A recent study by the World Health Organisation found that of children under the age of 15 killed by guns, 91% of them lived in America; a statistic made worse when on average, 24 children are shot at each day in the US.
The 17 lives taken in the most recent tragedy in Florida has once again raised the question of gun control policy in the US – a country that has seen more than 200 school shootings in six years since the devastation of the Sandy Hook shooting.
The number of Americans that die from gunfire is so great that there have been more fatalities between 1968-2011 from gunfire than the total number of American casualties in all US wars.
Compare this to a country such as Australia who had a mass school shooting where 35 lives were lost in 1996, and after strict gun legislation, there has not been a mass shooting since – a mass shooting is where more than five lives are lost – there were 13 mass shootings between 1979-1996.
How Should America Address The Problem Of Guns?
Donald Trump, in vintage Donald Trump style, has commented on the recent shootings with the endorsement of arming teachers with guns.
The President believes fighting fire with fire is the best way to solve the issue of gun crime, and that having US teachers sent out on firearm training courses would lower the horrific tragedies that have recently happened in America:
“If you had a teacher who was adept at firearms, they could very well end the attack very quickly.’
‘Where a teacher would have a concealed gun on them, they would for special training and they would be there [in schools], and you would no longer have a gun-free zone”
— Donald Trump
Trump’s comments, although he acknowledged were controversial, were no real surprise considering the President’s response to the attacks in Paris November 2015; Mr Trump back in 2015 was quick to point to the fact that if: ‘bullets went the other way, there wouldn’t be the same carnage‘.
Is Arming Teachers The Best Policy?
The President’s alarming answer to resolve such an issue is addressed more diplomatically by New York Times columnist, Andrew Sorkin.
Sorkin argues that to deal with guns in America, the banks should be taking more of a lead on the matter:
“Collectively, they have more leverage over the gun industry than any lawmaker. And it wouldn’t be hard for them to take a stand.”
— Andrew Sorkin, New York Times
The argument here is the stance credit card issuers take on the purchasing of products such as Bitcoin and other legal products; the likes of Citigroup and Bank of America have all banned the ability to purchase virtual currencies yet you can buy a firearm with these credit cards.
Should the banks choose to freeze the ability to buy guns, like they have with types of currency, there could be more control over their purchasing.
The leverage these banks have could be a game changer for security checks and the ‘correct’ personnel who should be in possession of a firearm. Sorkin goes on to highlight how companies such as VISA try to take a lead on messages such as “corporate responsibility”, yet give off the wrong message when continuing to allow the purchasing of an AR rather than a virtual currency,
Would Either Of These Methods Solve Gun Crime?
The argument against the banks is how such policy would promote the trading of cash for guns, and increase the chances of black market trade; more likely to encourage firearms to be in the ‘wrong hands’.
Conversely, arming teachers with guns will only likely see more bullets fly over the heads of children in schools – hardly the answer to a country that’s meant to be the leader of the free world.
The best policy seems to be to mirror the Australian answer to the 1996 tragedy. The barriers of the Second Amendment prohibit the obvious, but if the US really wants to take a stand on the matter, then look at where such implementations have worked.