Gun violence: Executive action is now needed

Gun violence is continuing to be an increasing problem in our country each year, and discussion and reform are needed.

To say that all the U.S. needs to do is to enforce current gun laws would be a good idea ­— if those laws were working. But as mass shootings and gun violence become more common occurrences, reform is essential.

It’s only been a little over two weeks into the new year and 2016 has already seen over 2,000 gun related incidents in the U.S. with a death toll of over 500 and injuries reaching over 1,000, according to Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit website that researches more than 1,200 sources to track gun deaths and injuries in the U.S.

In 2015, there were over 50,000 incidents of gun violence including homicides, multiple-victim gang assaults to incidents of self-defense and accidental shootings, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

Read the Editorial here.

By Oct. 1, 2015, there were 294 mass shootings (mass shootings defined as four or more people killed) in 274 days, according to The Washington Post.

Twenty elementary school children and six faculty members were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary school in 2012. In 2015, nine were killed in Charleston, South Carolina, while attending a bible study, nine students were shot and killed at an Oregon community college with more than seven others injured, and 14 people were killed with 22 others injured in a shooting in San Bernardino.

If current gun laws are all we need to end gun violence, then why are we still seeing these tragic numbers? Even if these laws are halting more of these incidents from happening, statistics make it obvious that more still needs to be done.

Our reluctance to change laws in the face of these horrifying incidents show we are becoming more and more desensitized to these acts of violence. That is a problem.

“We are not inherently more prone to violence,” said President Barack Obama in his last State of the Union on Jan. 5. “But we are the only advanced country on Earth that sees this kind of mass violence erupt with this kind of frequency. It doesn’t happen in other advanced countries. It’s not even close. Somehow we become numb to it and we start to feel that this is normal. And instead of thinking about how to solve the problem, this has become one of our most polarized, partisan debates, despite the fact that there’s a general consensus in America about what needs to be done.”

Obama is correct. The U.S. leads the advanced world in gun related homicides. In 2013, the U.S. had about 350,000 deaths from gun violence, according to the Code of Federal Regulations. Canada had under 40,000 gun related deaths in the same year and the United Kingdom had under 7,000.

What is it about the U.S. that causes us to have such high gun related deaths? Something needs to be done.

Obama should not be criticized for recognizing that there is a problem and wanting to do something about it. The current system is not working. People are dying.

The mentality of the other side of the argument seems to be that gun violence is inevitable and that there is nothing we can do to stop it. Obviously, there will always be people who break the law, but should that cause us to give up and not strive for change? No.

The numbers show change needs to happen, and instead of fighting it, let’s embrace discussion and reform instead of sticking our fingers in our ears chanting the Second Amendment to shut off any other view point. We will never find a solution if we don’t try.

We should support our president and any effort to make our country and society a safer place for everyone.

There is a difference between gun rights and gun safety.

Dissenting Opinion: The dissenting editors explain their reasoning. 

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