Written by Emma Jones
Are you guys tired of living through national tragedies? I feel like every couple of months my social media feed is flooded with news of a shooting, photos of victims, cries of outrage against gun violence and then silence until the next one happens. We cannot keep living in this endless loop of anger and inaction.
This past Monday morning, March 27, six people were killed in a school shooting in Nashville, Tennessee, including three children and three adults. Their names were Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, William Kinney, Cynthia Peak, Mike Hill and Katherine Koonce. The shooting occurred at the Covenant School, a private Presbyterian elementary school.
Gun control is a nuanced and controversial topic; I understand that. I’m from the South, so I’ve grown up around this conversation. But I feel it is unsensible to defend our country’s current stance on firearms, as recent research by the Kaiser Family Foundation has found the United States as being the only country among its peers in which guns are the leading cause of death among children (kff.com, “Child and Teen Firearm Mortality in the U.S. and Peer Countries,” March 28, 2023). A New York Times article from last year compared restrictions in Great Britain, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Norway — all countries with a culture of gun ownership. All of these countries were similar in that after a mass shooting happened, the response was to impose new restrictions on gun ownership which led to mass shootings becoming rarer, as well as homicide and suicide numbers decreasing (nytimes.com, “Other Countries Had Mass Shootings. Then They Changed Their Gun Laws,” May 25, 2022). Comparatively, restrictions in the United States have not changed to reflect the increasing frequency and severity of mass shootings; there have been 130 so far in 2023 alone, and we’re only three months into the year (gunviolencearchive.org, March 28, 2023).
The main problem with imposing ownership laws in the U.S. isn’t that voters don’t want it; a Gallup poll from February of this year found that 63% of Americans are dissatisfied with the current gun control laws and policies in place (news.gallup.com, “Dissatisfaction With U.S. Gun Laws Hits New High,” Feb. 15, 2023). The main problem is Americans really love their guns. And that’s okay, to an extent. For example, I think it’s wise for a woman living by herself to own a handgun, and I’m fine with the fact that my little brothers go deer hunting every year. But legal gun owners should be willing to let policy be put in place that could lessen our chances of gun violence, because lives are more important than guns.
Do I think we need more policy regarding gun control? Yes. However, that is not going to completely solve our issue — if we ban assault rifles, people who want them are going to continue to obtain them illegally.
I think my good friend Carson Hayes phrased it best in a Facebook post he made regarding the Nashville shooting: “What truly stops a mass killing is the love of Christ and the recognition that life is precious and that anger within the heart toward another is just the same as murder.” Those affected by events like what happened in Nashville do need our thoughts and prayers, yes, but most importantly this country needs our love and a Christ-like passion for peace that inspires change.