Needless death of six year old emphasizes need for gun control

Christine Sanchez

Last Sunday, a six-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed himself in his family’s home in Houston. The boy and his other siblings were under the supervision of their 18-year-old sister. Unfortunately, he wandered into a room where a 9mm handgun was being kept and tragically lost his life.

The boy, his three sisters and their mother, whose names have not been mentioned, had recently moved into the home of their mother’s eldest daughter, where the accident took place. The weapon belonged to the eldest daughter who claims she acquired it due to the violence in the area.

According to a recent FBI report, Houston is ranked 3rd most dangerous city in the state of Texas, with a robbery rate of 233 per 100,000. Though getting a gun can seem like an effective self-defense mechanism, I don’t think that we, as a nation, should continue to perpetuate this belief. The solution to gun violence isn’t more guns.

Some examples of gun-related tragedies that have rattled our nation in the past include Columbine, which resulted in 13 casualties in 1999, the UT Tower shooting of 1966, which resulted in 17 deaths and the more recent Las Vegas shooting of October 2017, which currently takes the spot of deadliest shooting in the U.S. to date, having taken 58 lives in only 10 minutes.

The alarming rate at which people are dying at the hands of gun violence is worth taking note of. According to a 2018 report by the Gun Violence Archive, over the course of just one month, there have been over one thousand gun-related deaths in the U.S.; 293 of those deaths being of children under the age of 18. Additionally, a whopping 22 mass shootings have also occurred since the beginning of 2018, that is almost one mass shooting per day throughout the month of January.

When I think about these incidents that have occurred in the past, my initial thought is always to question how these weapons were acquired in the first place. Stephen Paddock, the Las Vegas shooter, had 23 rifles and one handgun in his hotel room when he decided to take deadly aim at concert goers this past October. How was he able to purchase all of these weapons and store them in his hotel room without suspicion from others?

According to Texas gun laws, anyone 18 years of age or older may purchase a gun; no documentation is necessary other than a valid ID. Minors can purchase guns with written permission from a guardian, and guns are not required to be registered in Texas.  These incredibly lax laws are the cause of the many deaths that occur because of gun violence. Unlike our President, who advocates for more people to have access to guns under fewer restrictions, we must be aware of how the negatives of gun ownership historically outweigh the positives. Therefore, we cannot expect these incidents to end without changes being made to state laws and legislations.

We cannot allow ourselves to become desensitized to this issue. Gun violence and mass shootings shouldn’t be brushed off or considered the norm, especially when it is such a prevalent issue in this nation. There should be stricter regulations on gun laws in the U.S. in order to prevent more gun-related deaths from occurring. We must call on our state representatives to take a firm stance on this issue for the sake of our safety, as well as the safety of our country as a whole.