Opinions

Shots fired: the debate on gun control


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MARCH ON WASHINGTON FOR GUN CONTROL / Assemblance at the US Capitol Reflecting Pool on the national Mall just off 3rd Street in Washing DC on Saturday morning, 26 January 2013. COURTESY OF ELVERT BARNES VIA FLICKER

It’s not too soon- let’s talk about guns.

 

RORY LARSON | larso066@rangers.uwp.edu

Gun control— it means many different things to many different people, but let us have some real talk here. Gun control means controlling guns. We as Americans have options for how we would like to pursue the issue. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, and in our polarized country, we often seem to forget the complexity of issues and boil it down to being on one side or the other- ban guns or no regulation. It is not. The following is a series of four common arguments against gun control, and responses to them.

  1. “Our country was founded on an uprising against the government. Our guns are meant to protect us from the government and the second amendment says so.”

 

 

Well, that is a lot to unpack from the get-go. Our country was indeed founded on an uprising, but there are some fundamental misconceptions there that many people fail to recognize. The American colonies wanted fundamental rights that were secured to British citizens, to have representation in parliament and a say in how the colonies were run. It was only after Britain refused to grant Americans those rights after many attempts at diplomacy did war break out. War was not our first option.

The second amendment reads, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” If you believe that gives Americans the right to bear arms constitutionally, you would be correct. But there is that other part–a well regulated militia. Individual gun owners who may or may not have proper training and are certainly not well regulated do not make a citizen’s army. If that alone was not enough, since the constitution there have been many technological advances that make the right to own guns to protect yourself from the government completely obsolete. Guns will not protect you from the SWAT team, an army or nukes.

  1. “Guns protect us from bad guys. Anyways, criminals will find a way to get guns no matter what.”

Theoretically, guns can be used for protection and sometimes are. Whether or not this is actually how guns are used is another story. Armed men and women have stopped criminals with guns before, but it is far more often that “good guys with guns” add more tension to armed situations and are more likely to misfire or make the situation worse. Human error is just a fact of life.

Statistics have shown that the “good guy with a gun” protecting the innocent is little more than an occasional heroic story with little basis in everyday life. In homes with guns, people are three times more likely to be killed than unarmed homes according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Also, the more people that own guns makes the number of guns for criminals to access increase exponentially. The NRA opposes regulations on stricter gun storage. Just because people find ways around laws and regulations does not mean we should sit idly by and let it happen. Laws are what keep this country a civilized democracy. If we have no faith in laws to help protect our citizens we would not have any laws or regulations at all.

  1. “Background checks are too invasive.”

If you are a responsible gun owner you should have nothing to hide in a background check. Background checks are standard procedure for nearly every job and your personal information is now less private than it ever has been. A simple lookup on WCCA in Wisconsin will turn up records of just about anyone who’s broken the law, whether it was a minor slip up or a felony. Proposing background checks does not mean that, across the board, anyone who has had a legal transgression will be banned from purchasing a firearm but it does allow us to have a better system to identify higher risk individuals and prevent possible gun violence.

  1. “What about hobbies like hunting or collecting?”

Many hobbies have laws. Some people like to make bone-jewelry, but did you know that owning human remains can be illegal. Some people collect cars and have to get special license plates and follow regulations about what conditions they can and cannot take it out in. People love animals, but over a certain number of pets you have to have a special license and certain animals are illegal to own. Proposing that certain types of guns be more restricted or have more regulated ways of obtaining them does not inhibit hobbyists. A gun should have at least as much regulation as owning cars and driving them in the United States.

Gun control is about protecting people. Individual rights are important in America, but the selfishness or short-sightedness of certain individuals should not be allowed to override the safety of millions. America is the only place mass shootings like this occur. America is the only place that gun violence on this scale in a so-called world power happen. Take a stance and look for a solution and help prevent the nearly 96 deaths a day (CDC, 2016) that occur due to inadequate gun control in this country.

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