Thousands of children would have graduated high school already- we need more gun control


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Gun violence has become a major issue in the United States. After more people are dying from mass shootings, the need for more gun control is urgent.

By: Katherine Albuquerque, Editor

School shootings have been a major issue in the United States for years now. Elementary, middle, and high schools are accustomed to practicing active shooter drills, just in case the worst happens. After the shooting that occurred at Robb Elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, the need for gun control is stronger than ever. 

What Happened?

On May 24, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos went into Robb Elementary School and began to shoot. He killed 19 children, and two teachers, and injured 17 others. Just days before, on his eighteenth birthday, he purchased two assault rifles. He committed the second-worst school shooting in U.S. history. 

In Texas, people can carry a gun without a permit. Someone can also be 18 and buy assault rifles. Texas governor, Greg Abbott, claims that stronger gun regulations are “ineffective” and several other Republicans have stated that school shootings are a result of poor mental health, not gun laws. 

Gun control around the world

In the United States

We are only 150 days into 2022. However, there have been over 200 mass shootings in the United States already. The Robb Elementary school shooting has been the twenty-seventh school shooting this year. Firearms are the number one leading cause of death for teens and children in America. 15,000 teens and children are killed or wounded due to gun violence on school grounds every year. Since 2013, there have been at least 635 incidents of gunfire on school grounds. 

A 2017 study by Adam Lankford concluded that 31% of global mass shootings occurred in the United States, even though the U.S. has less than 5% of the global population. Since the school shooting in Uvalde, at least 15 more mass shootings have occurred across the U.S., 12 occurring over Memorial Day weekend. Due to this,  at least eight people have been killed and 55 have been injured just during this weekend. 

Gun violence, more specifically school shootings, has become an epidemic in the United States. When you compare the number of school shootings that have occurred in the U.S. to other countries, the numbers are drastic. 

Across the Globe

CNN has done an analysis of school shootings in different countries between the years of 2009 to 2018. Canada and France had only two school shootings between those nine years. In Germany, there has only been one. Japan, Italy, and the U.K. had zero. In the United States, there have been 288. This means the United States “has had 57 times as many school shootings as other industrialized countries combined.” 

Growing up in Portugal

To get a more personal perspective on what gun laws are like around the world, I spoke to my father, Paul Albuquerque. He was born and raised in Portugal and explained what it’s like over there in terms of gun control. He said, “you can’t just go to a store and buy a gun. It’s difficult to obtain a gun over there.”

He explained that Portuguese citizens must have a license to carry a gun. They can get a gun for hunting, target shooting, pest control, and collecting. Owning a gun for self-defense is not considered a legal reason to own a firearm. One must be 18 years old and pass a background check, which looks at criminal and mental health records. 

Growing up, my father described what it was like having hunting guns in the house. My grandfather loved to hunt, which is why they were in the house. However, the process of owning and keeping a hunting gun is lengthy. My dad said, “the hunting guns had to be stored in a special, gun safe cabinet, which an inspector would have to check every year.” He further explained that the guns were not allowed out of the cabinet unless it was hunting season.

Those were the regulations just to own the gun, but just because someone has a license doesn’t mean they got to keep the gun forever. He said, “every time hunting season came around, you had to do an exam. If you didn’t pass the exam, they would take your guns back.” When my grandfather got to a certain age, he no longer had the energy to take the exams, so his guns were taken away. In other parts of the country, people had to take their guns to the police station every year to verify they were in working condition and that the owners were the same.

We Need More Gun Control

The U.S. needs to change

When you look at the difference between gun control in the U.S. and in other countries, this country looks ridiculous. So many of the issues we have with gun violence could be solved if stricter gun laws were put in place. Stop saying the issue is mental health- it’s a factor, but not the main problem. The problem is the laws that are so unrigorous that an 18-year-old can just walk into a gun shop and buy assault rifles. 

In other countries, when mass shootings occur, laws are immediately changed. In 1987, a mass shooting occurred in the U.K- they tightened their gun laws right after, and it now has one of the lowest gun-related deaths in the world. After shootings occurred in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Germany, and Norway- they tightened their gun laws. The United States is one of the only countries that have such free gun laws, and the effects have been detrimental.  

In Texas

When addressing the grieving community of Uvalde after the school shooting, gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke interrupted Governor Abbott’s press conference. He said, “the time to stop the next shooting is now and you are doing nothing.” Many said O’Rourke’s interruption was inappropriate, but I feel as though it was necessary. 

O’Rourke wasn’t trying to disrespect the grieving families, but rather call Abbott out on his hypocrisy. Abbott has dismissed the need for stricter gun laws several times; however, it’s his laws that caused the school shooting and many other shootings to happen so easily. Stricter gun laws would stop those who are mentally ill from getting their hands on any kind of firearm. With stricter gun laws, the shooting could have been prevented entirely, and those children would still be alive today. 

Sympathy and condolences won’t bring those children back or bring any change. What Abbott should be doing is enforcing stricter gun laws, so no other children have to die at the hands of gun violence. Abbott even had the audacity to say the shooting “could have been worse,” if it weren’t for law enforcement. The point is that the shooting could have not happened at all, and telling a grieving community this is cruel. It was terrible, and it has become the worst moment in many of those families’ lives. It is already the worst possible scenario that could have happened. 

Personal experience

I myself have even feared for my own life while in school- every time we did a lockdown drill, I feared if it would be the one that was real. One day during this school year, threats were made to several high schools across New Jersey. I remember panicking, worried about missing my classes, but also worried about my life. 

Back in elementary school when we had a lockdown drill, I ended up alone in the bathroom. I was crying and incredibly scared- I thought there was a real threat. After minutes went by, they finally announced everything was clear, but I thought it was a trick, and didn’t move. Turns out, my teacher was panicking and looking for me, and after 10 more minutes, I was found.  I was a child, fearing for my life. 


An organization called Change the Ref did a campaign to show just how many children have suffered at the hands of gun violence. After collecting data, they discovered that 3,044 members of the high school class of 2021 were killed by guns. That’s 3,044 children who never got a chance at life. Who never got to grow up. Seeing such a large number brings tears to my eyes, and is truly chilling.  If that doesn’t emphasize why we need to have more gun control, then I’m not sure what else does.