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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The March for Our Lives: How Do Your Experiences Shape Your View of the Gun Debate?

<;     According to a study by the American Counseling Association, 87% of school shooters have left behind evidence that they were victims of “severe bullying”; 98% have experienced “personal loss prior to the attack”; 61% have attacked in revenge; 81% held a “grievance against another person at the time of attack”; 78% of school shooters have a history of suicide attempts or ideations. Meanwhile, 21% of all students aged 9-17 suffer from a “diagnosable [mental] disorder”, and only 75% of them receive treatment at all. Making matters worse, the vast majority of school shooters suffer from long-term bullying and ostracizing that is never stopped by other peers or school officials.

      So, here’s my take: if you want to solve school shooting, I ask you to solve the problem by targeting its fundamental and key cause: bullying and mental health. According to a 2016 University of Pittsburgh study 80% of all gun crimes are committed with guns that are either acquired illegally, or acquired through loopholes in existing gun laws.

     These data show us two things: one, as many as 8 out of every 10 gun crimes are committed with illegally acquired firearms; if we stop the criminals from acquiring guns, we could have potentially saved 10,383 out of the 12,979 lives lost due to gun violence in 2017 alone. Two, nothing has been done about guns falling into hands of the wrong people for more than 15 years. If you wish to solve the gun violence problem in the United States, I ask you to think about its most basic and leading cause: the people who got their hands onto firearms through legal loopholes.

     So here’s my view. Disarm the criminals; disarm and give aid to victims of bullying and to those with mental illness. Raise the age limit to buy assault weapons. Expand comprehensive background checks like NICS to screen for mental illness and cooperate with schools when necessary. Have competent police stationed in schools; I had an armed police in my Vancouver high school. Do not disarm the law-abiding citizen; do not disarm the whole population of United States.

     Gun ownership is a form of equality, which considerably balances power between the people and the government. Gun ownership checks governmental power, and serves as the last resort for the people of United States to fight against tyranny and governmental human rights abuse. Looking at my motherland of China, where governmental power is left so unchecked that anyone who gets into the government’s way is easily shut down by force, I wish the thousands who are coerced into giving up their rightfully owned homes to the government in 2017, and the thousands massacred in Tiananmen Square in 1989 could at least have had a chance to fight for their own rights when all else is futile.

     I admire the United States’ belief of the right to self-preservation and self-sufficiency—that’s why I, a Chinese-born Canadian immigrant came here in the first place. I ask you to support sensible and practical policy to solve current problems, and be warned by history that a government who has unchecked power over its citizens, can and will turn onto its citizens.

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