How many and how long?

America needs gun legislation reform and it’s time to stop waiting around to do it

My name is Jared Ebels, and I am a junior in the Digital Animation and Game Design major here at Ferris. I chose the DAGD major because of my love of stories and storytelling, and I hope to someday work at a game development company, creating stories to share with the world.

By Jared Ebels

For the self-proclaimed “greatest country in the world,” America has… a lot of issues.

Most of these issues don’t affect me, personally, but for many in our nation they are a stark reality that comes up daily. Take, for example, gun control. According to the Gun Violence Archive, as of April 10, 2021, there have been a total of 138 mass shootings in 2021.

The GVA defines a mass shooting as four or more people being injured or killed by a shooter, not including the shooter themselves. That averages to around 1.3 mass shootings a day, and it’s a much higher number than every other first-world country in the world.

It’s devastating.

Every time another one shows up in our newsfeed, the same debate arises: should we reform gun control here in America? And every time there are people fighting back, putting the blame of the shootings on other sources like mental health, or saying that this isn’t the time to discuss it while people are in mourning, or bringing up their Second Amendment rights to own a firearm. The cycle repeats every time, and as more people are being injured or killed in these mass shootings, nothing is changing.

Recently, President Joe Biden made a bold move on gun control to finally try and get something going. In a series of executive actions, the President started to regulate the sales or classifications of particular firearms. “Ghost guns,” or guns sold in parts that don’t have a serial number and thus can’t be tracked, will be more heavily regulated, as will pistol-stabilizing braces. The Justice Department will be drafting up laws to prevent people deemed “a danger to themselves or others,” either by their family or by law enforcement, from owning guns, and the Justice Department will also begin issuing annual reports on gun trafficking.

Naturally, this has had some push-back from those that oppose gun reform. I’ve seen several Facebook posts from my more gun-enthusiast friends calling it treason, or calling President Biden a liar, or saying that these regulations are imposing on people’s rights. There’s this idea that the government is trying to take everyone’s guns away, or that if they start regulating guns the country’s going to become a police state. And I just… don’t quite get it.

I understand the want to keep guns, the idea that it’s your right and the want to protect yourself, that much I understand. But also, I think the unshakable will of some people to keep their guns at any cost is incredibly selfish. Clearly there’s a gun issue in America, because no other country has anywhere near the level of gun violence, and the majority of those other countries have more comprehensive gun laws. Thousands of people have died from the issue, senselessly and needlessly, and there are people that think that the system that allows it isn’t flawed and shouldn’t be changed.

Why? At what point did people start to think that their right to a flawed gun system outweighs the lives that have been taken? How many people are going to die from gun violence before these people concede to the idea that there are things greater than themselves? Requiring more comprehensive background checks or banning the sale of certain firearms is only going to prevent guns from going to the people who shouldn’t have them, and if some gun enthusiasts are worried about losing their guns to that, maybe they also shouldn’t have them to begin with.

I think the gun reform issue, as well as many other issues in America, are less about the topics themselves and much more about an inability to see outside yourself and your worldview. There’s a place for caution and tradition, but there’s also a need for more understanding and caring about other people that I think this country lacks. If we have to regulate the guns in order for that caring to start, so be it.

But the world is bigger than just me, or just you, or just one person, so we need to start caring more outside ourselves. People’s lives depend on it.