Everything You Need To Know About Gun Control, Rather Than Sending Your "Thoughts And Prayers"

Everything You Need To Know About Gun Control, Rather Than Sending Your "Thoughts And Prayers"

There is a difference between gun control and a gun ban.
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Gun control in America has always been a hotly debated topic, especially in the last week, since the tragic shooting in Parkland, Florida. Although there has been a spike in gun violence throughout the last few years, we have also seen a pattern come out of that; there is a shooting, we send thoughts and prayers, we forget about it and move on, hoping that another tragedy isn't coming our way. We've learned that this doesn't work. Change needs to be made, and that change needs to start with gun control.

"It's not the guns, it's the people."

Of course it's the people! Not one person is asking for a background check on the guns, we're asking for a background check on the people. Obviously, someone who wants to commit murder can do so by means other than a gun, but guns just make it so easy. Why not make it harder for them? A lot of people have pointed out that mental health plays a role in tragedies like this. Guess what can stop someone with poor mental health from grabbing an AR-15 and murdering a large group of people? Background checks and mental health tests.

"But you're violating the Second Amendment by supporting gun control."

I understand that some people consider guns to be a hobby, whether that be for hunting, target practice, or simply to look at. I also understand that a lot of people feel safer when they have a gun in their home. Do you want to hunt? Fine. You want a gun to protect yourself? Fine. No one needs an assault rifle, plain and simple. Here's a history lesson on the second amendment: when the second amendment was put into place, the guns that existed fired one round every one to two minutes. Guns today are capable of firing up to forty-five rounds per minute. The weapon has changed and the laws need to follow suit. No one is trying to take away guns from everyone, or for good, we're just saying that a background check to make sure that someone is responsible enough to own a weapon doesn't seem like a violation of any kind, or a lot to ask for. There is a difference between Gun Control and a Gun Ban.

"Gun control won't make a difference, they won't care about breaking the law to obtain a gun."

Although I'm sure you've heard and ignored this argument before, I'm going to say it here and now. In order to buy a gun in Japan, someone would first have to attend an all-day class, followed by a written exam. These are held only once per month. Separate from this class, someone would also have to take and pass a class at a shooting range. After completing both of these tests, that person would have to go to the hospital and pass mental health test and a drug test. After passing those, this person would have to complete a background check with the police. After providing specific details on where your gun is located in your home, and where the bullets are separately stored, this person is the owner of a new gun. They would have to let the police inspect the gun once a year, and they would have to re-take the class and exam every three years. Wow. After typing all of that, I've realized that Japan has a long and lengthy, and probably pretty annoying process in place in order to own a gun. You know what? Japan has almost completely eliminated gun-related deaths. That sounds worth it to me. Australia had a mass shooting on April 28th, 1996. Afterwards, Australia enacted stricter gun laws. There has not been one mass shooting in Australia since. Don't tell me that gun control won't make a difference.

"It's not a gun issue, it's a mental health issue."

It's both, actually. That's what the background check is for. If we had a mandatory background check, people with severe mental illnesses wouldn't be able to so easily purchase guns. Every country has mental health problems. America is the only country to have seventeen school shootings in 2018 alone.

"We should just arm teachers!"

You're kidding, right? Teachers aren't even given pencils and paper to give to their students because "it's not in the budget." You're telling me that there is suddenly enough money in the budget to provide every teacher with a gun? Besides the cost of the gun, teachers would also need to be trained on how to use the gun, which is especially difficult in a high-pressure situation. Arming teachers also puts the expectation on them that they would have to risk their own safety for the safety of their students. Many teachers love their students and they would be willing to do this if they had to, but here's the thing; arming teachers with a gun puts them into a situation every day where they have to decide if, in the case of an emergency, they would be willing to die for their students. That is not a burden that they signed up for. Stop telling people that the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is by enlisting a good guy with a gun.

"Let the families grieve, now isn't the time to talk about gun control. Don't politicize the deaths of the victims."

Oh, no? So when is it time? "Thoughts and prayers" was fine to say until it became the only thing being said. Yes, the families are grieving, but those same people are the ones who are going to demand justice, demand change, demand that something is done by our leaders. They will not back down and they will not rest. They don't want to. I'm saying it right now; if I am ever killed in a mass shooting, you may swiftly and immediately politicize my death in order to support gun control.

"People die from car crashes, drug overdose, etc... Where is your outrage about that?"

My outrage is not mutually exclusive, thank you.

"So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!" - Donald Trump

If I called the police and said that I would like to report an unstable and emotionally disturbed young male who has behavioral and social issues, who owns guns and who may be a danger to society, the police would tell me that there is nothing they can do, because none of those things are illegal. Donald Trump has no right to preach on reporting suspicions of mental disturbance when he is the one who revoked the Obama-Era bill that made it harder for those with a mental illness to obtain a gun. Trump accepted $30 million from the NRA in 2016. Don't be fooled, Donald Trump has been willfully bribed to stop any progress when it comes to gun control.

To the victims of the shooting in Parkland, Florida, and to anyone who has ever been impacted by gun violence, I hear you. I hear your anger, and I hear your calls for change. The youth are the future; we have a say in what comes next. Never stop fighting. There are people who know that you are not actors, who know that you are not being influenced by anything but your experiences. You are warriors, and I cannot wait to see you change the world.



Cover Image Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

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Austin Alexander Burridge, Volunteer Advocate, Shares 3 Great Reasons to Volunteer and Help Others

Austin Alexander Burridge is an avid academic who studies Environmental Science at Winona State University and believes that work in the service of others is a key pillar to personal development.

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Sometimes it's easy for someone to adopt a "me, me, me" attitude. While focusing on oneself, a person may feel nice in the moment, but serving and helping others will bring lasting benefits. While there are many great reasons to serve and help others, there are three universal truths that resonate with volunteers around the globe.

Austin Alexander Burridge's 3 Reasons to Volunteer:

1. Accomplishment

Often, people fall into a trap of focusing on themselves when they are feeling down. Maybe someone did not get a job they wanted. Or perhaps a person gets dumped by an expected lifelong companion. Maybe someone feels they have underachieved after looking at Facebook and seeing great things a high school classmate has accomplished. When feeling down, helping others is a proven way to improve one's mood and attitude, and it can provide a sense of pride and accomplishment. The act of giving to those in need is an inherently good action and leaves people with a wonderful feeling of joy.

2. Gratitude

One can become more appreciative of life by serving others that have less. Whether volunteering at a soup kitchen, visiting the elderly at an assisted living center, or helping families after a natural disaster, service enables people to be grateful for what they have. Seeing people who have fewer advantages, especially those who are spirited and thankful for small things, allows one to realize just how fortunate he/she is in life.

3. Friendships

Volunteering is a great way to build meaningful friendships, not only with other volunteers but also with those who are served. One of the most profound and fascinating aspects of these relationships is how volunteers will learn from those served and vice versa. As these special bonds are built, they lead to impactful connections that last for years to come.

Of course, these are just a few reasons to volunteer and serve others. One can never go wrong by helping others as opposed to merely focusing on oneself. Volunteering invariably and inevitably contributes to personal growth, development, and satisfaction.

About Austin Alexander Burridge: Helping others has been of paramount importance to Austin, and as a part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Austin gave back to the community around him. He also has participated in annual peanut butter drives, The Minnesota Sandwich Project for the Homeless and collected canned goods for local food shelters. Additionally, Austin has a passion for the environment, which he pursued when visiting the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, and the Amazon Rain Forest while studying at the School of Environment Studies, which investigates ecological systems and their sustainability

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A Little Skepticism Goes A Long Way

Be informed citizens and verify what you see and hear.

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rahma
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These days more than ever before we are being bombarded constantly by a lot of news and information, a considerable amount of which is inaccurate. Sometimes there's an agenda behind it to mislead people and other times its just rumors or distortion of the facts. So, how do you sift through all this and get accurate information? How can you avoid being misled or brainwashed?

This is an important topic because the decisions each of us make can affect others. And if you are a responsible citizen your decisions can affect large numbers of people, hopefully positively, but negatively as well.

It's been said that common sense is not something that can be taught, but I am going to disagree. I think with the right training, teaching the fundamentals behind common sense can get people to have a better sense of what it is and start practicing it. All you will need is to improve your general knowledge and gain some experience, college is a good place for that, then add a little skepticism and you are on your way to start making sensible decisions.

One of the fundamental things to remember is not to believe a statement at face value, you must first verify. Even if you believe it's from a trusted source, they may have gotten their info from a questionable one. There's a saying that journalists like to use: "if your mother said, 'I love you' you should verify it.'" While this is taking it a bit too far, you get the idea.

If you feel that something is not adding up, or doesn't make sense then you are probably right. This is all the more reason to check something out further. In the past, if someone showed a picture or video of something that was sufficient proof. But nowadays with so many videos and picture editing software, it would have to go through more verification to prove its authenticity. That's not the case with everything but that's something that often needs to be done.

One way of checking if something sounds fishy is to look at all the parties involved and what do they have to gain and lose. This sometimes is easier to use when you're dealing with a politics-related issue, but it can work for other things where more than one person/group is involved. For example, most people and countries as well will not do something that is self-destructive, so if one party is accusing the other of doing something self-destructive or disadvantageous then it's likely that there is something inaccurate about the account. Perhaps the accusing party is setting the other one up or trying to gain some praise they don't deserve.

A lot of times all it takes is a little skepticism and some digging to get to the truth. So please don't be that one which retweets rumors or helps spread misinformation. Verify before you report it.

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