Op-ed: Gun Reform

Staffer discusses a way to slow down gun violence in America

The last mass shooting in Parkland highlighted a major problem in America. Far too often, the nation has succumbed to mass shootings in schools, for example the shootings at Columbine, Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook. We should be pushing for ways to prevent these massacres from happening again. Without impeding on the individual’s right to own a gun, a solution is to increase taxation on guns and ammunition to pay for the burdens on society such as the increased amount of security needed in public places and harmful products being placed on the market.

At Southwestern High School in Shelbyville, Indiana, security measures are in place in the event of a school shooting. According to WTHR, an NBC branch that covers news in Indianapolis, Southwestern has sirens and lights in place, bullet proof doors and Shelbyville police can track any security breaches in real time to respond to a situation in seconds. Further, each teacher has their own panic button and a box in the corner of the classroom to alert police if the shooter is near or far from them. Of course, the price for security like this is $400,000 or more. However, the school should not have to pay for security that should be widely available to all schools. By taxing ammunition and guns, the dangerous products that cause the need for such drastic security measures, this type of security, or other methods as well, can be implemented at other high schools nationwide.

According to Atlantic Firearms, the average AR-15 Semi-Automatic Assault rifle varies between $500 and $700 and ammunition for one round is between 40 and 70 cents. Putting a “sin” tax on assault weapons and ammunition, similar to alcohol or tobacco, will generate millions of dollars in revenue for the national government, and in turn can be used to protect schools that need it so desperately. When a “sin” tax is implemented, people will think twice about purchasing ammunition or guns, which in turn limits the amount of harm these weapons can possibly inflict on society.

DC v. Heller grants individuals the right to own guns so long as they purchase and go through all the steps to obtain one. A tax does not take that right away, but rather makes people think about what is important to them. If guns are important to an individual, then the tax is no problem, just a bit more expensive, which helps fund school security anyways so there is no real bother there. If guns are not important enough to an individual, then the tax is doing its job and keeping less guns readily available.

Gun violence, especially in schools, is a growing problem in America that other wealthy nations do not face. America has had this fascination with guns that has made guns a large part of American culture and society. And ultimately, society pays the price, with according to Gun Violence Archive, over 400 people shot and more than 100 killed in various schools across the country since Sandy Hook took place due to sick individuals with a gun.

For conservatives that put into the mainstream that society needs updated security measures and a better sense of security in schools, this kind of tax will help them put their money where their mouths are. For every purchase of a gun or ammunition, a school gets more money put towards helping security measures. This tax will not bar the purchase of guns, but it will deter those away that do not want to pay the extra change. As well, those that do still want to use their Second Amendment right to purchase a firearm will be helping out schools and keeping children safe within them.

I am not saying a “sin” tax on guns and ammunition will solve the problem of school shootings. It is not a cure for the epidemic of gun violence. However, a “sin” tax will better secure schools using its revenue and ultimately will provide some sort of treatment to the disease of gun violence.