By KAITLYN SUTOW
For the past two decades, America has experienced a major rise in mass shootings.
On average, 100 Americans die of gun violence every day and many more are injured, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Many U.S. residents believe that gun control is the answer and argue that if citizens no longer have possession of firearms, the mass shootings will come to a stop. However, Dale Peters, Citrus Valley High School’s resource officer, believes that firearm possession cannot be controlled so easily as policy “can be amended and legislated through the courts [to make firearms]…harder to obtain, but criminals don’t abide by the laws anyway.”
Even if laws are enacted, it does not mean the problem will be fully solved. The 2016 Survey of Prison Inmates conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice revealed among the inmates that possessed a firearm during their offense, 56 percent had either stolen it, found it at the scene of the crime or obtained it from the underground market. This poses the question of how effective these new requirements will truly be in the face of underground means of obtaining firearms. Americans are still divided when it comes to implementing gun laws and criminals will always continue to illicitly obtain guns through black markets.
Officer Peters further expressed that restrictive laws on gun purchases could leave innocents defenseless while enabling dangerous criminals who have already illegally acquired firearms and therefore bypass the required background checks and mental stability tests. Enforcing more background checks is not necessarily the answer as even an individual with a clean record can act rashly at any point in time.
In a joint project with the National Institute of Justice, the research branch of the U.S. Department of Justice, the Los Angeles Times found that 16 of the 20 most deadly mass shootings in modern history occurred in the last 20 years, demonstrating that these shootings have not only become more common, but more deadly.
Infographic displaying the rise of mass shootings in recent years, particularly in the United States. (Ricardo Ramos / Ethic Photo)
The shooting in El Paso that occurred on Aug. 3, 2019, left 22 people dead and is considered one of the deadliest shootings in the United States history. The perpetrator of this horrific crime bought his gun and ammunition online from overseas sellers, which does not seem uncommon in crimes like this.
There have been 316 mass shootings so far recorded in 2019 with 11,177 gun deaths and 21,131 injuries according to the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive. This means there have been more shootings than days this year. If the pattern continues, this year will have the most shootings in history, exceeding the 346 shootings in 2016 and the 340 in 2017 in America.
With the growing rate of shootings in America, the world appears to be growing more dangerous and life for the next generations to come depends on the action taken against this epidemic now.