Star C. Oregon

Gun Control

Gun control is a growing problem in America with increasing cases of mass shootings, we need more control and background checks in our country to ensure the safety of everyone.

Dear Future President,

Gun control has been a big topic in recent years, especially with all of the shootings that have occurred in our country. Shootings in schools, at protests, even by police. In this society, where you can buy a gun at Walmart, don’t you think there might be something wrong? People say that it’s our right to bear arms, that it’s in the Constitution. Well, why is it even in the Constitution if it justifies violence and murder? People say “we need them for protection,” but protection against what, guns? There has to be a better way to handle this problem, because right now the solution seems to be fighting fire with fire.

The Second Amendment states “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” During early American History, all men between the ages of sixteen and sixty were required to be a part of their local militia. Nearly everyone owned a gun and those who did not own or use a gun were required by law to pay a small fee toward their local militia. Also, when the Second Amendment was written, “arms” meant any weapon, including guns, but not limited to it. The Founding generation believed that governments are likely to use soldiers to oppress the people. The solution was to raise armies of full-time soldiers to fight foreign enemies, and rely on a militia consisting of civilians who supplied their own weapons and who weren’t paid to fight small battles and handle emergencies within their control.

The Second Amendment was written in a different time, a time when invasions and small battles over land were inevitable. In this modern society, where security is everywhere and for the most part people aren’t fighting over land every other day, I’d like to think that guns shouldn’t have to be a part of our everyday lives. People take the Second Amendment and twist it to “prove” that we have the right to hurt people if we think they’re going to hurt us. I’m not saying that self-defense is bad or that we shouldn’t use it when necessary, but I am saying that sometimes people’s intent can skewed, and innocent people can be hurt in response to someone else’s ignorance.

You can buy guns from hundreds of different stores, from chains to local shops to gun shows, and a background check can only take a couple of minutes. Background checks are only required for in store purchases, and these ask simple questions like your date of birth, race, and it is optional to provide your social security number. Background checks also asks questions such as “Have you ever been convicted of a felony?” and “Have you ever been committed to a mental institution?” The store follows this simple inquiry a background check on the person through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). It checks for any crimes committed with sentences lasting longer than two years, or if they’re been declared “mentally defective” then they won’t pass. But denials are sparse and only occur 1% of the time, while 100 million checks have been made in the last decade. Ninety-nine million people were able to buy a gun. And people don’t even have to get a background check at a gun show, meaning anyone who wants to can buy a gun and use it however they intend to, even if that includes hurting other people.

I’ve heard the thoughts and opinions of those against gun regulation and they don't seem to be well thought out. Things have been said such as, “If someone comes into a mall with a gun, a citizen could shoot them and save others lives.” What’s the solution there, bring a gun with you every time you leave the house? Live in fear of “terrorists” every day because we don’t have a gun on our person 24/7? Plenty of people live their lives without a gun, and they live long and fulfilling lives. Guns both provide a false sense of security and are for the most part unnecessary. As a country we don’t need less gun control, we need more. I’m sure we can all can name off countless times people have died because of lack of gun control. In 2015 alone there were 372 mass shootings in which 475 people were killed and 1,870 people were injured, as well as 64 school shootings.

To the argument that says “they’re criminals, they’ll find a gun anyway,” I don’t believe they’re thinking through the reasons behind hurting other people. It doesn’t come from people believing they’re bad and want to hurt people, it comes from the people that aren’t stable. They’re sad and confused, and can’t judge what’s right from wrong. The fact that often the shooter ends up killing themselves in the process proves that they aren’t in a strong state of mind. The truth is, when you give someone power you give them the ability to do something great or something horrible. When you give someone a gun, they can choose to use it for self-defense or they can choose to use it to hurt people. I believe that guns shouldn’t be in homes, and they shouldn’t be on the market all together. No person should have the power to take another person's life so easily. But I know that’s a battle I’ll never win. You can’t ban guns from every person, I’m aware of that, but I do think there’s a compromise in there that can lower the risk of gun violence and gun related deaths.

After the horrible shooting that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2013, that ended in the death of 26 children, President Barack Obama tried to get rid of the gun show loophole and require actual background checks at gun shows, but Congress didn’t pass it. I ask you as the leader of our country to please at least consider the lasting effect gun violence has on our country. Please, don’t ignore the current problem and believe that “everything’s okay” and that we need less gun control to feel secure, because all that is is a false sense of security that will for the most part lead to more violence in our country. One case where someone happened to have a gun and save people by shooting the attacker does not cancel out the hundreds of deaths that have happened because of lack of gun control. What are you going to do to enforce gun control in this country? How are you going to lower the number of mass shootings? How do you plan to get rid of gun related injuries and deaths? These are the issues I hope you look into as our next president.

Star Coltrin


Guns, Hundreds Of Stores Sell. "This Is How Easy It Is to Buy Guns in America." CNNMoney. Cable

News Network, n.d. Web. 01 Nov. 2016.

News, BBC. "Guns in the US: The Statistics behind the Violence." BBC News. N.p., n.d. Web. 01

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Winkler, By Nelson Lund and Adam. "Amendment II Right to Bear Arms."National Constitution

Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Nov. 2016.

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10th,11th, and 12th grade students at Jefferson HS in Portland Oregon.

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