Should America Change Our Firearm Laws After the Columbine Shooting?

On April 20, 1999, two high school students massacred a dozen of their classmates and injured countless others. They used sawed off shotguns, an automatic 9mm, and various other firearms to murder their peers. These boys (Eric Harris, and Dylan Klebold) bought illegal firearms and made explosives in one of the boys’ basements to use that day. Since then, gun laws have not gotten more strict, but some say it has actually been easier to buy and carry firearms in America. America is split into two groups, those opposed to guns and those who are pro-firearm. Should we, as a country, tighten the laws regarding firearms due to a school shooting at Columbine?

CNN released a poll showing that eight years ago, 39 percent of Americans supported stricter gun laws as opposed to the growing 54 percent today. Although there are much more supporters for more restricted laws for guns today than almost a decade ago, but with almost nothing done about it, talk is very cheap and prevalent in America. There are 9 guns for every 10 people in the US, whether illegally or legally owned. Citizens are progressively getting more aggravated with how easy it is for a child to obtain a firearm. According to Katherine Newman, the author of rampage, which is a book about school shootings in America”85 percent of school shooters obtained their firearm(s) by themselves, through their relatives, friends, or from their own home” (Newman 260). US citizens own 32 percent of all known firearms globally, and the numbers don’t seem to be lowering any time soon. Since the Columbine massacre, there have been 67 school shootings in the US alone, and that does not include the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting. These numbers are astounding regardless of your position on the subject.

But the right to bear arms is in the Constitution, and was created by our founding fathers. Some say it’s our right to purchase and bear arms because that is what America is all about. But are we simply being ignorant to these school shooting’s because our country is “all about freedom” and the right to bear arms? Or maybe there aren’t many problems with the laws, and the shootings are simply personal issues. Either way, citizens are outraged about the ease with which people obtain firearms.

There has been much talk about the government’s involvement with school shootings, and the safety of the people in schools “The national concern for school safety and school security led Congress to pass two key pieces of school violence prevention legislation in 1994: (GFSA)” (Kopka 6). This did not do much for the prevention of school shootings. In 1998, just one year before Columbine, two kids ages 11 and 13, murdered 15 of their peers at school with the firearms they found in one of the boys grandparent’s homes. The guns were on the walls for show and secured only by a wire that the boys cut with a garden sheer.

People argue that it’s not just the laws to buy guns that are corrupt, but the laws which govern where one can store them and safely secure them. In some states, a permit to own a gun is non-existent. It would be extremely hard to keep track of firearms by the government, not to mention the owners themselves in these states. However, the problem might not be the laws to buy guns, but how they are stored. In Florida, it is legal to have a firearm in ones car for “protection”. If one leaves their car door open, and someone goes in the car the gun is readily available and can be stolen without any work required.

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