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The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

OPINION: People before politics: The case for gun control

OPINION%3A+People+before+politics%3A+The+case+for+gun+control
Julia Fusco

Content warning: The following contains discussions of gun violence and death

April 5 is the 95th day of 2023. In the past 94 days, there have been 136 mass shootings in the United States and 10,810 deaths from gun violence. We need gun control, and we need it now. 

The time for gun control was after 13 people died at Columbine High School in 1999. The time for gun control was after nine people died in Red Lake, Minnesota, in 2005. The time for gun control was after 32 people died at Virginia Tech in 2007. The time for gun control was when 26 people died at Sandy Hook in 2012. The time for gun control was when 17 people died in Parkland, Florida, in 2018. The time for gun control was after four people died in Oxford Township, Michigan, in 2021. The time for gun control was when 21 people died in Uvalde, Texas in 2022. 

The U.S. failed to act each of those times, choosing to turn a blind eye to children never returning home, choosing to protect the right to kill in exchange for the blood of innocent Americans. Now, the time for gun control is after three children and three adults were killed in Nashville, Tennessee, on March 27. 

The time for gun control has been here, and over 100 mass shootings later, the time for gun control is now. 

Gun control is far from an untested measure; countries all over the world have enacted legislation to restrict firearms. Legislation that has proven effective. 

In 1996, 16 children were killed in a school shooting in Dunblane, Scotland. In Feb. 1997, the United Kingdom’s Parliament responded to the tragedy by passing a law that bans private ownership of guns with over a 0.22 caliber. The law was later extended to ban the private ownership of all handguns. The country now has “one of the lowest gun-related death rates in the developed world,” according to the New York Times

In the same year, 35 people were killed in a mass shooting in Port Arthur, Tasmania. Australia, which had a similar gun culture at the time to that of the U.S. today, banded together across party lines to pass gun legislation. The country has not seen a mass shooting since, according to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese

Australia came together to enact these life-saving measures, placing people before politics. It is time for the U.S. to learn from history, to learn from the successes of others, to learn from our own failures. 

Gun control does not need to be absolute, and it does not mean only one thing. Gun control can mean rigorous background checks, stricter purchasing and licensing policies and bans on assault weapons. These measures, known as common-sense gun laws, are the steps the U.S. desperately needs to take in order to protect thousands of innocent people from violence, trauma and death. Thousands of people who, without these measures, will suffer. 

Not only is gun control desperately necessary, it is constitutional. The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, adopted in 1791, does not protect the rights of individual Americans to own assault weapons. At the time, the Amendment was created with a check on the federal government’s power in mind, giving the states the protected right to form individual militias. 

In United States v. Miller, the District Court of the United States for the Western District of Arkansas ruled that “shotguns having a barrel of less than eighteen inches in length” are not protected by the Second Amendment as they are not in any way necessary for military or self-defense purposes. The Second Amendment is not a scapegoat for the slaughter of innocent Americans.  

Will we take the action we must to stop these senseless deaths, or will we let gun violence continue to plague our country? The decision is ours, America. The blood is on our hands.

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About the Contributors
Maren Halpin, News Editor | she/her
Maren is a sophomore print/web journalism major with a minor in political science from Milford, Massachusetts. When she’s not in The Journal office, you can usually find Maren in Suffolk’s orientation office or at an on-campus event. In her free time, she loves to go to her favorite coffee shops, listen to Noah Kahan, Hozier and Taylor Swift on repeat, explore the city and spend time with family and friends. Maren is passionate about politics and hopes to go into political journalism in the future. 
Julia Fusco, Graphics Editor | she/her
Julia is a senior from South Hamilton, Mass. majoring in media & film at Suffolk University. Julia is part of four student organizations and counting and is on the E-Board for three of them. When she isn't working at the Suffolk gym or in class, you can often find her taking time to engage in her hobbies, which includes photoshoots with her friends, graphic designing, dancing and grabbing some boba to go!

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OPINION: People before politics: The case for gun control