With all the recent shootings in the news, gun violence is on everyone’s mind. June is National Gun Violence Awareness Month, and American’s are coming together to promote change and end gun violence once and for all.
Americans are pretty tired of hearing news of another shooting and teens are downright scared. Many of the recent shootings have taken place in schools. The problem of gun violence appears to be getting worse and not better, like an epidemic running rampant throughout our country. Thus the reason for the National Gun Violence Awareness Month campaign.
In support of the initiative, Americans are urged to wear orange June 2-3. There are also many events going on in major cities and small towns to promote gun violence awareness and end this tragic problem.
Gun Violence is a Public Health Issue
There is a lot of debate over whether or not gun violence is a public health issue. Studies performed in the early 1990’s showed that households with a gun in them were more likely to experience death by murder or suicide. The gun violence statistics in the U.S. are staggering; more than 100,000 people are shot every year in America and 32,000 of them die from gunshot wounds.
The definition of a public health issue is one that a large number of people die from when it could be prevented. It appears clear from the rising numbers that gun violence fits that mold.
Gun Control Laws in the U.S.
Gun control laws have evolved over the past eighty-five years to keep up with changes in our society and the increase in shooter incidents and gun violence. Some of the highlights of significant changes to gun control laws in the U.S. are:
1938 - The Federal Firearms Act (FFA) - gun manufacturers and dealers are required to obtain a federal license. Felons cannot purchase guns of any type.
1968 - Gun Control Act of 1968 - age restrictions are imposed on purchase of handguns and felons, mentally ill persons and other specific groups of people cannot purchase firearms. All firearms must have serial numbers.
1993 - The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993 - requires background checks on anyone wishing to purchase a firearm. The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) is developed for the FBI.
1994 - Assault weapons are temporarily banned from 1994 - 2004. Efforts to revise this law have failed.
1999 - A law is passed requiring trigger locks on all guns manufactured and sold in U.S. Background checks and waiting periods are extended to gun shows.
Gun Control Issues in America
The debate over gun control issue is one of the primary reasons nothing has changed, and mass shooting incidents continue to occur on a regular basis. Two sides with very differing opinions make it difficult for any change to happen. No one wants to concede any point or budge on the matter, and therefore Congress is in the awkward position of not knowing what to do.
Another big issue with gun control is that our Constitution guarantees the right of every American to keep and bear arms. Our government is hesitant to make any change that alters or violates a right given to us by our founding fathers.
Teen’s Tragic Shooting and How it Kickstarted a National Movement to Stop Gun Violence
TheWear Orange movement started in 2015 in honor of 15-year old Hadiya Pendleton who was shot in Chicago in 2013 during an incident of gang violence.
Pendleton’s friends and peers fed up with the situation, started wearing orange to raise awareness of the deadly threat to teens of gun violence. They chose orange because it is the color hunters wear to stay safe in the forest.
Spokesperson Julianne Moore explains it well: “With regulation, you reduce deaths. We’re not talking about something outrageous, we’re talking about closing the background loophole when guns are allowed to be sold without background checks, so there are fewer illegal guns in the world. If we can manage to do that, that’s a pretty awesome thing and something we need to ask our legislators to do as well. The Wear Orange campaign shows that you can make a difference.”