Rural Gun Control: Why legislators need to consider more inclusive gun control

Ever since the tragedies of Parkland and El Paso, and the many gun violence related incidents before them, tension is mounting in America. Many people are calling for mass gun reform, especially younger people who are frustrated with lawmakers for not putting legislation for this on the forefront. According to the Atlantic, America has 4.4% of the world’s population, but almost half of the world’s civilian-owned guns. More than ever before, people are losing their lives due to unprecedented violence that can most likely be reduced by common sense gun reform. However, gun reform itself is complex, and different forms of it are needed for different areas. While gun reform is important, there tends to be more of a focus on urban or suburban gun control, but rural reform is just as important and dangerous, and unfortunately less discussed.

People in rural communities tend to have more benefits of gun use. According to Vox, “People in rural areas are far more likely to grow up with guns, and to use them for hunting and recreation. They might also face longer police response times, and so feel an increased need for a firearm in the home as a matter of personal safety.”

Due to these reasons, guns  are way more   accessible in these areas. Gun accessibility, though, can have its consequences. For example, death by suicide using a gun is more likely to occur, and it accounts for most gun deaths in rural areas. Unfortunately, this has been largely disregarded in the public talks about gun control. While these incidents are not usually declared national tragedies like mass shootings, they are still lives lost that may have been prevented if there was more gun control in rural areas.

Although there are not a lot of proposed solutions to this particular rural issue, there is some push for “firearm choice” laws which allows for people to voluntarily put themselves on “do not sell-to” lists. This is a popular choice because it allows for people to make their own decision to waive their own rights. It is an option that people may take if they believe they are a possible risk to themselves or others.

For the future when people consider gun control, especially on a national scale, it is important to consider the lives of not only specific communities but all communities, and how they may be impacted by gun violence differently.

Sources: LA Times, Vox

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