USA vs. The World: Gun Control


In the United States, there have been frequent mass shootings, including school shootings, under the topic of gun violence. Still, little to no action has been presented by today’s U.S. government about a plan to stop these massacres. The FBI made a statement regarding gun violence in America stating, “more Americans have died in domestic terrorism attacks than international ones since September 11th, 2001.” Assault weapons are being distinguished as sporting weapons as an easy way for people to purchase them and in many states it is legal to carry a gun in public even without a license. Former president, Barack Obama, spoke out on the issue in 2015 when he was advocating for stricter gun control stating, “When Australia had a mass killing… It was just so shocking the entire country said, ‘well, we’re going to completely change our gun laws,’ and they did and it hasn’t happened since.” 

Just last month in the United States, on August 3rd, 2019 a white, twenty-one year old male shot and killed twenty people and left over two dozen people injured in El Paso, Texas in a local Walmart. The shooting is now known as the worst massacre on Hispanic people in recent United States history. Around 10:40 a.m. the shooter entered the Walmart, returned to his car, wrote a manifesto and proceeded back into the Walmart with a WASR-10, a semiautomatic rifle styled after an AK-47, in hand and immediately started shooting in the store. After the shooting he proceeded to get back into his car, pull up to an intersection, remove himself from the vehicle and surrender to police authorities.

The United States again; saddened but not shocked. The El Paso shooting was the seventh mass shooting in America in the year 2019.(excluding domestic violence and other crime related violence). It was also over the 250th shooting where more than four people were killed, excluding the killer in the United States this year. The El Paso shooter wrote a manifesto, in which he proclaimed“wanted to kill as many Mexicans as possible,” and referred to immigration on the southern border as a “Hispanic invasion of Texas.” In this manifesto he also mirrors the vocabulary of the current president Donald J. Trump using the words “invasion” and misuse of “open borders” to describe Democrats’ views on immigration. The FBI was treating the case as an act of domestic terrorism motivated by white supremacy. Currently in the United States there is no criminal charge for domestic terrorism and cases are classified under hate crimes and gun and conspiracy statutes. 

On the other side of the world, more than twenty years before the El Paso shooting, in Port Arthur, Tasmania, Australia another mass shooting occurred. On April 8th, 1996, thirty-five people were killed and twenty-three wounded by a twenty-eight year old white male shooter at a historical penal colony that was turned into a tourist attraction. This was known as Australia’s worst and biggest mass shooting ever. The shooter was found out to have the IQ of an eleven year old, was intellectually disabled and had a history of unstable behavior. The shooter never identified any kind of motive.

The reaction to this event in Australia was shocked and horrified. This single shooting changed everything in how the country viewed these weapons of war. The Australian government brought into light the National Firearms Agreement which made owning fully-automatic and semi-automatic rifles as well as pump-action shotguns illegal. The nation also issued a buyback of already purchased rifles and shotguns which led to over 640,000 guns being bought back and put into the hands of the Australian government. 

Mass Shooting: A phrase that most people in the United States know well and see all too frequently. The country with the most mass shootings in the world is, not surprisingly, America. On the other hand, a country with only two large mass shootings within the past 23 years, Australia, seems to be on the right page. Their government came together and enacted a plan to help make their country a more safe environment. In response to this action, there has been rather a silence of gun violence in Australia since. America has yet to make any kind of change to their gun policies.