“What we need is change, what we need is action, and if that means we need to take all the guns for the time being, then so be it,” said alumnus Emily Gutierrez. This sentiment of banning guns has turned into a frequently heard idea amid the gun controversies of today.
However, when turning to other countries who have banned guns for examples, the result isn’t as dramatic as hoped. London strictly regulates guns, as seen with the handgun ban in England and Wales issued in 1996. Despite government efforts, the effectiveness of this ban is disputable. Gun-related homicides spiked for several years after the ban. BBC News reports that London gun crimes increased by 42 percent from 2016 to 2017. The 1,793 gun offenses from 2015 to 2016 increased to 2,544 offenses from 2016 to 2017, demonstrating the ban’s inefficiency in relation to individual crimes and suggesting a potential lack of success in America.
The handgun ban in the United Kingdom was put into effect after the Dunblane Massacre, in which the shooter, armed with handguns, murdered 16 people. While gun bans have worked in regards to mass shootings for both the United Kingdom and Australia, the same effect is not guaranteed in the United States.
“Australians’ and Americans’ different relationship with firearms stems from the role that armed struggle played in their histories. In Australia, we didn’t have one,” said Australian journalist A. Odysseus Patrick in a New York Times article. “We never had a revolution. We never fought foreign troops on our soil. There was no antipodean civil war.”
Because of the more-or-less peaceful establishment of Australia, Australia’s founders did not mention guns in their Constitution as they weren’t worried about government oppression as in the founding of the United States. The difference is that guns have become ingrained into American culture.
“In the United States, even if the political opposition could be overcome, such widespread appropriation of private property and limits on personal liberties would most likely be met with fierce, even physical, resistance,” Patrick said. While gun control measures are necessary, a complete ban infringing on one of American citizens’ guaranteed freedoms should not pass.
Gun reform can occur without the total outlaw of guns or a violation of the Second Amendment, a freedom many Americans utilize for a variety of non-violent purposes. There are many other paths to take such as increasing the gun-owning age limit or limiting available rapid-fire modifications. The country must first test what does, and what doesn’t work before extreme measures are taken.
Good people should not be punished for the actions of the bad. Although the actions several ill-wishing people are cause for gun control, as they should be, gun reform doesn’t have to be to the extent of a gun ban.