My mom, sister and my 15-year-old nephew were all killed by guns. I used to like guns, but now I’m scared of them. Or am I scared of the person carrying it? Every morning I watch the news, every day someone gets shot with a gun. I know more than 30 people who were killed with a firearm. When will it stop?
I’m writing this article because there’s a lot going on in our country as far as gun violence. Look at all the mass shootings, where kids are being murdered in schools. Mass shootings in malls, mass shootings at the grocery store. No place is safe. I do believe in the right to bear arms, but the wrong people have arms in this country. No 18-year-old kid should be able to purchase a firearm. But they are so easy to get. I don’t believe our government can control gun violence or ever stop the illegal guns from hitting the streets.
Once the guns hit the streets, then comes the drive-by, the shootouts and the innocent people going about their daily activities getting murdered.
I know you have had some kind of gun violence in your neighborhood. It does not matter if you live in Dupont Circle or the Anacostia neighborhoods, the guns are there.
Why is it so easy to possess a firearm in this country? I believe it’s so easy because of our gun laws. We here in America have weak gun laws, so it’s not that hard to buy one.
For a contrast, let’s take a look at Australia ‘s gun laws. In 1996, in Tasmania 35 people were killed and 23 injured. Immediately after this massacre, Australia’s governments went into action by banning civilians from owning all semi-automatic, pump-action shotguns and rifles. Australia has not had a mass shooting since.
There have been more than 300 mass shootings here in America this year alone. If our government were to clamp down on who and what kind of firearms can be purchased and who can possess them, I believe many lives could be saved. Ban all semi-automatic and automatic weapons from civilian possession like Australia did. Raise the age at which someone can purchase a firearm from 18 to 21. Impose harsher sentences for those who possess illegal firearms.
Juveniles should also be held accountable no matter what age they are. If an underage person is involved in a mass shooting or possesses an illegal firearm, they should be charged as an adult. One other law that I like that Australia is calling for is a limit to the number of firearms a license holder can have to five. We should do the same.
Here in America we have a long way to go to make our neighborhoods safer. We must first start with changing our gun laws and gun control. Stiffer laws can save many lives. No one knows better than me what it means to lose family members to gun violence.
Eric Thompson-Bey is an artist and vendor for Street Sense Media. He is a Washington D.C. native and began selling Street Sense in 2008.