With another school shooting to add to this year’s tally, the debate for gun control has been reignited. The disturbing frequency of school shootings in the U.S. again points towards the urgent need for gun reform.
Because gun culture is so prevalent in the United States, making changes to gun laws is a particularly pressing challenge for lawmakers. Firearm homicides in this country are six times more frequent than in Canada, seven times more than Sweden, and 16 times more than Germany, according to the United Nations. The need for management persists, especially to curb shootings which occur in schools.
On Wednesday, Reuters reported that a suspected teenage shooter has been arrested after two children and one teacher were shot in the afternoon at an elementary school in Townville, South Carolina. Fortunately, no fatalities have been reported, although victims are undergoing surgery for their wounds, according to WYFF4. This horrifying spectacle, in which the school’s students had to be escorted to a nearby church for safety, should not have to be a regular occurrence.
According to Everytown for Gun Control's data, the Townville shooting is the nation's 37th school shooting in 2016.
While Gov. Nikki Haley (R) issued a statement requesting “that everyone across South Carolina join us in praying for the entire Townville Elementary School family and those touched by today’s tragedy,” prayers are not enough to curb the nation’s prevailing gun culture.
The statistics speak for themselves. According to Vox, recent studies in the states of Connecticut and Missouri have shown that making stricter gun licensing laws have curbed the number of homicides and suicides.
Another solution, which Australia successfully pursued after a 1996 mass shooting, is to launch a mandatory buyback program to quickly get guns out of homes. After Australia passed the buyback law, its gun homicide rate dropped 42 percent in just seven years, according to a Harvard study.
While both presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have addressed the need for stricter gun laws to keep guns out of the hands of terrorists, only Clinton has really gotten under the skin of our nation’s gun culture with specific proposed reforms to end this epidemic.
With the frequency of such school shootings, it seems our society is unfortunately becoming immune to this type of violence.
Banner photo credit: Twitter, @bartboat