The importance of specific strict gun laws


A sign made for a protest walk against gun violence. Photo Credit: Time Magazine

Michelle Navarro, Copy Editor

The debate of having stricter gun laws has become more commonly talked about by politicians and other communities as gun violence in the U.S. grows.  Recently, there have been deaths reported in multiple states because of people pulling their guns on others and using the excuse of feeling “threatened” when in reality, the “threat” was  not considered threatening at all.

These actions are resulting in whole communities being affected as not only adults are being shot, but minors as well. According to the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA), “The consequences of gun violence are more pervasive and affect entire communities, families, and children. With more than 25% of children witnessing an act of violence in their homes, schools, or community over the past year, and more than 5% witnessing a shooting, it becomes not just an issue of gun regulation, but also of addressing the impact on those who have been traumatized by such violence.” 

On April 17, a 16-year-old black teenager named Ralph Yarl was shot in the head and arm by homeowner Andrew Lester when he tried to pick up his siblings, but went to the wrong house. Despite his injuries, he was released from the hospital and is in recovery.

Other acts of gun violence have occurred in other states such as in North Carolina where three people were shot including a six-year-old in April. Robert Louis Singletary yelled at a group of children in the neighborhood after a ball had rolled into his front yard. When one of their parents started yelling back, Singletary went inside his home, came back out with a gun, and started shooting. The people who were shot were neighbors across the street having a barbeque. 

In Texas, two cheerleaders, Heather Roth and Peyton Washington, were shot by 25-year-old Pedro Tello Hernandez after mistakenly getting into his car after practice. Both were injured but have since been treated and have recovered.

All of these encounters resulted in serious injury and have similar factors in the outcome and because of this, people have been looking into the gun laws implemented in the U.S.

Two laws relating to the use of guns are the ‘stand your ground’ laws and the ‘castle doctrine’ which go further in depth on how people who own guns are allowed to handle dangerous situations. 

According to the  National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), ‘Stand Your Ground law’ states that people can use deadly force when they believe it to be necessary to defend themselves. This law is implemented in California 

 “The ‘Castle Doctrine’ is the legal notion that your home is your castle, and you have the right to use lethal force to defend your home and not retreat. States such as Texas, Ohio, North Carolina and more have enshrined the castle doctrine. 

It is laws like these that make people think it is okay to go ahead and take action when it is not necessary and also make them believe that they are backed up by these laws.

In the events stated, the main correlating factor is that the victims actions were accidents and there was no real reason for a gun to be used.  This is why the need for stricter gun laws and specifying the details of when and how it is appropriate to defend yourself in a dangerous situation is so important.