America Needs Stricter Gun Regulations

Adalyn Bayer, Guest Writer

A mass shooting is defined as an act of gun violence with four or more victims. These occurrences have increased by 66% in the United States in the past two years. Although there will always be acts of violence, there is an alarming lack of restrictions on gun use in the country. Assault guns are easily obtainable by the general public, and there is a lack of surveillance on those who own guns legally, which sometimes leads to avoidable violence, much of which is defended by an ancient “right to bear arms” spirit. With more restrictive gun laws and more attention to warning signs, the United States can become a safer country with less gun violence. 

States with the strictest gun laws have fewer deaths by gun violence per year. California, having the most restrictive laws, is ranked number seven in the states with the lowest gun casualty rates. Per capita, the lowest rate is in Hawaii, and the highest is in Alaska. Alaska is on the list of states with the most relaxed gun laws in the United States. A map on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website shows more data for individual states, and laws per state can be found on From this information, we can conclude that states with the strictest gun laws tend to have the fewest deaths due to gun violence.

Although some people may be in a good mental state to obtain a gun permit, many outside circumstances may change this. From 2009 to 2020, 56% of mass shootings were perpetrated by people who showed at least one dangerous warning sign before the crime took place. These instances account for more than half of the total fatalities and a third of the injuries caused by mass shootings within this time frame. Additionally, one third of mass shootings as of August, 2019 were committed by people with underlying mental illnesses. Overall in the United States, one in five people will experience mental illness, according to Although it is illegal for people deemed unfit by government standards to possess a firearm, these restrictions are not effectively enforced, and those of unsound mind get to keep their guns. 

Along with signs of mental illnesses, there have been instances where the perpetrator had shown other signs of potential future violence. During the school shooting at Oxford High School on November 20, 2021, a student killed four people, and injured another eight. The student had researched ammunition for the gun he had received as a Christmas present while at school, and had created disturbing drawings that depicted violence. His parents disregarded this fact, and he wasn’t stopped before he got to the school with his weapon. Because of the negligence in this case, the violence at Oxford High School still occurred. 

Assault weapons are defined as semi-automatic firearms with a large magazine of ammunition that were designed and configured for rapid fire and combat use. From 1994 to 2004, there was a ban on these weapons, and studies by Northwestern Medicine showed that an estimated 10 mass shootings were prevented this time; these results were derived from statistics of shootings from this time vs. when the ban was not in place. In the seven most lethal mass shootings in the past 10 years, assault weapons have been used, and they account for 85% of fatalities in all such occurrences. Assault weapons are able to kill twice as many people in any given moment as other firearms. Assault weapons should not be available for the general public, as they are not needed for general self defense, and are designed for killing efficiently. 

When speaking of gun laws, many people cite the Second Amendment as their argument, and I agree that guns can be very useful for self defense. As stated in an article published by The New Republic, the constitution and its amendments were created to be changed as the world and technology changed. The Second Amendment was created when defense was less developed for the people. Since then, we have designed our country to keep its citizens safe.  Amendments to our constitution are needed over time, as was said by those who founded it in the first place. Restricting gun laws would not inhibit national safety.

One might argue “Why do all of this? Guns are still going to be obtained illegally.” and that would be absolutely right. There will always be breaches in our security. However, if we can prevent even a small percent of these crimes of mass violence, we will have bettered the security of the country, and we can keep improving it and making it safer for everybody. With stricter regulations and more time put into the restrictions of fatal weapons, we can decrease the death counts each year a little bit at a time.