By Jessie Bruner
With the most recent presidential election hanging over Americans’ heads, issues such as abortion, immigration, and national debt have been topics for debate, and topics that most Americans consider to be there number one concern. Based on these topics, Americans tend to make their decisions on whom to vote for. But one political issue could change the future, and the election, drastically, especially for millennials.
Gun control is a hot topic in most political battles. Some say that guns are the reason behind so much crime. Others say that gun control would only increase the rate of crime in the U.S. But some recent studies have shown what other countries have done with their gun laws, and how it works.
Time magazine wrote an article on Switzerland’s commitment to guns and gun safety. Helena Bachmann, a writer for Time, states that “[u]nlike some other heavily armed nations, Switzerland’s gun ownership is deeply rooted in a sense of patriotic duty and national identity. Weapons are kept at home because of the long-held belief that enemies could invade tiny Switzerland quickly, so every soldier had to be able to fight his way to his regiment’s assembly point.”
However, the Council on Foreign Relations provided evidence that in the United States, there were 88.8 firearms per 100 people in 2007, with Canada trailed at 30.8. In 2013, the U.S. found that 3.54 homicides per 100,000 people were firearm related, while Canada showed a mere 0.38. The evidence is clear from these two countries, that less firearms in the country resulted in less firearm-related homicides.
Should the U.S. choose to follow Switzerland’s mandatory gun safety regime and hope for the best for their citizens? Or would less legal guns result in less firearm-related homicides and crime? What would either option mean for millennials?
Gun safety and laws like Switzerland’s could give America hope for the future. Hope that we could maintain our firearms and know how to use them in the event of an emergency. This could also result in more personal safety if used properly. The regime works for Switzerland, so why not the U.S.? However, the evidence is also clear for the United States and Canada. Would stricter gun control result in fewer homicides?
For the average millennial, the Switzerland approach would mean they would need to obtain a firearm and take annual gun safety courses to maintain proper skill levels and improve safety measures. If we take the stricter gun control route, this would mean that some Americans would have to give up their firearms, and inevitably, their right to the Second Amendment, which is the “right of the people to keep bear Arms” and that is “shall not be infringed.”
A study done by Cato Institute says that in 2013, more millennials then ever before were in support of allowing private ownership of assault weapons. 70% of people ages 18 to 24 voiced the opinion in favor of firearms, compared to their older counterparts. Out of those interviewed, aged 45 to 54, only 54% said they wanted to keep the firearm laws where they were.
As it stands now, more millennials are likely to support less strict gun laws and believe that owning and being able to properly fire a gun makes them feel more safe and secure in their own country. In contrast, however, the same study stated, “millennials are less likely to own a firearm.” They found that they are “half as likely to report owning a firearm as those over 55.” This offers an interesting contrast between the two results.
Whatever the decision, to own a gun or not, to keep the gun laws as they are or make them more strict, millennials have the obligation to be informed and stay informed on the issue. Whatever the decision, it could mean a large lifestyle change for anyone involved in the issue. Whether your opinion is “guns kill people,” or “people kill people,” the responsibility to make our nation a safe place for ourselves and future generations weighs heavily on our shoulders.