were just the ones that made headlines. In May alone, the United States has seen 44 mass shootings, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

Already this year, there have been over 200 mass shootings, and we are only five months into the year.

If that isn’t a sign that we need stricter gun laws, I don’t know what is.

There is no reason anyone should have such easy access to firearms, especially military-grade weapons.

According to the National Institute of Justice, between 1966 and 2019, 77% of all mass shootings in the United States occurred with legally-obtained weapons.

On May 14, a gunman killed 10 Black shoppers and workers at Tops Friendly Market in Buffalo, NY, targeting Black people specifically while live-streaming the shooting on Twitch.

On May 15, a gunman opened fire at Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods, Calif., resulting in one killed and five injured.

These shootings happen even when the law is being followed because the problem is the law itself.

The movement toward stricter gun laws has not been uniform, with gun laws being largely
determined by the states.

Though helpful changes have been made to protect communities from gun violence, measures taken in the past have not been enough.

The U.S. needs stricter gun laws across the country, not just individual states.

In comparison to the U.S., Australia experienced its 13th mass shooting in 18 years in 1996, when a gunman killed 35 people in Port Arthur, Tasmania.

The government responded by establishing a national gun registry, imposing permit requirements, and banning all semi-automatic rifles and shotguns.

In comparison to other countries with stricter gun laws, mass shootings are disproportionately common in the United States, often happening with these legally-obtained weapons.

According to a 2018 study from the University of Sidney, there was just one mass shooting in the 22 years after stricter gun laws were put in place.

Australia is not the only country where this sort of gun reform has been passed, with countries such as the United Kingdom, Canada and Japan having strict gun laws.

What other countries have done demonstrates that the government can react quickly after a tragedy, and yet the U.S. chooses not to, appeasing those who would rather have guns than kids who make it through a full day of school without being shot dead.

No hobby, no hypothetical fear, no “right to bear arms,” nothing is worth this. Nothing is worth going to school, work, the movie theater, church, wherever, and not knowing if you will make it home safe and sound.

Kyara Morales-Rodriguez is a senior English major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]