Young writers’ column: Gun laws in the United States

Oxley College year 11 student Isabella Price.

Oxley College year 11 student Isabella Price.

As a child living in Fort Worth, Texas the word ‘gun’ was fairly common.

Although my family never owned one as both my parents are Australian many people in my local neighbourhood did.

On November 4, 2008, America’s first African American president Barack Obama was elected.

Instead of celebrating a civil right breakthrough for African American people, mum kept me home from school as gun sales in Texas increased by 120 per cent, of course as a kid I was confused and quite annoyed that I didn’t get to go to school and see my friends that day.

Although at the time I didn’t understand, I’m grateful for being kept home as I understand why my mum was so worried, as in America gun-related violence is usually associated with massacre particularly at schools.

In 2015, America had over 60 school shootings and over 300 mass shootings across the country while Australia had none. According the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution everyone has the right to bear arms and in the US (particularly the South) the word ‘right’ is used as a way to justify gun related violence.

After the Port Arthur shooting in Australia legislation was put in place to prevent these actions from happening again, in America this is not the case due to those preaching the ‘second amendment right’ and organisations such as the National Rifle Association (NRA). Due to the political ties between US politicians of all persuasions (democrats and republicans) and the NRA it is incredibly difficult to seek ways to regulate gun use. Seeing incidents such as the latest school shooting in Florida makes me disappointed in the country I grew up in. The US will always have a special place in my heart as it was once considered home to me although I constantly ask myself ‘if so many innocent young and old people are dying why isn’t anything being done to fix this?’ It is known that at the American supermarket Walmart you can walk in and purchase a gun with no background checks in under 20 minutes, yet Americans still sit there baffled when gun related violence occurs.

As a child mum would always have to ask if there were guns in my friends’ homes before I went over as it was known that there were many child related deaths involving guns. Is this any way to grow up and experience childhood and is it fair that parents must worry about their child’s safety when they are with their friends?

Due to my dual citizenship, I am constantly at a cross road; if you ask me as a United States Citizen, I believe that the Second Amendment should be honoured although precautions need to be put in place to regulate this issue but if you ask me as an Australian Citizen I would have to say if legislation curbed the issue in Australia then America should consider following in our footsteps. It is about time that gun related violence is put to an end in the US.

- Oxley College year 11 student Isabella Price


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