On April 20, 1999 two gunmen opened fire in Columbine high school located in Littleton, Colorado. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, juniors at Columbine High School, shot and killed as many as twenty-five of their classmates and faculty members, as well as themselves. They also wounded at least fourteen others. The two boys appeared to target athletes as most of the wounded kids were wearing sports clothes like football jerseys and hats (Fisher 1). Many lives were changed that day and most of the nation wondered what could have prevented such a horrifying act of violence. The issue of gun control was immediately brought to the forefront following this shooting. As a result of of this tragedy, many Americans questioned what limitations America should place on gun ownership. This question has been an ongoing debate in all of American politics over the past century. Without gun control, acts of violence such as this may only become more severe in the years to come.
The reasons that American citizens have been calling for controls on the ownership of guns are quite understandable. Violent crime in the United States has been an increasingly serious problem over the last few decades. In many of these violent crimes, guns have been an important factor. Paul Cotton, the author of the article "Gun Associated Violence Increasingly Viewed as Public Health Challenge- stats that "firearms alone are the eighth leading cause of death, taking some 35,000 lives in 1989 alone "fifty two percent of them suicides, forty two percent homicides, and the rest unintentional injuries-(3). This adds up for and overall rate of fourteen firearm related deaths per one hundred thousand people (Lampo 1). .
Firearm death rates have been climbing since the 1920's. In the United States on average, there are 733 shootings each day. In 1998, one of every five adolescent deaths was gun related. During the 1990's, gunshots killed almost three times as many people as did acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), and more than five times the number of Americans killed in the Vietnam War (Cotton 3).