Controlling weapons doesn’t mean the end of freedom
Originally published in the Feb. 5, 2013 print edition of the Sac City Express
Whether it’s as far away as Sandy Hook Elementary School, a little closer like a movie theater in Colorado or right here at home—from gun scares at Arden Mall to officers being shot in our own backyard—a gun getting into the wrong hands and being used to cause chaos is something that’s simply happening too much lately.
With the entire nation wondering what the Obama Administration will ultimately do to fight the misuse of guns, one thing is clear: There is almost a down-the-middle split when it comes to opinions on guns.
On one hand, there’s the pro-gun crowd, those who feel the government is infringing on their rights by regulating gun ownership. These folks feel that guns should be used for protection, hunting, and that if everyone has a gun, things like the Aurora, Colo., theater shooting would result in a fewer deaths because a gunman like James Holmes could be stopped with another gun.
But for those of us on the other side of the spectrum, controlling guns is simply a way to help protect the innocent, especially the children of our nation. It isn’t about infringing on the rights of the people who like to shoot animals for sport or hide a handgun under their pillow for protection from late-night intruders.
It’s about regulation. Of course, there will never be one be-all-end-all solution to this problem, but by improving the mental healthcare system, lowering the ability of criminal-minded members of society obtaining weapons by requiring background checks, and making it harder to obtain unnecessarily powerful weapons and high amounts of ammunition by simply logging onto an Internet site, we decrease the likelihood of shooting massacres.
Even if everything in Obama’s plan passes, it won’t keep guns off the streets. If someone truly wants to cause destruction, there will still be ways of doing so, but in the long run, if we continue to fight for more control, it’ll help keep everyone safer. In addition to Obama’s legislation, it’s going to take better education, higher levels of security and overall better preparation for these types of events.
The thing some people seem to forget is that James Holmes, Adam Lanza, and Seung-Hui Cho were not criminals. They were everyday citizens like you and me who happened to have undiagnosed or uncontrolled mental health issues and access to powerful weapons.
Recently, according to Fox 40, there was a gunman spotted near Mark Twain Elementary School in Sacramento, and the school failed to go into a lockdown status. These are the types of mistakes that cause disaster. Requiring hour-long airport-like check-ins for first graders probably isn’t necessary, but there are plenty of simple steps that can be taken to help prevent tragedies like the Sandy Hook elementary shooting. Following standard procedures even in the case of a false alarm is the first step in that process.
For now, one thing is for sure. It’s pertinent that something be accomplished to prevent these tragedies in the future. It’s going to take the entire nation working together and a whole list of solutions being put into action, but if the people who are opposing this new legislation would realize that it isn’t about taking away Second Amendment rights, we can certainly move in the right direction to help ensure the safety of the innocent.
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