Opinions: Gun control laws in the United States have to change

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Killian Johnson

The Highland Park community remembers the victims from July 4 through a memorial service.

Ollie Shuminas, Diversity Editor

People who attended the Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois, fled the scene in a rush after hearing numerous gunshots. Parents grabbed their children and others helped people flee to safety. A few members of the community were so shaken they did not return until days later to claim the belongings they had left behind. These people who felt safe in a town they had grown to know and love will not see it the same.

Guns being in the hands of someone ill-equipped is the reason people’s nerves are so shaken. The danger in areas such as grocery stores, schools, and more cause them to no longer see these places as safe. While the issue of gun control may be coming to people’s attention now, it has been a topic of debate since James Madison wrote the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights.

The second amendment, simplified, protects a person who owns a weapon and is not in the militia. This means that a person can use their weapons to strictly defend their property. While this may have been a revolutionary amendment for those living in 1791, the amendment is not fit for twenty-first-century America.

Security and safety have changed from 1791 to 2022. From our clothes and mannerisms, all the way to women being able to vote and members of the LGBTQIA+ community being able to get married. Why should gun laws be any different? We live in a time when people feel they have to defend themselves.

Some people in today’s society choose to buy guns to protect themselves for self-defense, hunting, and collecting. These guns, while small in size, are large in power. Guns, depending on the model, can be sold to any person who is 18 years old or older. In the U.S. a background check is not required when buying a gun from a private seller. This is an issue because, while 18 years old is a legal age to be considered an adult, it does not mean an 18-year-old can make adult decisions yet. According to the National Library of Medicine, human brains develop up until you are around 25 years old making it a big responsibility for people to make rational decisions while being under the age of development. Which can lead to an accident in a few short minutes. When it is easy to obtain guns, it is unchallenging for people to harm others and themselves.

Since 2006, there have been 504 mass shootings in the U.S., and 2,644 people have been killed. Two of the victims of the Highland Park shooting, Kevin and Irina McCarthy, had a two-year-old son. He is now an orphan due to this tragedy.

 Others who have died due to a mass shooting were kids themselves. Nineteen elementary school children and two teachers passed away in the mass shooting of Robb Elementary on May 24. These children did not get to live long enough to explore, learn, and have fun as kids should. Instead, they spent their last minutes on earth hoping to see their parents again at such a young age.

A place of learning turned into a place of worry for many students, not just that day, but every day from here on out. No one should fear getting an education or going to a parade out of fear of a mass shooting taking place. We have our amendments in place to protect us, but the second amendment does not seem to be doing its job.

 America needs all the help it can get to help revise the Second Amendment. This can happen through peaceful protests, voting during elections, and speaking up. Rather than standing by and watching more unreasonable murders, you can make a change. So step up and do your part to help reform gun control laws in America for a better future.