Rory California

Gun Control

Orlando, San Bernardino, Newtown, Aurora. These places have become almost synonymous with the mass shootings that took place there. It is estimated that over 10,000 people have been killed in 2016 so far due to gun violence. We cannot let this number keep rising.

Dear Future President,

Despite the extreme partisanship that currently divides this country, there are some issues which are impossible to ignore, especially as the president. One of these pressing issues is gun control. In 2015 alone, there were 10 mass shootings. The most recent mass shooting came in June, when fifty people were killed by a gunman in an Orlando gay bar. Other memorable shootings include the 2013 Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in which twenty schoolchildren and faculty were shot and killed, and the 2012 shooting in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater where James Holmes, at the time a 24 year-old PhD student, killed twelve people and wounded seventy others.

Throughout all of these tragedies, the nation seems to have had no new legislation to prevent such horrific events from happening again. According to a study done by Center for American Progress, there is a strong correlation between stricter state gun laws and lower levels of gun violence in that state. So, why isn’t this the law of the land? Even the late Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia, a staunch conservative, wrote in 2008 that “Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited…nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.”

Many opponents of gun control would argue that any gun restriction is an attack on the right to bear arms, granted by the Second Amendment of the Constitution. But the Constitution is over 200 years old, and is intentionally vague. The Founding Fathers had no way of foreseeing how advanced the weapons of the modern age would become. Therefore, I believe it is pertinent to begin enforcing stricter gun laws in every state. High-capacity magazines, which are able to shoot 30 or even 90 rounds before the shooter has to reload, and assault weapons, are so often the instruments of mass shootings. These should not be available for civilian use; there is no conceivable reason that a civilian would need to shoot so many rounds at one time or use an assault rifle unless he or she had an express purpose to kill. Gun vendors, including online and at gun shows, must be forced to administer careful background checks to every potential buyer. These dangerous weapons do not belong in the hands of criminals, terrorists, domestic abusers, or the mentally ill.

In 2016, it is estimated that over 10,000 people have already been killed by gun violence. Please do not allow this number to keep rising throughout the years of your presidency. Take action so that fewer family members will have to mourn the loss of their loved one due to another shocking tragedy. As Americans, we are entitled to firearms, but no right is universal. There must be limits, especially on something that can do so much damage.


Rory Smith

Newbury Park High School

English 11IB period 2B

High school English IB course

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