Government involvement will curb the epidemic of gun violence in this country

Will Bolton, Perspectives Editor

What if students from an entire class at Saint Margaret’s middle school disappeared from their families’ lives? Or almost the entire middle school at Harford Day School? What about half the students at St. Joan of Arc or almost 1 in 12 students at Bel Air Middle?

The equivalent deaths happened across the nation in 2012 and 2013.

The difference is that instead of being centered in one community, the preventable deaths of almost 100 children were spread out across a nation which stubbornly refused to open its eyes to the source of so much horror.

It is time for America to open its eyes and address the plague of gun violence across our nation.

When cancer, car accidents, and terrorists kill Americans, our country turns into an unstoppable force. The nation suddenly starts creating strict driver-improvement programs, raising millions of dollars for research, and making national security a top priority.

For some reason the same is not true for gun violence. When 33,804 people died from firearms in 2013, American lawmakers on the federal level did nothing to combat one of the largest killers in our country.

The problem is that gun sales are big business and organizations such as the National Rifle Association have deep pockets. According to, an organization dedicated to tracking money in politics, the NRA and its affiliates contributed almost a million dollars to candidates and spent $3,360,000 lobbying in 2014 alone.

The only way to combat money like that is with votes. Political change comes when voters start voting out politicians who work with the NRA and voting in politicians who want to fix the problem.

The solution to gun violence in terms of gun control is two-fold. The first step is to ban all assault rifles. There is no legal reason to own a firearm which is explicitly designed for killing a large amount of people in a small amount of time. Assault rifles are bad for home defense because of their large caliber bullet and length. They are illegal to hunt with in most places and are not suited to most forms of hunting. That leaves recreational target practice as the primary legal use, which is a ridiculous reason to sell weapons designed for war.

The second aspect of gun control is to start treating guns as the dangerous machines that they are. In order to get a driver’s license in Maryland, a mandatory 60 hours of documented practice is required as well as 30 hours of instruction from a government trained instructor and a test to prove competency.   

In order to buy a longarm (rifle or shotgun) in Maryland, you need to show identification. That’s it.

This disparity is as glaring as it is confusing. Gun deaths in America are up to 10.4 per 100,000 people, the highest of any developed nation according to statistics collected by the non-profit health research center The majority of these deaths are not crimes but accidental deaths from improperly handled or stored firearms. That is why instruction and training are important for dealing with gun deaths.

A combination of expanded background checks, prolonged training, and a total assault rifle ban will cut down on intentional and unintentional gun violence and bring the U.S.A into the 21st century with all of its civilized counterparts.

Will Bolton is a Perspective Editor for The Patriot and