Gun Control - A Necessary Conversation
The conversation surrounding gun control has become a huge debate, with some Americans fearful of this Administration threatening to take away their guns. The issue of gun control has been discussed in the past, mostly brought up after a mass shooting. The media pounces on the topic after such tragedies, and after a few weeks the coverage fades until the next mass shooting occurs. The Newtown shooting captured everyone’s attention. The world watched and witnessed 20 children and 6 adults killed on December 14, 2012. It was unfathomable. Most of us thought of our own precious children and grandchildren that could have been sitting in those classrooms that day. The nation felt the pain of those families left to endure pain that we could not imagine, and let’s not forget the children that survived the shooting and will now have to live the rest of their lives with the memories of that horrible day in America’s history. After the nation grieved, some people, including President Obama, felt it was time for a necessary conversation about gun control in this country.
The conversation of gun control has not taken place in our government because politicians feared the wrath of the National Rifle Association (NRA) wielding its power in Washington, and possibly ending the political careers of those brave enough to broach the subject. The Newton shooting changed all of that. People are angry and want to see something being done to put an end to these horrific mass shootings because we do not want to see any more of our loved ones, especially young children brutally murdered ever again. I think we all agree that we don’t want the Newtown shooting to be repeated, but what do we do to avoid this from happening again? I really don’t think we can totally avoid another mass shooting, but we can sit down and have a conversation as to measures that can be taken to lessen the likelihood of weapons getting into the wrong hands. Criminals will inevitably always manage to find a way to acquire guns. This is just a fact, and the second amendment allows law abiding citizens to possess and own a gun to protect themselves and their families from such criminals. The answer to this debate lies somewhere in the middle. Both sides of this debate need to discuss rational ideas to make America safer. Some ideas that have been discussed are:
1. Arming teachers – This is not a good idea for several reasons, one being that teachers have enough responsibility in the classroom without having to now be police officers. There is just too many ways the arming of teachers can go terribly wrong.
2. Making background checks more thorough – This is a valid idea. As it stands now, the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993 requires a background check on any prospective buyer of a firearm or explosive, but are these background check thorough enough? Doing a more thorough check of the mental health of prospective gun buyers could be one solution. Taking a little more time to allow the background checks to be a little more thorough is also an idea that should be considered.
3. Mandatory background checks for private gun sales – This is often called the “Gun Show Loophole” is not addressed at all by some states, and other states have various rules regarding background checks. There could possibly be a universal law to apply to all states that requires a thorough background check before a gun is purchased.
4. The ban of assault weapons – Is there a need for an average citizen to possess an assault weapon? There are other alternatives for a prospective gun owner to buy other than an assault rifle. The Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting left 12 people dead and 58 people injured because an assault weapon was used. The number of victims could possibly have been reduced if there had not been an assault weapon used by the killer.
There are many more ideas to address the issue of gun control, but whatever ideas are discussed both sides should come to the table ready to compromise. We cannot and should not take people’s second amendment rights away from them. They have every right to own a gun in this country. I would like to think that most gun owners are properly trained and use good judgment when handling their firearms. Gun owners should also realize that some people have very strong views against guns because they may have been a victim of gun violence. Some people never have touched a gun in their lives and don’t understand why people feel the need to arm themselves. The hope we can all have is that whatever legislation is agreed upon, it is fair to both sides and it protects all Americans from unnecessary gun violence. In the end, people are responsible for the gun violence, not the guns. All we can do is make it a little more difficult for criminals and the mentally ill to get their hands on a gun. For the law abiding and responsible citizens who want to buy guns, they should be allowed to do that, but you may have to be a little inconvenienced. We can only hope that the conversations regarding gun control will continue until we can come to some sort of compromise that will ensure the safety of all Americans.