Why Gun Control Is Important
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Politics and Activism

Why Gun Control Is Important

No, the Second Amendment doesn't protect your right to hurt others.

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Why Gun Control Is Important
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Across administrations, the question of how to control access to guns has never been completely answered. Tragedy after tragedy leads to little reform, regardless of the leaders. Most recently, President Obama had passed a law to restrict gun access of the mentally ill. As someone who has spent many hours wondering what exactly can be done about gun control and who has some background in understanding mental illnesses and a deep interest in public policy, I think this was an intelligent and effective move. However, the current administration chose to end that policy, despite the even more recent shootings at a concert in Las Vegas and at a church in Texas, in addition to many more these past two years.

The most important question asked when these shootings happen, regardless of background or political affiliation, is how it could have been prevented. At the end of the day, there is not a single person who can say, guilt-free, that they do not care that people died as a result of something that could have easily been prevented. Therefore, a look into the past is required--suffering should never be ignored, even in someone's individual life. In the case of mass shootings, these aren't once in a lifetime situations that happen rarely. In fact, the gun violence archive reports that in 2017, there were 15,557 confirmed deaths as a result of gun violence in the US. 732 of those were children under the age of 11 and 3,232 were those older than eleven but still younger than 17. That means that 3,964 children, or 24% of all shootings in 2017, resulted in the death of minors, and of those almost 16,000 deaths, more than 2,000 were unintentional.

In fact, the most famous shootings in 2017 were the Las Vegas concert shooting and the Texas church shooting. While the perpetrator of the Las Vegas shooting had no priors, the person who murdered 26 innocent people attending church should not have been allowed to own a gun, let alone use one on civilians--once again, innocent and unarmed civilians.

This begs the question as to why nothing has been done up to this point. A common excuse is that the time after a shooting is a time to let families grieve and to let them recover before all the dirty business of losing someone to something as tragic as gun violence is brought up again. The funny thing is, as someone who has lost many people in my own life and not even to gun violence, the pain of losing someone never goes away. Sure, it hurts acutely when it initially occurs, but just because time passes and living becomes easier does not mean that you are no longer hurt by the pain of losing someone permanently. So, this "decency" excuse does not really pass the "bs" test. What would pass the "bs" test is someone explaining that while people lost someone they loved, their loved one did not die in vain or explaining that things could be learned from their death and that nobody would have to die like that again.

Regardless of the source used, these mass shootings have been occurring in the US for more than 50 years. Innocent people have died for more than 50 years, and nothing has effectively been done to prevent the occurrence of these tragedies. In fact, it is January 11, 2018 today, and there have already been 1,314 gun-related deaths and injuries in the US. Nothing has been proposed thus far to prevent these avoidable deaths.

The most common argument given by conservatives and advocates for limited gun control such as the NRA is that controlling access to guns infringes on the rights of Americans from coast to coast. American history classes have taught us that the second amendment of the constitution protect the rights of a person to bear arms. However, they neglect the parts of the constitution that protect our rights to freedom, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, all which are irrelevant unless the said person is actually alive.

When someone is suicidal, you don't let them have weapons in reach. You take away any guns, knives, pills, and anything else that could be used as a means to harm themselves. That's done to protect a single person's life--so why are we not doing this to protect the masses as well? Sure, someone at some point will probably find a way around it, but that statement neglects to take into account the hundreds and possibly thousands of other lives saved by restricting access to firearms. Personally, I would rather comfort someone who was upset that they could not get a gun license than a family who has lost someone to gun violence, but hey, that's just me.

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