Zachary R. Connecticut

Gun Control in America

My name is Zachary Rogers, I’m a high school student in Westport, Connecticut, and I’m proud to say that I will vote in the next presidential election in 2020. One of the major issues in our country today that I believe must be dealt with by our next president is gun violence. According to the Brady campaign to end gun violence, every year, around 32,964 people die, 2,624 of which are children, by guns, yet millions of guns are sold every year in “no questions asked” transactions, 40 percent of which are done so without a Brady background check. In America, 1 out of 3 homes with kids have guns and nearly 1.7 million children live in a home with an unlocked, loaded gun. These facts truly show how much of a problem guns are. I believe that for our gun violence issues to be solved or at least diminished, we must: Ban all assault rifles, as well as have more thorough background checks and enforce current license and permit laws when buying or using a gun.

Dear Mr. Trump and Secretary Clinton,

I believe we must ban assault rifles. The Sandy Hook shooting, in which 20 children were killed, was around a half hour away from my own house. I was also horrified by the Orlando, Florida shooting, in which 49 people were killed and another 53 were injured. The assault rifles that were used created mass casualties, because of their extremely fast firing rate, incredibly dangerous ammunition and their easiness in use. In the case of the Sandy Hook shooting, the shooter Adam Lanza used an automatic rifle called the AR-15. According to Politifact, this weapon is capable of shooting as fast as the shooter pulls the trigger, which in the hands of a deeply troubled person, such as Adam Lanza, is extremely dangerous. Making assault rifles illegal would make it much harder to commit a mass shooting with multiple casualties.

The Sandy Hook and Orlando massacres highlight another flaw in our easy access to guns, lack of screening. We need to have more thorough background checks because in many cases of mass shootings, the attacker has a known history of crime or mental illness. In the case of Sandy Hook, the shooter: according to CNN, Adam Lanza, had autism, anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and suicidal disorder. And in the case of the Orlando shooting, according to ibtimes, the shooter Omar Mateen, pledged his allegiance to ISIS and apparently talked of killing people. These are two mentally unstable individuals who should not be able to get their hands on assault rifles with massive killing potential. The only way to prevent them from doing so is making background checks much more extensive and thorough. Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, a survivor of a mass shooting and a bullet wound to her head, is a powerful advocate for improving background checks and screening for mental illnesses. In an article called Fight Back Against Political Cowardice, she states, “We need a comprehensive approach: a surge in mental health services, mental health 'first aid' programs to identify and intervene in problems before it's too late, and a background check system that will stop the most dangerous among us from buying guns.” This quote was very powerful for me, hearing from a survivor of gun violence, and a legislator.

The next President will have many issues to tackle, and I believe gun reform should be at the top of the list. Our President should support a ban on all assault rifles and reform our gun laws, in order to fulfill their purpose of protecting the rights and well-being of the American people. Mr. Trump and Secretary Clinton are parents and grandparents and have loved ones they must protect. For the sake of protecting their loved ones, as well as their country, we must change gun laws.

Staples High School


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