Let’s talk about guns


Two months into 2018, the US has already had 18 school shootings. Featured above are headlines from infamous mass shootings from the past few years.

I am a 16-year-old student journalist and I have written too many stories about mass shootings.

My name is Allie Tatoy and I am a 16-year-old student journalist for The Lambert Post. There is one topic that continuously has a need to be written about – mass shootings. It comes to a point when one must ask: when will we finally take action against preventing more shootings like these?

The US has grown notable for its mass shootings among the international community, and may be more susceptible to mass shootings due to the large amount of gun ownership. “The United States and other nations with high firearm ownership rates may be particularly susceptible to future public mass shootings, even if they are relatively peaceful or mentally healthy according to other national indicators,” says one study.

The Washington Post says that there have been 1048 victims of mass shootings since 1966, with victims ranging from babies eight months old to elderly 98 years old. These victims are spread out between 146 events classified as mass shootings (four or more people dying). Among these, an average of eight people died, which remains an average of eight people too many.

Of the 292 guns used in these events, 168 were obtained legally. Though they were obtained legally, the amount of damage they have caused may lead to the question of whether there is a problem with the American policies on gun control.

After 146 events, America has taken few preventative measures in response. One of the most notable actions taken was by the NSA in response to the Las Vegas shooting. Considering that the gunman’s use of bumps, which allow semi-automatic rifles to be used like fully-automatic rifles, had made the shooting much deadlier, the NSA began considering regulating bumps.

Still, few actions have been made in response, especially in contrast with the actions of the Australian government. After a mass shooting in 1996, the country worked together in order to further reinforce and strengthen gun regulation. In doing so, the country reduced the gun homicide rate by nearly half, as well as dropping the gun suicide rate by half. America, in comparison, has a gun homicide rate nearly 20 times that of Australia’s.

New York Times columnist, Nicholas Kristof, writes, “More Americans have died from guns in the United States since 1968 than on battlefields of all the wars in American history.” Gun reforms must be made, and American citizens agree. 90% of all Americans and almost 74% of NRA members support background checks, but elected officials have yet to act.

The US, in 2013, had the highest number of firearm homicides per 100,000 people, perhaps relating to the fact that America has the highest number of firearms per people according to a study in 2007. The US ranks highest at around 88 guns per people, as compared to the next highest of Norway with 31.3.

“The research suggests that a package of various gun law reforms is better than the sum of its parts,” says The Washington Post. The news source suggests that following Australia in its National Firearms Agreement of 1996 may be efficient, with laws including licensing and mental health requirements, the banning of certain types of guns, background checks, etc. Similar reforms occurred in Brazil and South Africa and all had positive effects. Declines in deaths and suicides related to firearms occurred, as well as the absence of mass shootings.

45 days into 2018 and the US alone marks its 18th school shooting, one of which killed two students and injured 18 more. The most recent school shooting, on February 14th, left 17 students dead when they should have been celebrating Valentine’s Day. Though many of these were suicides that didn’t injure others, it can be argued that shootings such as these have lost their shock factor as the American audience grows all too familiar with the headlines “Shooting in (blank) has taken many lives…”

So long as mass shootings remain a logical fear of the American public, articles about gun control will be there to follow them. The discussion is one that continues on the foundation that students will go to school and not go home or that people may go out one night and not return the next morning. Until the day that major action is taken, the conversation continues.

I am a 16-year-old student journalist and I still have too many more stories that need to be written about mass shootings.


The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the various authors and contributors on this student-run news site do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of Lambert High School or Forsyth County Schools.