OPINION: Guns ‘are’ the problem

Natalie Kelley, Reporter

“Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” The phrase is seen on t-shirts, bumper stickers, hats, and more places in everyday life. But, guns do kill people. Guns cause violence and destruction in America at higher levels than any other country in the world. So why? 

“The second amendment is my right as an American citizen.” The phrase is said in response to the proposal of more strict gun laws. But what happened to my right to attend school without worry? What happened to the rights of Hayward Peterson, Ruth Whiteford, Andre Mackneil, Katherine Massey, Celestine Chaney, Geraldine Talley, and Pearl Young to shop safely in a supermarket? Or the rights of John Cheng and the five others injured while attending church? Our rights of life, liberty, and personal security?

Parents of 19 children will never be able to hold their child again after the massacre in Uvalde, Texas. Nine hundred and forty-eight schools across America have been affected by the gun control epidemic since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012. Each day, at least 12 children are victims of gun violence in the United States. Another 32 are shot and injured. As a 17-year-old, my limited understanding of these statistics scare me. My fear then turns into anger towards our government officials who are more worried about holding onto power than the safety of their citizens. At some point, a line needs to be drawn where these leaders do not what their political party tells them to, but what they know they should do as a human being. If they are not capable of being empathetic to the people around them, they never should have been elected in the first place.

Fifty senators in America refuse to vote on H.R.8, which is a background check rule passed by the House two years ago. This rule has been sitting – collecting dust – for two years. Background checks are currently not required to retain a gun in America. Clearly there must be change; and I’m aware not all will agree, but when do we finally say enough and do something about it?

We are stronger together than we are alone. This issue is not Republican versus Democrat: it is human versus weapon. As the world evolves and becomes a much more dangerous place, we need to evolve with it. Maybe amendments made in 1791 should not still be relevant in 2022. Ask yourself this: if the constitution was written today, would there still be no control on firearms?

This is not the America that was promised to immigrants looking for safety and freedom. This is not the America that people 200 years ago were proud to live in. I know what America could be, but in my entire 17 years of life I have yet to see my idea of a perfect country fulfilled. I may be young and naive to think that people can simply live in peace with each other, but that is the dream. As a country built on God, and the ideology of the bible, is this what we truly want to represent? Is this death and trauma worth the pride of owning a gun? 

I am tired of the moments of silence that result in the continuation of life without a second thought. I am tired of the thoughts and prayers, because without a change in humanity of the country’s leaders, God can not help us. I am tired of politicians making promises they do not intend to keep as a rhetorical choice to gain popularity. I am tired of violence. I am tired of the desensitization to traumatic experiences. I am tired of the fear of having children because of the country I could bring them into and the violence they could experience. I am tired, angry, and defeated. 

Voices of Americans pleading for change speak like a broken record to government officials who live out of touch with reality. This is not a people problem, this is a gun control problem. Gun control in America is a problem because there is no control.