November 3, 2016
Dear Madam or Mr. President:
I believe that allowing guns in schools would be a serious mistake. By permitting guns in and even around schools and colleges, students’ lives are put at risk every single day. Who knows if one day a shooter will decide to strike? How would you feel if you had to send your child to school each and every day when there is a possibility of a school shooting? Although many states have already taken steps to ban guns in schools, school zones, and even college campuses, some still argue that it is a good thing to allow firearms. Out of all fifty states, thirty-nine prohibit even licensed individuals from carrying a gun. Only twenty states restrict the owning of firearms on college campuses. This causes quite the risk for any school that allows guns and also puts its students in danger of a shooting. Banning firearms in school zones all around the country would greatly improve the safety of students.
Some organizations, such as the Bipartisan Working Group on Youth Violence, say that schools are extremely safe places for children to be. After all, in 2010, a report based off of a five-year study conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on school violence stated that only 3.3% of shootings take place in schools. While that is a small percentage, some of the people involved still had their lives taken away from them during a school shooting; isn’t that enough to consider banning guns in school? Not only this, but in 2006, two school shootings occurred in just one week. Since then, the numbers have risen even more. Finally, if you look at the number of students killed by gunfire in America in 2006, what you find is astounding. In just one year, 3,184 children were killed through the use of a gun. While not all of those deaths were a result of a school shooting, a portion of the fatalities can still be attributed to the shootings. By enforcing the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990 that bans unauthorized personnel from carrying guns in school zones, all of these statistics for fatalities due to gunfire would decrease. Wouldn’t that be worth it if it meant saving the lives of children?
Not only do school shootings affect students in grade school, but it can also have an impact on those in college as well. During the college years, binge drinking and illegal drug use peak. In fact, according to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, almost half of the college students in America, or 2.7 million out of 5.4 million students, excessively drink or misuse drugs at least once every month. When guns are added into the equation, this number increases by almost two-thirds. This rise in drug and alcohol intake paves the way for even more school violence on college campuses. By prohibiting the ownership of guns on all college campuses, the number of students that abuse drugs and alcohol would decrease, overall improving the mental and physical health of our nation’s students.
The final reason as to why guns should be banned in schools and colleges is that by allowing firearms on campus, accidental shootings become much more prevalent. Many opponents of gun control argue that the banning of guns from schools and the implementation of the Gun-Free School Zones Act pose a risk to one’s safety in the occasion that someone might need a firearm for self-defense. While this is true in many cases, studies show that, if you own a gun, it is four times more likely to be used in an accidental shooting than in self-defense. Not only this, but another study conducted by the General Accounting Office showed that 23% of unintentional firearm fatalities happened because the shooter was not aware that the gun was loaded. When all of these things are considered, it is easier to see why having a gun in a school, most specifically on a college campus, can lead to many shootings, even if they aren’t intentional.
By looking at all of these factors, it is not hard to see why permitting guns in a school can wreak such havoc on its students and other occupants. It can cause many deaths and injuries, an increase in binge drinking and drug misuse, and even accidental shootings. There are many ways to go about this problem, one of which being the introduction of the Gun-Free School Zones Act into all schools and colleges around the country. This would cause a great decrease in the amount of shootings that occur in schools, as guns would not even be allowed to enter the area in the first place. All in all, there is one simple statement that I would like to leave you with: If guns were not allowed in schools, think about all of the lives that we could save in our nation.
Alters, Sandra M. "Guns and Youth." Gun Control: Restricting Rights or Protecting People? 2011 ed. Detroit: Gale, 2011. N. pag. Information Plus Reference Ser. Student Resources in Context. Web. 4 Nov. 2016.
Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. "Gun-Free Zone Laws Prevent Gun Crime at Schools." No Gun Left Behind: The Gun Lobby's Campaign to Push Guns into Colleges and Schools. Washington, DC: Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, 2007. N. pag. Rpt. in Guns and Crime. Ed. Tamara L. Roleff. San Diego: Greenhaven, 2000. At Issue. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 4 Nov. 2016.
Cottrol, Robert J. "Gun Control Poses a Threat to Self-Defense." How Can Gun Violence Be Reduced? Ed. Laura K. Egendorf. San Diego: Greenhaven, 2002. At Issue. Rpt. of "Gun Control Is Racist, Sexist, and Classist." American Enterprise 1999: n. pag. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 4 Nov. 2016.