What Trump’s Elect Means for Civilian Gun Safety

 

Military Style Guns Become a Top Gun Choice for Shooters

Military style guns, such as the AR-15, have become a popular gun choice for mass shootings. As a result, mass shootings are more likely, resulting in more deaths amongst civilians. President-Elect Donald Trump has said he believes stricter law enforcement and expanding mental health treatment programs will help reduce these shootings, but what exactly are his plans?

 Mass Shooters Choose Semi-Automatics

AR-15’s were mass shooters’ weapon of choice in recent mass shootings such as the following:

  • Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newton, Conn in 2012, where 20 children and six adults were shot and killed
  • The Colorado Movie Theater shooting in 2012, where 12 individuals were killed
  • Umpqua Community College shooting in 2015, where 9 individuals were killed

AR-15’s make it easy for the shooter to maneuver and allows the shooter to fire 25-30 rounds in three seconds, according to The New York Times.

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Assault Weapons Continue to Contribute to Mass Shootings

A review of 62 mass shootings between 1982 and 2012 discovered that assault weapons were recovered in approximately 25 percent of them, according to Mother Jones, a leading independent news organization located in San Francisco that reports on politics, human rights, and culture. Mass shootings are not going to end until assault weapon access is unavailable to all civilians.

Trump Declares Rollback on Gun Restrictions

President-Elect Donald Trump declared in early November 2016 that he plans to rollback gun restrictions to make carrying guns legal in more places, such as military bases and schools, according to The Guardian, a British national daily newspaper.

Trump believes the U.S. law enforcement needs to become a tougher unit all around in order to reduce gun violence and end mass shootings. He believes the United States needs to become stricter with sentencing criminals and plans on re-establishing law and order by retraining the police if needed and expanding mental health treatment program options.

If Trump’s rollback on gun restrictions takes place, civilians will have easier access to guns. This will not be in the end of mass shootings, but only the beginning of more.

Sometimes Voices are Louder than Gun Shots

Education is the first step to decreasing gun deaths in the United States, said voters at Hyatt Park Elementary School in Columbia, South Carolina.

On Election Day, I asked voters’ opinions on mass shootings occurring in what we may have thought were safe havens, such as churches and malls. I also asked voters for suggestions to reduce the number of shootings, and I asked them whether they agreed with Republican Donald Trump’s or Democrat Hillary Clinton’s stances on ending gun violence.

Beth Dinndorf, the president of Columbia College, a small liberal arts college in Columbia, South Carolina, is 65 and from St. Cloud, Minnesota. She believes more attention should be paid to providing mental health treatment to those in need.

“Many perpetrators of mass shootings were diagnosed with mental health issues,” said Dinndorf. As well, she believes safe havens, such as churches, should not become places where people fear for their lives.

Shantrice Bradley, 24 and a graduate assistant, believes “Education among youth is key, as well as understanding police brutality.

Bradley pointed out a sign posted at Hyatt Elementary, that said, “No concealed weapons.”

Bradley believes restricting civilian access to military-style weapons, such as semi- automatic and automatic weapons, might reduce deaths in mass shootings.

Jamesha Shackerford, 23, and a foundation associate at a local nonprofit, in Columbia, South Carolina, believes reaching agreement on ways to reduce gun violence is the first step.

Shackerford said that Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hilary Clinton had, “decent strategies on ending gun violence individually, but putting their ideas together would be more successful.”

The key to successfully eliminating mass shootings is “more regulation of guns and providing better education and awareness,” said Savannah Nugent, 18, a student at College of Charleston, who is from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

While the four voters offered different opinions, all agreed, education about gun violence would be helpful, and all said that, mass shootings must end.

 

 

Automatic Repeating Action

I believe that semi-automatic and automatic weapons should not be allowed access to citizens in order for mass shootings to decrease.

Former President Bill Clinton signed an assault weapons ban into law in 1994; the law forbid the manufacture and sale of new guns with military features and magazines that held more than 10 rounds of bullets. However, around 1.5 million owned assault weapons were not collected from civilians who had already purchased them in the past. Unfortunately, this ban expired in 2004. Congress opted to not renew it. This is according to the The New York Times.

Mass shootings, which is known as taking the lives of at least four people in a public place, are made possible by these weapons. Over the last three decades, 82 percent of weapons involved in mass shootings have been bought legally, according to a Mother Jones database from NBC News, a division of the American broadcast network in New York City, New York.

The assault weapons ban is an example that access to assault weapons needs to be banned to civilians, not just for future purchases but those who have already bought an assault weapon. If a law passes restricting access to these military style weapons, this will not eliminate all of the assault weapons already owned by many civilians.

The Orlando nightclub shooting that occurred in June 2016 is another example of assault weapon violence. Omar Mateen, the 29 year-old accused shooter, allegedly shot and killed 50 people in a gay nightclub. Mateen allegedly used a pistol and an assault rifle, which allowed accurate fire without constant reload, according to the Washington Post, an American daily newspaper located in Washington D.C.

Since July 2015, out of eight high-profile public mass shootings, assault-rifles were used in seven, according to database on Mother Jones, an American magazine located in San Francisco that reports on politics, human rights, culture, and the environment.

Gun violence is not going to diminish overnight, but eliminating access to assault weapons such as semi-automatic and automatic will help decrease mass shootings.

Not Even the Churches are Safe

I believe that shootings occurring in safe havens, such as churches, prove that no place is free from danger.

Since 2011, the number of mass shootings in the United States has tripled from 172 to a startling 372 in 2015, according to Mother Jones, a nonprofit news organization created in San Francisco.

On the night of June 17th 2015, the Charleston S.C. shooting occurred. The accused shooter, 21 year-old Dylann Roof, entered the Emanuel Methodist Episcopal Church, located in downtown Charleston. Roof first attended the Bible study with thirteen other members of the church before firing at nine African American members. He used a .45-caliber pistol, which was able to access due to an error in the FBI’s system, according to the New York Times, an American daily newspaper, founded and located in New York City since 1851.

In February 2015, five months before the shooting, Roof was arrested in Columbia, S.C. for drug possession. Then, in mid-April, he applied for a handgun at the S.C. gun store, which submitted his information for a background check. An error occurred in Roof’s criminal record sheet, which mistakenly showed in the FBI’s system that he was possibly arrested in West, Columbia S.C., instead of Lexington S.C. West Columbia’s report did not show any arrests on Roof’s record, so the investigation process was delayed for three days.

Since the FBI did not revoke his gun privileges in time, after three days, he was able to obtain the gun, which then used in the shooting, according to NBC News, a division of the American broadcast network NBC that is located and founded in New York City, NY since 1940.

The semi-automatic handgun that the accused, Roof used required reloading, but made it convenient for him to maintain gunfire due to the accuracy and speed of the gun. Not only was it shocking to our country that gun violence occurred in a church, but especially in Charleston, known as the “Holy City”. I have relatives from Charleston who do not live far from the downtown area where the shooting occurred and this tragedy makes me even more concerned for their safety. I visit Charleston often; in fact I have passed by this church. It breaks my heart every time to think about the lives lost from this hate crime.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Civilian Safety

Semi-automatic and automatic weapons are intended for use on the military battlefield, not our churches, schools, and shopping centers.

Since 1986 when the United States banned the sale of military machine guns to civilians, similar versions of these military-style guns have been provided. Semi-automatic weapons became an identical alternative for military-style machine guns in the way they are physically designed and operate. They are known to be just as harmful if not more destructive than military-style guns. This comes from Violence Policy Center , an American nonprofit organization that advocates for gun control and against gun violence, founded in 1988 and located in Washington D.C.

Semi-automatic firearms, which after firing one round, automatically reloads and is ready for the trigger to be pulled again, accounts for around 20% of privately owned firearms in the United States. This percentage is continuing to rise each year as more civilians are purchasing these guns. This is according to NRA-ILA, an Institute for Legislative Action, established in 1975 in Fairfax, Virginia. The NRA-ILA institute is dedicated to preserving the right of citizens to purchase and use firearms.

In places outside of the United States, such as Britain, England, there were around 8,583 murders caused by firearms in 2015. This number comes from The Trace, an independent, nonprofit, and nonpartisan news organization committed to expanding public understanding of gun violence in the United States.

The U.S. has higher than five times the number of firearm deaths as the top Western European nation. In comparison to the U.S. with 3.55, Portugal has 0.66 deaths per 100,000 people, according to National Public Radio, a privately and publicly funded non-profit membership media organization founded in 1970 and located in Washington, D.C.

The access Civilians have through purchasing these weapons, specifically semi-automatic and automatic, are only going to continue to contribute to more mass shootings in America. We need to restrict access to such firearms in order to help put a stop to the violence once and for all.

Shots Fired

As quickly as it takes for a shooter to release the trigger of a semi automatic and automatic gun, a life can end. These weapons of mass destruction were responsible for 372 large- scale shootings in the United States in 2015. This comes from PBS News Hour, an American television program website for daily news that began in 2009 in Virginia.

The fastest bullets travel around 1,800 miles per hour and more than 2,600 feet per second according to WonderPolis, one of the most favored educational sites created by National Center for Families Learning in 2010. At this rapid speed, it is impossible to outrun or dodge the bullets.

Americans own an estimated 270 million and 114,000,000 privately owned handguns. On December 2015, approximately 13,000 people were killed in the United States in an unintentional shooting, gun homicide, suicide, or murder according to GunPolicy, which is hosted by Sydney School of Public Health from the University of Sydney. According to New York Times, an American Daily Newspaper founded in published in New York City since 1851, in countries such as Germany, being murdered with a gun is almost as unusual as being killed by a falling object in the United States.

The 2016 Orlando, Florida shooting is a current example of a tragedy due to repeating weapons. Omar Mateen, a twenty-nine year old American man, killed forty-nine individuals attending a gay nightclub. This specific shooting is known as one of the deadliest mass shootings since the terrorist attack on 9/11. Mateen was able to effortlessly shoot multiple people at once with two assault weapons. Mateen used a pistol and assault-rifle, which allowed him to conveniently fire bullets at multiple people.

Tragedies such as the one I previously described, are examples as to why I am passionate about terminating the access of repeating rifles. Either we eliminate these mass shootings caused from repeating rifles and guns able to fire multiple bullets at once, or more lives will continue to be eliminated.