Oakland shooting shows why America’s gun laws must be tightened


Seven people have died and several have been injured as a gunman opened fire on a school in Oakland. This will be a difficult time for family and parents as they are left to pick up the pieces. Will the government finally pay attention or will those young children die in vein?

From books to films to music, it seems like guns are a part of American society and most people feel at ease with the proliferation of guns in the country. Any person can go into a gun store or fire weapons at a gun range just like buying some groceries. The availability and normalization of guns are completely terrifying for any outsider, begging the question as to why guns in America lead to so much violence.

Just a small pull on a trigger makes it easy to kill or injure another human being. Lives are lost in a blink of an eye and a rush of passion can condemn men forever. America’s fascination with guns and weapons leads to thousands of gun-related deaths each year. According to a firearms tutorial website: “In the U.S. for 2010, there were 31,513 deaths from firearms, distributed as follows by mode of death: Suicide 19,308; Homicide 11,015; Accident 600. This makes firearms injuries one of the top ten causes of death in the U.S.”

Guns are more available in the United States than any other country in the world. Forty-two per cent of U.S. households have guns, or in other words, there are 90 guns per 100 persons in the U.S. The next closest country in guns per 100 persons is Yemen, with 61, and Canada has 31 guns per 100 persons.

I wonder what the National Rifle Association has to say on this latest murder spree. If they would finally agree to modifications in the national gun laws, the elimination of high-powered guns, limitations on certain kinds of weapons, restrictions on firearms purchasing and outlawing certain types of bullets, maybe gun owners would second these proposals to ensure the safety of all citizens.

Lamar Hankin highlights the crux of my argument with this quote: “Groups like the NRA and the GOA use fear, antipathy toward government, appeals to rugged individualism, notions of limitless personal choices, and similar propaganda to persuade Americans and their representatives that gun issues should not be dealt with objectively, based on rational public policy considerations, but should be decided based on emotion and the personal preferences of gun owners. They recognize no responsibility to the society as a whole to resolve social problems in ways that benefit society, rather than the narrow interests of gun owners.”

America needs to wake up, get up and stand up to powerful gun lobbies to secure a brighter future for tomorrow. A solution could be found by studying other countries such as Switzerland. Most men in the country are required to have guns and those who served in the military are allowed to keep their weapons. Even though there are many guns in the country, the rate of gun related deaths is no where near U.S. levels. A combination of discipline and training, gun control laws, and proper mental heath checks will protect more Americans from being killed by guns.