Snakes, spiders, and what is under the bed have become cold black metal, the piercing bang, and the L-shaped silhouette. Children’s fears used to be irrational, made up monsters, but our reality has become more terrifying than any made up world. This is due to the gun violence overtaking our country. In America, about 4,380 children die each year in school shootings alone. While that number is extremely high, it still can not express the gravity of the situation. America is facing a gun epidemic and the only solution is to regulate and restrict guns.

Oftentimes the argument in favor of less regulations for guns is that owning one provides self defense. Yet this is a short sighted solution that only deepens the problem. If someone was acting violent with a gun, getting one yourself does not change that fact that someone is violent with a gun, all it does is increase the amount of firearms in people’s hands. A true solution would be increased restriction so that the original, violent person does not have a gun, eliminating the need for defense. Not to mention keeping a gun in your house increases the risk of suicides or accidental deaths, doing the oppostie of the intented. 

Image courtesy of Elizabeth Léka

The Sandy Hook Promise foundation, a corporation that specializes in school shooting research, explains that guns are the leading cause of death among American children and teens. About one out of 10 gun deaths are of the age of 19 or younger. These deaths are not exclusively happening in school shootings. An estimated 4.6 million American children live in a home where at least one gun is kept loaded with the safety off. These incorrectly stored firearms have played a part in suicides, suicide attempts, and the deaths of family members, including young children and newborns. 

On June 25th, 2022, Joe Biden signed into law the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the first major gun safety law in decades. This law focused on funding for school safety and state crisis intervention programs, while not banning any weapons. Part of this law gave funding to Red flag laws that allow courts to seize firearms from anyone believed to be a danger. The law also funded other preventative sactics, but did not ban any firearms. While preventative measures are important and have the potential to save many lives, laws that address the actual issue, guns, need to be made. Not making laws that restrict gun manufacturers, ammunition being sold, or on types of guns that are allowed to be on the market is naive. Large scale shootings will only continue to increase in frequency.

Additionally, these large-scale shootings have an effect on entire communities. Vicarious trauma also results from watching these catastrophes play out in the media. Stories of children getting shot in their classrooms, neighborhoods, and places of worship can have an especially negative impact on children and young people. Nearly 300,000 students have been on campus during a school shooting and countless others have suffered trauma in the wake of shootings. Both victims and survivors of gun violence can find support at nctcn.org.

With hundreds of arguments around pro-gun rights or pro-gun control, the bottom line gets lost: children are dying and we are not doing enough to save them. Letting more people buy guns for their defense only lets more people buy guns for violence. You can not fight fire with fire, hate with hate, or guns with guns. Regulations must be placed and restrictions must be enacted or we could become one of the 4,380.

Olivia Miller

Feature Editor