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Why can we not talk about gun control?

Graph depicting the views of gun owners and non-gun owners in regards to key aspects of freedom.

Pew Research Center

Graph depicting the views of gun owners and non-gun owners in regards to key aspects of freedom.

Kristen Rodriguez, Staff Writer

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Editor’s Note: Kristen Rodriguez is a freshman at UNCW majoring in Political Science with a minor in International Relations. Kristen is a staff writer for The Seahawk and writes many of the pieces featured in Political Perspectives. All opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. Kristen may be found on Twitter @kristen_rodd. All suggestions and inquiries may be sent via email to sld9240@uncw.edu

After every mass shooting in the United States comes a spike of outrage and a call for gun control. Yet every time, it seems no real change comes out of it. The question most people ask here is why? Why does our government, one who claims to do all they can to protect us, allow us to go through these horrible events and do hardly anything about it?  

A simple answer to point to is gun lobbying. In the 2016 election cycle alone, a total of $6,006,000 was given to members of congress by the gun lobby, $5.9 million going to Republican candidates, and $106,000 going to a Democratic candidate, according to Politico. Due to this, members of Congress are not particularly inclined to pass gun control bills. 

The debate on gun control has become a highly ideological one. Conservative Republicans say gun control would be a violation of their Second Amendment rights, liberal Democrats say that human lives are more important than gun ownership. The notion that gun control activists are trying to take away guns from law-abiding citizens is simply not true.  

The point of gun control is not to completely eradicate guns from the market or take them away from anyone who owns one; the majority of what gun control is supposed to be is to make it more difficult to own one. This includes having a strict age limit on when you can buy guns, mental health evaluations, and extensive background checks. However so far, any attempt to start this conversation has been met with fire and fury about how this is the first step in restricting the rights of our citizens. So naturally, if you are a good, law-abiding citizen, you should have no issue passing these evaluations and therefore are not having your rights infringed upon. 

This makes people angry, rightfully so. When people all over the country are dying, it is not something you can look over and certainly not something you can brush under the rug. In 2017 alone, the Gun Violence Archive reported 346 mass shootings occurred, one being the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. Up until a certain age we are required to go to school and get an education, and while we have the right to gun ownership, it should not be too much to expect that we also have the right to live our lives without having to be constantly on the watch for potential danger or worrying for our safety.  

In other parts of the world, such as Australia stricter gun laws are not an anomaly. In 1996 Australia passed stricter gun laws following mass shootings that sparked up around the world, and they have not had a mass shooting since reported NBC News. While there is no real way to prove that mass shootings stopped because of those laws, it is worth noting.  

In the 1960s, the United States saw that more and more people were dying as a result of car accidents. Therefore, they passed mandatory seat belt laws and redesigned roads to make them safer, according to the CDC. Due to that, deaths related to car accidents have declined. Should the same concept not apply to gun control as well? 

Now we are faced with a situation wherein the last ten years, six of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history have happened and we cannot begin to sit down and have real conversations about how to handle it. It seems everyone gets riled up and begin making accusations that are not true.

This cycle will continue until someone decides they have had enough and right now seems as good as any for that to be true. Especially when we live in a country where high schoolers all over the country are walking out of school to protest a government that has done nothing to protect them from the violence they have been subjected to.

1 Comment

One Response to “Why can we not talk about gun control?”

  1. Gene Ralno on February 24th, 2018 1:01 pm

    A problem is the kids hear only one side of the issue. To leftist democrats inciting these kids, I’d say for God’s sake, stop protesting and protect them. As a starting point, I’d recommend a program like Butler County, Ohio Sheriff Richard Jones just announced. Even those indoctrinated by public schools know that since 1950, only one percent of the mass shootings have occurred where citizens are allowed to defend themselves. And in Europe, every mass shooting occurred where guns are banned.

    Most didn’t have to watch the Parkland news to know two things. The shooter was mentally deranged and nobody returned fire. But I sense a sea change in Florida because I didn’t hear the usual chant, “grab the guns, grab the guns, I hate Trump.” On the other hand, a number of rational students asked what was expected of the coach who was acting as school security officer at the time. And the obvious answer actually was spoken out loud. He was unarmed so all he could do was to get between the shooter and the kids and of course, he lost his life.

    This time, four local sheriff’s deputies were nearby but right outside the kill zone. They stayed there until Coral Springs Police Officers arrived to relieve them. Since that moment another state has established at the larger schools, police sub-stations with permanently assigned officers. For decades, many like myself have written and called on policy makers to provide physical protection in public schools. But it must be at least as effective as is provided for celebrities, museums and parades.

    I heard more than a few in Florida calling for professional armed security. The days of hearing only from leftist democrats who repeatedly howl to grab the guns, have a conversation and make new laws, seem to be waning. Perhaps the political insanity against guns is softening and they’ll actually protect the kids. Perhaps Parkland is growing up ahead of its peers but the rational voices are small.

    Student hysteria roused by big media has forced the president to consider raising the qualifying age and prohibiting bump stocks. The bump stock was an appliance originally designed to assist a small number of disabled persons. Prohibiting it will have no effect because they’re unnecessary toys for an even smaller group of hobbyists. Most people still have never heard of it. It’s ironic that the extreme demonstrations also may raise the qualifying age to purchase or possess a firearm and thereby disarm more victims.

    If we cannot afford armed security in every public school, perhaps Executive Branch job descriptions could be amended to require a few armed civil servants to spend a day or two per month watching over points of egress and regress. There are tens of thousands of them, they work for the president, they’re trained and they perform no work more important than this. I know we have 93,000 schools but protection could be rotated and shared with volunteers until school budgets are adjusted. Seems the Department of Education could fund them from their already colossal budgets.

    The president knows in his heart that banning bump stocks will generate no effects whatsoever. They’ll disappear from private hands as machine guns did in 1934. But looking at the data, school shootings increased dramatically in the ‘60s. In fact, during Obama’s eight years, school shooting fatalities totaled 44 percent of all the school shootings in the entire 20th century. And during that same period, the per capita casualty rate from shootings in the European Union was actually 27 percent higher than the U.S. rate.

    Clearly, the public school policy of running and hiding in the nearest closet has not worked. It’s time to face deranged persons, felons and terrorists with superior force. Failure to face our tormentors will cause 120 million Americans to believe the government is interested only in tightening its grip on the people.

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