David and Jack are members of the Junior State of America (JSA), a student-run political awareness organization for high school students.
Every 60 seconds a person is murdered. Each murder is tragic, each human life equally valuable, but it seems like the public only notices when it's done in broad daylight.
Perhaps we are driven by terror. Sitting just two blocks away from the Empire State Building on Friday as Jeffrey Johnson shot and killed his former employer, I certainly can understand that fear.
On a more fundamental level, we are shocked by the arbitrariness of the murder. Murder for the sake of murder, murder of unsuspecting civilians, hits us harder than any other crime -- it is raw evil. In these unique and public cases, we realize that we, or those we love, could be the victims of these crimes.
This week's shooting at Perry Hall High School is one of a series of public shootings that has occurred over the past couple months. Each story is heart-breaking and each has captured the public eye. These incidents are becoming all too common.
Every time -- as if by clockwork -- the media responds in the same mechanical fashion. The liberal media construe it as yet another tragic shootings to add to their list of reasons why the United States ought to pass the Federal Assault Weapons Ban. The conservative press responds with rhetoric about the Second Amendment and condolences to the families of the victims. Each life becomes a statistic in someone's political agenda, all too quickly forgotten -- until the next shooting.
We need to end these shootings and we need to end them now. To do so, we need to drop the party line, and start talking effective gun control. This doesn't mean legislation aimed simply at placating the public opinion -- yes, I'm talking about the Federal Assault Weapons Ban -- it means focusing on the root of the problem (which both parties seem to conveniently ignore).
The Federal Assault Weapons Ban bans a subset of semi-automatic weapons that collectively account for less than two percent of crime. Loopholes in the bill mean that gun manufacturers can produce copycat weapons that are just as dangerous as the banned guns, but are legal under the ban. More importantly, the bill bans Large Capacity Magazines, allowing for more that 10 rounds of ammunition, but by grandfathering-in foreign LCMs produced before the ban, the ban effectively does nothing.
Instead of pushing for controversial legislation with a name that polls well with the American public, we need to start looking a policies that will substantially reduce crime.
The root of the gun problem is corrupt dealers. According to National Gun Victims' Action Counsel, nearly 60 percent of the guns used in crime are traced back to a small number -- just 1.2 percent -- of crooked gun dealers. These corrupt dealers frequently have high numbers of missing guns, in many cases because they're selling guns "off the books" to private sellers and criminals. Cracking down on these gun dealers is the single most effective way to stop criminals from getting guns.
Next, we need to close the loophole that allows gun-dealers to forgo background checks during gun shows. These gun shows are a breeding ground for criminals who use these gun shows to attain weapons that they would otherwise be ineligible for. These convicts go on to commit the majority of gun crime in America.
Politicians need to stop using gun crimes as an excuse to further their political agenda. If instead, they focus on stricter enforcement of existing laws, crack-down on crooked dealers, and focus on the root of the problem, we can save many lives.
Until then, we share our condolences with the families of the victims.