Michaela O. New York

Are Guns Controlling Us?

With the amount of gun violence on the rise, it is important that we make an effort to protect our citizens.

Dear President:

My name is Michaela and I am a student at Sanford H. Calhoun High School. The issue I would like to address is the alarming amount of gun violence that occurs in the U.S. everyday. This is a topic that is very important to me because as mass shootings become more and more commonplace, the safety of my family and I, especially those of us that are students, is repetitively called into question.

I feel that one of the main causes of this problem is the perpetuation of the myth that guns can successfully be used as a defense against criminals. As mentioned in the article, “The Myth Behind Defensive Gun Ownership,” a popular statistic, ‘in the U.S. there is between 1 million and 2.5 million defensive gun uses per year’, is based on an entirely faulty survey. This statistic in no way properly represents the actual number of defensive gun uses per year but yet many pro-gun campaigns swear by this statement. It should be noted that the 1 million to 2.5 million estimate would be actually impossible to achieve in the United States. For example, the provided number would mean that gun owners would have to protect themselves over 100% of the time, which is not only not likely but it is quite literally mathematically impossible. The article also gives a rundown of many relatively recent incidents of innocent people dying violent deaths at the hands of trigger happy “defensive” gun owners. These tragic deaths, as well as the thousands that were not mentioned, could have been prevented. In fact, according to “How Would You Reduce Gun Violence” by KQED Education, over 30,000 people in the U.S. alone are killed by firearms each year. This is an astounding amount compared to other countries. In accordance with the article “Guns in the US: The statistics behind the violence” by the BBC, in 2012, the number of gun murders per capital was about 30 times higher in the U.S. than the U.K..

This is an issue that not only affects the victims of these violent crimes but it also affects all of those who knew that person. The lack of gun control also creates a state of paranoia and fear which just feeds into the problem by leading people to believe that the only way to combat gun violence is with owning a gun for “defensive purposes.” Elementary school aged children are now being taught drills during which they learn how to act if a gunman attacks their school. These children are still learning the basics of reading and writing and now they have to deal with the very mature concept of armed shooter procedures. The mental effect of being faced with the idea of mortality at a mere 6 years old could have permanent effects on this child’s outlook on the world.

There are several years worth of backtracking that need to happen. All it takes to make a difference is enforcing stricter laws. As the president, you have the the title of Chief Legislator. This means that you possess the ability to help push bills through congress. This could include more thorough background checks, longer waiting periods, more regulation on gun shows and internet sales, and banning assault weapons. In addition, as Chief Guardian of the Economy it is important that the economy remains stable after a huge source of income, firearms, is removed from the equation. These suggestions are just the beginning of a very long list of reforms that could decrease the amount of gun violence in the U.S.

I believe, as well as you should, that it is important for the people’s voice to be heard, I am one of the ‘people’. Thank you for taking your time to read my letter and I appreciate your support in advance.



Sanford H. Calhoun H.S.

Ms. Finneran's U.S. History Class

Although the news on all the problems in the country can be depressing these days, the ideas of the students in my first period U.S. History class fill me with hope and optimism every morning. I love starting my day with them! They are a group of young people with passionate ideas and concern about the future. I am excited that they have this platform to share their ideas with you and hopefully our next president!

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