Brutality: The Truth of Firearms in America | Teen Ink

Brutality: The Truth of Firearms in America

March 9, 2021
By McL-number4 PLATINUM, Rolla, Missouri
McL-number4 PLATINUM, Rolla, Missouri
21 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Brutality: The Truth of Firearms in America

“Firearms claim the lives of more than 30,000 Americans annually, including 10,000 homicides and 20,000 more who die from self-inflicted gun-shots” (American Pediatric Surgical Association). This number doesn’t account for the 75,00 others who are injured and survive. A small part of these numbers are children, and while that may seem like a small number that’s bigger than the population of some small towns. Our country's people are being killed and injured by these weapons. These are unnecessary deaths and injuries that can be stopped. We need more gun control.

Imagine this...A little boy is climbing on the shelves in his parents closet when he sees a black box. The box has no lock. It is just sitting there on a shelf. The little boy opens the box and finds a shiny silver thing that looks like one of his older brother’s nerf guns. He holds the gun in both hands and pulls the trigger. His hand now has bright red blood spilling out of it. This could have gone much worse. The little boy could be dead. He could be one of the nearly 3,000 kids who die each year because of gun injuries. 

The American Pediatric Surgical Association or APSA states that, “In 2010, there were 2,711 children who died by gunshot, with another 15,576”(940). What APSA is saying is that, in one year alone, nearly 3,000 children were killed and about 15,000-16,000 were injured. This is an outrageous number. Kids like the little boy from my story are being killed and injured every day.

At the same time, Jun Tashiro, MD, et al, contrasts “Firearms remain a significant source of preventable injury amongst children and adolescents across the United States”(S54). In other words, Tashiro believes that children and adolescents are harmed too much by firearms and that these injuries are preventable. I agree with Tashiro that these firearms injuries are preventable because firearms can be kept or stored away from people who will harm themselves and others with these weapons.

According to Greg Ridgeway and others from the National Institute of Statistical Science(NISS), “The CDC reported that in 2017, there were 14,542 firearm homicides. The FBI reported that in 2017, there were about 195.194 aggravated assaults with a firearm”(1). In short there were nearly 15,000 homicides and 195,000 aggravated assaults performed using a firearm. These numbers don't include suidcide which makes up two-thirds of the firearm deaths each year. Otherwise these numbers would be a lot bigger if they included suicide and all the other ways people are harmed by firearms. When you think about it, 15,000 homicides is almost like taking out a whole town with guns. 195,000 assaults is like torturing a whole city.

Or, consider what Anthony A. Brage, Ph.D., and Phillip J. Cook say;”In 1 of 6 cases of criminal assault inflicting a gunshot wound, the victim dies” (2/10) If there are 180,000 criminal assault cases, 30,000 of the victims would have died and they do. The real numbers are even higher than the ones I just gave you. There's nearly 200,000 assault cases each year.(NISS) The number of deaths out of those cases would be about 33,333 and one-third. Once again, this is an outrageous number. 

At the same time, Katherine M. Keyes, Ph.D., MPH, and others state, “In 2016, 44,965 individuals died by suicide in the United States...Firearm-related suicide...remains a leading cause of death among those aged 10 to 54 years”(S236). What’s at stake here is that if we don’t do anything to limit gun access. Firearm-related suicide numbers are going to keep rising. Every year about fifty percent of American suicide commiters use a firearm. As stated before, this number makes up two-thirds of all gun deaths. While firearms are used for many things, victims or witnesses of firearm violence may be traumatized by what they experienced and go on to kill themselves with firearms. Firearm violence is a chain reaction problem that usually ends in death. 

Meanwhile, Jeffery H. Boyd,MD, and Eve K. Moscicki, ScD of The American Journal of Public Health(AJPH) state, “Suicide by firearms is the leading method of suicide for persons aged 10 to 24”(1,240). In other words, most people commiting suicide between the ages of 10 and 24 used a firearm. As stated earlier, most teenagers and young adults use weapons meant for protection or activities like hunting, to kill themselves. 

Many of my classmates and friends enjoy hunting as a sport, and I could not imagine what it would be like if they did something to themselves with their hunting rifles. I also understand that firearms would be very useful for protection in areas with a high crime rate but firearms can misfire or be used against you. however, using firearms for protection can lead to more and more problems. 

Many people argue we should have guns for protection or for hunting. I think that this is partially true. If you have guns for hunting because you enjoy hunting as a sport, great, but you still have the responsibility of storing your rifle properly. Same with people who want handguns as protection. APSA says, “Each of the 4 practices of keeping a gun locked, storing a gun unloaded, keeping ammunition locked, and storing ammunition and gun separately was associated with incremental decreases in injury rates.” Do these four steps and it's proven that it will help injury rates go down. People can also use other tools as protection weapons, a baseball bat for instance, that won’t harm people as much as a gunshot will. 

What are the pros and cons to getting more gun control? In my opinion, the pros would be that guns would be more limited and criminals, suicide attempters, and children couldn’t obtain them. Cons would be that not everyone is going to like the idea of more control and will rebel against it. Firearms are one of the easiest weapons for a criminal to use as well as for a person who wants/needs to use it for protection. Not everyone is going to feel this way. Our country has a history of dividing when things start to change. For example the civil war. Not every one was for slavery and wanted to change that. Our country then divided and fought in a war against itself. There will be supporters and opposers of a change in how we treat firearms in this country. 

I grew up and am still living in a time where weapons were and are being used incorrectly. I remember walking by a store and on a magazine or newspaper cover were stories about men and women being attacked by a criminal who opened fire. We can’t have this for future generations. 

Firearm violence has been occurring since firearms were first invented back in the 1300’s. Firearm suicide has been a leading method of suicide ever since the early 1900’s.(AJPH) If we don't do anything to stop assault or suicides with firearms, the numbers will keep rising. We must store firearms properly, away from people who will use them for bad instead of good. Used correctly, firearms can be used for hunting or self-defense but, alas, there are people who will use firearms incorrectly and must be stopped. If everyone understands how dangerous firearms are, firearm violence can be stopped.

- Ara Ratchford

The author's comments:

I was inspired to write this essay becuase I wanted to inform others about how firearms are truly used. 

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