The Lightning Letter

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The Lightning Letter

The Lightning Letter

Private Ownership of Handguns Ought To Be Banned

An evidence-based essay on gun control

“I’m a huge supporter of the Second Amendment, but the moment you say that everyone can have a gun and that everyone should be able to roam the streets with one, you are completely negating the idea that people are cruel,” Samantha Fuentes, 18-year-old survivor of gun violence at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school, said.

On February 14, 2018, Nickolas Cruz killed 17 students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school. 

On June 12, 2016, Omar Mateen killed 49 people at Pulse nightclub. 

On December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza killed 26 people (mostly children) at Sandy Hook elementary school. 

On November 5, 2017, Devin Patrick Kelley shot and killed 26 people in a Texas church.

What do all these tragedies have in common? The guns were all legal purchases. 

That brings me to my first contention: most guns used in mass shootings are legal, therefore background checks are not enough to prevent gun violence. According to an article in The New York Times, all of the killers I just named passed their background checks and were able to purchase their guns legally. In fact, according to an NBC news article, 82% of weapons involved in mass shootings over the last three decades have been bought legally. That’s 83 mass shootings involving legal guns since 1982.

Now for my second contention: the amount of lives taken by guns overpowers the number of lives saved.

 In 2017, there were 427 mass shootings in America. In 2018, 75% of all homicides in America were caused by firearms. In 2019 there were 39.707 firearm-caused deaths in the us.23.991 of those deaths were suicides. We are nine months into 2023, and there have already been more than 29,527 reported deaths by firearms in America.

29,527 precious lives were stolen. 

29,527 mothers without a child.

29,527 futures destroyed.

I want to address two common points made by pro-gun supporters. The first one being the argument that, “guns don’t kill people; people kill people.” That ‘argument’ is technically right–guns don’t suddenly gain life and decide to shoot up schools, humans do. But guns make it a million times easier to take multiple files at once with little to no effort. Think of it like this, “Lawnmowers don’t mow lawns, people do. But if you want to mow a lot of grass in a very short period of time with very little effort or coordination, you’re going to need a lawnmower. And if you want to be brutally efficient about it, why not get a John Deere semi-automatic riding lawn mower?”

The second argument I want to address is that “guns = protection.” This argument is a very important component to keep in mind when talking about gun control. I would like to respond to that by quoting a philosopher’s article, “it’s very, very rare for mass shooters to be stopped by an armed civilian. There have been a few cases of this happening, such as when an Uber driver with a concealed carry permit potentially foiled a mass shooting in Chicago in 2015. However, in the event of a mass shooting, armed citizens could actually make the situation worse by confusing first responders and people around them about who the shooter is. In addition, gun owners are more likely to accidentally shoot a family member than they intruder”

Now for my last contention: the biggest problem with guns in America is the widespread distribution of firearms.

To quote directly from an article called, “Why Guns Should Be Banned” by the Institute for Youth and Policy, “it is clear that the main problem is the widespread distribution of guns; before moving on, it is important to refute a key argument made by pro-gun supporters: the second amendment argument. The fallback to the second amendment, which states that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,” has been a common argument of pro-gun supporters. However, how does the constitution define the type of arms that citizens have the right to? Does that include weapons such as nuclear bombs?” It isn’t enough to make it a little harder to get guns. We need to get rid of them entirely for personal use.

Banning personal handguns will save hundreds of thousands of precious lives.

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About the Contributor
Lennon Freitas
Lennon Freitas, Staff Writer
Lennon Freitas is a junior at JLHS. After moving to Nashville from California and transferring out of homeschooling, Lennon is in his third year of public school. He writes on current world events and activism in America. Freitas is very active in the James Lawson theater company and is currently the co-president of the International Thespian Society. He also is a proud NHS member. Freitas enjoys Spider-Man, Paul Dano, and Dr Pepper.
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