Gun Control – Inside the Blue

February 14th, 2018.

Nikolas Cruz, a 19-year-old former student (before his expulsion) from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL attacked the school, killing 17 people and injuring 14 others. Cruz was armed with an AR-15.

This tragic event set off a new movement. The survivors of the Parkland shooting began a movement labeled with the hashtag #NeverAgain. These students, most notably Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg, led hundreds of marches and walkouts at high schools and cities throughout March to campaign for change in gun regulation and legislation. This movement has been met with resistance, mainly by conservatives.

Conservative points:

-Many guns used in mass shootings have been purchased illegally, so any sort of ban could be ineffective

-The banning of guns would infringe on the Second Amendment 

-Those campaigning for legislation and change are too young to fully grasp the consequences of any sort of ban 

-There are already many existing safeguards in place to restrict the purchase of firemarms

-Bans, in general, are not flawless and people would still obtain firearms illegally with bans

-The best thing to do is enforce existing laws and examine what can be done about mass shooters/mental health

Liberal points:

-Many guns used in mass shootings have been purchased legally, including those used in Parkland and the 2017 Las Vegas shooting

-The Second Amendment did not take into account the power of modern weapons, written at a time where bullet capacity was low and it took a significant amount of time to reload, thus it should be reconsidered 

Age is insignificant in terms of protesting for change

-The existing safeguards have failed, allowing mass shootings to occur, so they should be strengthened to prevent further incidents

-Any sort of ban will not completely end mass shootings, but it will at least make it harder to purchase firearms for mass shootings

-The best thing to do is create a ban on assault weapons or firearms as a whole and require thorough background checks and/or annual evaluations for gun owners

My thoughts:
It is clear that there is a serious issue with mass shootings in America. For every one hundred Americans, we own around one hundred guns, more than double the country with the second highest population/gun ratio (Germany). We have far more mass shootings than any other nation, though we have a lower gun homicide rate than many other nations.

In order to prevent further mass shootings and gun deaths, we need to make a change. Thus, I agree more with the liberal points in regards to gun control.

Here’s what I believe we should do in order to solve this issue:

-Institute a blanket ban on assault weapons for civilians unless they are required for hunting purposes. There is no logical reason to own an assault weapon. Even if it is for home defense, a handgun will suffice.

-Ban the firearm purchase/ownership by minors

-Require a mandatory background check, evaluation by a doctor, and training/safety course for first-time gun owners

-Require a mandatory background check and doctor evaluation every five years for any gun owner

-Continue the enforcement of gun-free zones. The narrative that “good guys with guns kill bad guys with guns” is illogical and only practical in regards to policemen. One may believe that they are capable of incapacitating a shooter, but instincts take over in the moment of danger. The average person, even with training, will falter when faced with someone with the intent to kill them and could be a danger to others.

In addition, mental health is indeed an issue that needs to be spoken of. We must understand why people become mass shooters and deduce how we can go about stopping people from ever becoming shooters, but I lack any specific ways to deal with this issue in regards to gun control, as it is an entirely different and more complex issue in itself.

Thanks for reading! If you have any suggestions or critiques, feel free to comment them or direct message me on my Instagram, @kashwrites. Make sure to return next week for more of Inside the Blue.