By Kimothy Jones Jr.
December 14, 2012. The Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting is all over the news. Twenty children and six faculty members are killed, and it becomes yet another tragic event at the hands of a disgruntled person with an automatic assault rifle.
Therein lies my question: why should civilians be allowed to own high-powered assault rifles? President Obama and many others have called for stricter gun laws. Mainly on automatic weapons.
There are those who feel the need for stricter laws on guns in general. However, to be honest, taking away guns completely from citizens will probably never happen. The best thing to do is to stick to stopping assault rifles.
Despite the number of mass shootings such as Sandy Hook, the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007, or gun violence altogether, gun owners stick by their right to bear arms.
“I absolutely do not believe we should have stricter gun laws,” said Sarah Allison, a WPU student. “I believe in the U.S Constitution, and people should have the right to own guns and defend themselves if need be.”
Allison’s sentiments are echoed by not just gun owners, but folks that simply believe in the rights afforded by the 2nd amendment.
Many will say that criminals will find ways to get guns whether there are laws set in place or not.
That excuse isn’t good enough in the eyes of others, including myself. If we have to find a way to get guns out of the hands of criminals first before moving to citizens, fine, but saying criminals will find a way isn’t an excuse not to try and do SOMETHING.
“I definitely think we should try and get the guns out of the hands of the felons first,” Said Ross Behuniak, a WPU student.” Every gun owner should be required to have a safe. We should have more funding and effort on the part of law enforcement to make sure your guns are locked up.”
Behuniak’s comments bring up another point, which is safety. Guns owners tend to just point at criminals, and say their gun rights shouldn’t be taken away because of them. In reality, there have been tragic situations where the gun in question belonged to a “responsible gun owner,” but was too easily accessed by someone who shouldn’t have it.
For example, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, the gunman of the Sandy Hook shooting, used his mother’s semi-automatic rifle during the shooting. I’m sure that criminal gun activity outweighs those situations, but there have been enough instances where gun owners have slipped up to make you wonder.
The number one thing that most anti-gun Americans are calling for is stricter universal background checks. ome suggest medical checks and history of aggression be included. Like I said before, taking away all the guns from the people (i.e. handguns) will probably never happen. Though handguns are still a debatable topic.
Take the Trayvon Martin case for example.
If George Zimmerman didn’t have a gun on him that day, would Martin be alive? Would Zimmerman have even had the courage to follow him in the first place? What about owners of hand guns who decide to kill their spouse over domestic disputes, would that help save lives? Even though Zimmerman was acquitted, should he really be allowed to own any type of gun? Should citizens be allowed to carry concealed weapons?
“I’m a little concerned about the legislature’s rights to carry concealed weapons even at some places where you can drink,” said Larry Griffin, WPU assistant controller.
These are just simple questions to ponder on; there are probably people in America who would love to live in a world where any and all guns are prohibited, but again, it’s unreasonable to think that will happen.
Gun laws are different in every state, some are already stricter as they are, and some are not. Depending on where you get your statistics from, there are some that show neighborhoods/cities with higher responsible gun ownership have less crime.
Even so, that does not take away the danger of non-safety, which is where the stricter background checks could help.
“There just isn’t a perfect way to regulate people from doing stupid stuff with guns,” said Allison.
And she is correct, but that does not mean we should do nothing. As long as people own hand guns or regular rifles, there will always be some amount of violent crimes. However, if assault weapons are taken away, we can surely save enough lives to make some kind of difference. Something is always better than nothing.
In terms of the 2nd amendment, as a history lover, people must realize that in 1776 when that amendment was made by our founding fathers, it was a different era and situation. Our society has evolved, and so have the weapons.
Trying to guess the thoughts of men who lived over 200 years ago is difficult, but would Jefferson, Washington and company still feel the same way if they were living in 2013? Are having TONS of deadly weapons in all the homes really what they wanted? Those questions are up for debate, but it’s something to think about.
Both sides of the gun control argument have reasonable concerns and points. At the moment though, neither side has enough points or statistics to win, which is why the debate will continue on, and why the government is taking precautions on what decision they choose to make.