Civics For Change: Gun Control
Guns are the leading cause of death for young people in the United States. As of May 4th, there have been 193 mass shootings, more than one a day, so far this year. I’m 22 years old and am too young to remember where I was on September 11, 2001, but I remember the exact moment our classroom learned of the shooting in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, the same way I hear older generations recall 9/11. In the 24 years since the school shooting in Columbine, the 11 since Sandy Hook, and the five since Parkland, our nation still has yet to adequately address its gun problem and its impact on our youth.
A poll conducted last year by AGF partner March For Our Lives found that over half of young voters worry about their personal safety from gun violence. This issue is as widespread as it is complex. In the United States, there are more gun shops than McDonald’s and Starbucks locations. With the right to own guns written into the U.S. Constitution and the National Rifle Association lobbying against gun control legislation, progress to prevent more tragedy has been slow.
The Second Amendment, protecting Americans’ right to bear arms, was written during a time in which it took roughly thirty seconds to reload a rifle. Modern weapons are designed with a capacity that gives way to modern mass shootings, like the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting where sixty lives were taken in less than ten minutes and hundreds more were injured.
The Pew Research Center found that over half of Americans favor stricter legislation surrounding gun ownership. Following the first mass shooting in recent decades in the United Kingdom, Australia, Norway, and New Zealand, each country took measures to protect their citizens from gun violence. The United States is alone in the severity of its gun problem, and it’s up to those in power today to ensure safety and peace of mind for generations to come.
Thoughts and prayers alone cannot protect young lives or bring back all the lives we have lost to gun violence. To take action, support and stay up to date with organizations like March For Our Lives, Everytown For Gun Safety, Sandy Hook Promise, and Moms Demand Action and stay tuned for upcoming blogs on other issues young people care about.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mia Matthews is the Program and Communications Manager at The Andrew Goodman Foundation. In her position, she works with student leaders and in communications surrounding their work. She currently lives in Orlando, Florida.