North Texas Daily

Stricter gun laws are more effective than arming teachers

Stricter gun laws are more effective than arming teachers

Stricter gun laws are more effective than arming teachers
April 23
13:00 2023

Content warning: This article contains language and content related to police violence. Reader discretion is advised. 

This year alone, there have been 165 mass shootings in the United States. 

On March 27, shooter Audrey Hale entered the Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee, where released 911 calls revealed that a couple of teachers within the school might be armed. While reports have not confirmed whether those teachers were on school property at the time of the shooting, the tragedy proves that arming teachers isn’t the solution to ending gun violence.

Since the 1999 Columbine High School shooting in Littleton, Colorado, there have been 377 school shootings, according to The Washington Post. Despite alarming swatting calls to higher education schools like Oklahoma University and Collin County Community College, the most recent shooting was three weeks ago. 

Since the late 90’s, two arguments have emerged to form what is known as the gun legislation debate. 

First, there is the pro-gun side, which believes that increased restrictions and measures to control firearms will do nothing to stop people who want guns from getting them. The National Rifle Association aims to promote hunter safety and defend hunting as a shooting sport. It has become a prominent gun rights organization and voice against gun restriction legislation. In an article published by the NRA, they state that they are against gun control because it simply “doesn’t work.” 

The NRA continues by describing how other gun restriction solutions, like increased background checks, are also ineffective because they don’t believe criminals would comply with gun control laws. One of the proposed solutions they provided to decrease violent crimes perpetuated by guns is to allow “good guys” firearm access, citing an additional article published by the NRA that shows violent crime rates have fallen as legal firearm acquisition has increased. 

An article published by The New York Times in 2018 showed that, at that time, the vast majority of the last 19 mass shootings had been perpetrated by people who had passed federal background checks and legally bought firearms that they used to murder a collective 288 people. 

In contrast, the movement in favor of stricter gun legislation believes that increased restrictions and control of firearms are the only way to keep people and children safe. Virginia Tech, which left 33 dead, is third on the list and the elementary school shooting of Sandy Hook follows closely behind with 27 dead. 

The Small Arms Survey, a research project based in the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland, released a report in 2017 that estimated the number of firearms in the world owned by civilians. At that time, the SAS estimated that 393 million guns were owned by U.S. citizens, with an estimated U.S. population of 326 million. The SAS continued their estimation and found that the U.S. has 120.5 firearms per 100 residents. The U.S. has more guns than people and most do not belong to the “good guys.”

When looking exclusively at high-income countries or territories, the Insitute for Health Metrics and Evaluation found that the rate of firearm homicides per 100,000 people was 4.12 in the U.S. while Chile was second with 1.82 and Canada followed with a rate of 0.5 homicides. 

If criminals can pass or bypass criminal background checks, and recent legislation signed by President Joe Biden in June 2022 allows for juvenile and current mental health records to be prioritized before gun purchases, what change that the U.S. hasn’t substantially made will make it so that children are no longer dying at school?

The U.S. does not need more guns. Even though laws like Florida Gov. Rob DeSantis’ permitless carry law, signed in partnership with the NRA just two weeks after the Covenant School shooting, are continuously being moved and passed for legislation, the solution to gun violence is not more access to guns.

One solution that has not been proven effective is government gun buybacks. According to an essay by RAND contributor Amanda Charbonneau, gun buyback programs can remove guns from the community that could be used violently

Banning semiautomatic guns is another solution that has been called for and has shown its effectiveness in other countries. After a shooting committed by Martin Bryant in Australia in 1996 with a semiautomatic rifle, the National Firearms Agreement established a national gun registry and banned all semiautomatic guns. Since 1996, Australia has had one mass shooting.  This does not include two familicide shootings which were the only other gun-related deaths. 

The argument for and against gun control continues, as neither side will ultimately get what they want. However, actionable and influencing change will only happen when the U.S. values the lives of its citizens over firearms.

 Featured Illustration by Allie Garza 

About Author

Gianna Ortner-Findlay

Gianna Ortner-Findlay

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