Tamara J. Pennsylvania

Gun Violence in Our Neighborhoods

How gun violence affects communities everywhere, and what we can do to improve it.

Dear Next President,

My name is Tamara Josey and I am a young adult living in Philadelphia. The neighborhoods in Philadelphia have become more fatal over the years. Gun control and gun violence affects communities and everyone in it in a negative way. People should be able to feel safe to walk around freely. I remember the time my neighbor told me he got a gun because he never knows what’s going to happen when he leaves the porch. The look in his eyes stood out to me the most. He looked worried and scared. No one should have to feel that way. This is why it is important that we change gun laws and uses in the community.

It is everyone’s right to bear arms as stated in the second Amendment but we can develop different methods of using this amendment in a positive way. In the United States we have laws put in place so that firearms can be regulated and safe. Many of these rules are broken or dismissed by society, making communities all over more dangerous. Studies have shown that the leading cause of death for teens ages 15 to 19 is gun related homicide (www.naacp.org). Black teens are 8 times more likely and 2.5 times more likely to be killed in gun related homicides than whites or hispanics (www.naacp.org). Research has exposed that half of American gun deaths are black men.

Although African- American gun related deaths are significant in the U.S., this country should be a safe place for all Americans. From 2005-2015 more than 300,000 Americans have been killed by gun violence. Only 71 Americans have been killed by terrorist attacks. This means that we are more deleterious to ourselves than “terrorists” (www.thetrace.org). In the past year (2015) more than 12,000 people have been killed with guns, at least 756 were children. The United States produces firearms at alarming rates. With 10,844,792 firearms manufactured every year we are one of the most armed nations in the world. About 41% of households admit to owning one or more firearms, meaning gun sales are increasing (www.statista.com).

When given these stats and numbers solving gun violence can seem impractical but we have the power to take control of gun violence and keep our communities safe. We can start with essential training and proper licensing. Gun owners should be required to refresh their training and renew their license to carry routinely, much like renewing a driver’s license. Another key to making our streets safe again is to remove all the heavy artillery that’s used for war. These kinds of weapons should be in the hands of our military, not on the streets, in our schools, or in our homes. Mental health screenings should be mandatory when trying to purchase a firearm. In many cases, like the school shooting at Sandy Hook, the gunman was diagnosed with a mental illness. The mentally ill should have to go through different types of procedures to access a gun. With these precautions we can decreases gun violence and make the communities we live in safer for everyone.