America protects gun rights over life


Eva Prieto

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Leah Levine

More stories from Leah Levine

Over 44,000 people alone in the US in 2022 died from gun violence — that’s 44,000 people too many. That number includes mass shootings, homicides, suicides and accidental shootings. Almost every day we read another headline in the news of a shooting and nothing changes. There are no functional laws against owning a gun, no consistent and reliable background checks, which in turn never prevents the possibility of death caused by a firearm.   

In a guest opinion piece for the The New York Times, Nick Kristof argues that America is not doing enough to help keep the country safe. When New Zealand experienced a mass shooting, they acted quickly and responded with tighter gun laws, just 26 days after the shooting. America has gone too long without any regulations against guns. It has been 74 years since the first mass shootings in the US in 1949, and nothing has changed. 

This cycle will continue if we don’t pass gun reforms to save lives. 

There have been countless protests within America around gun control which promote safety around firearms. From Black Lives Matter protests fighting against gun violence against Black people, to the organization March For Our Lives, who hold rallies around the country every anniversary of the tragic Parkland shooting at a high school in Florida in 2018, gun violence has not diminished. There have been bills passed as an attempt to restrict the ruinous effects of guns, yet there are still shootings after shootings happening.

As a country we need to realize that efforts to protect lives are more important than efforts to protect our “right to bear arms.” That amendment was established in 1791. This amendment was to protect ourselves from other countries in the face of keeping our independence and autonomy. Now this amendment is allowing guns to be used against each other inside our nation. Our society has progressed with new ideas of what a united nation looks like. Why is safety falling behind? 

School is a place where kids should feel secure, but instead, some are worrying if they will make it through the day. This should not be a possibility that 5 year olds can encounter – nor should it have ever been a reality. Is this the world we want our kids to grow up in? A place where guns are more protected than their own life? 

Instead of working to solve these issues at hand, the measures that some states are trying to implement to “protect kids” are completely missing our necessary target.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed and finalized a bill to ban “adult cabaret” (drag shows, strippers, etc.) on public property. His reasoning, along with countless other governors who plan on implementing the same state law, is to “protect children.” 

Our question is: From what exactly? 

What exactly are we protecting them from? Drag shows and strip clubs already have an 18 or 21 or older policy. There aren’t half naked performers at public parks around children. If the government would really like to take a stab at protecting children they should ask themselves… What is the number one cause of death in children in the United States?

By the way, it’s not drag.