Face the Facts: How the gun control debate has been warped

Photo courtesy of the Chicago Tribune

Story by Cody Uhls / Contributing Writer 

After every mass shooting, two things typically happen: Gun sales go up, and there’s discussion about gun control. “The Liberals are taking our guns!” is typically what is heard from pro-gun activists and National Rifle Association members. In a recent advertisement, the NRA expressed their dislike for liberals and the policies that they support. Liberals “smash windows, burn cars, shut down interstates and airports, bully and terrorize the law abiding,” said spokeswoman Dana Loesch in the ad.

The NRA considers themselves the “foremost defender of Second Amendment rights.” But let’s remember the Second Amendment: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” This was written directly after the Revolutionary War, where the young country had to protect themselves against British infantry coming into their homes. The Second Amendment has been perverted into meaning something it wasn’t intended for. There’s no fear of foreign soldiers coming into our homes. So, the “necessity” for the Second Amendment isn’t there.

Do Americans have the right to carry and own guns? Absolutely. I wouldn’t want to take someone’s guns. But people that say Liberals are trying to steal their guns and take away their “Second Amendment right” to have guns don’t really understand what the Second Amendment’s purpose was. It was to keep Americans safe from the British.

Gun control isn’t about taking guns away from people. It is meant to stop people with criminal records or those gun retailers find dangerous from purchasing guns. There are “no sell” lists, and there are regulations and background checks and hoops to jump through when it comes to purchasing a gun. When politicians say we need “stricter gun control,” that doesn’t mean, “We are going to take away everyone’s guns.” It means making it more difficult to purchase guns.

Of course, there are some people in the country that believe no one should ever need guns, and we need to ban all guns from everyone. But, those people aren’t major forces in the political climate. The Obama administration was not trying to take guns away from everyday citizens but, simply, limit the guns one can buy, such as assault weapons.

Are those necessary for the average American to have? No.

Stephen Paddock, the Las Vegas shooter, had at least 23 guns in his hotel room on the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay. Paddock modified at least 12 of those guns to become automatic assault rifles. He modified them with “bump fire stocks,” which helps semi-automatic assault rifles fire faster.

He bought everything legally, according to authorities. The question is how? How did he buy something like that legally? Why would the average American need to make a semi-automatic weapon fire faster? That’s something I can’t answer.

Most gun-related crimes, however, are committed with guns purchased illegallySo, will stricter gun laws help? Who knows. Probably not. But, it’s worth the attempt. Bump Fire Stocks being banned is now being discussed in Congress.

They should be.

The average American doesn’t need that kind of firepower. So, it shouldn’t be a problem to ban them.

There isn’t a clear answer to these politics, but, at the end of the day, mass shootings aren’t about politics. They are evil. They are terrorism. There doesn’t need to be debate from the left or right. There needs to be solutions because mass shootings need to be stopped. And that should be on the agendas of both sides.

I saw a tweet after the shooting:

And I’m only 19. This needs to stop.

This is an opinion, written from the perspective of the writer and does not reflect the views of Sidelines or MTSU.

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One Response

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  1. Thomas H.
    Nov 15, 2017 - 08:33 PM

    I appreciate your thoughts on the current debate surrounding gun control and mass shootings, Mr. Uhls. I also believe that at the forefront of our discussion should be the hope of reducing the rate of mass shootings in this country. I do, however, differ from you in your reading of the Second Amendment. While reading it within the context of the time is important, our founders wrote the Second Amendment just like they wrote the rest of the Constitution: with forethought. While there is not as much of a fear today of foreign troops invading our soil as there was in 1791 when the Second Amendment was adopted, I believe that the Second Amendment still has applicability to today’s society as well. The threat of Government tyranny is a very real threat that the Second Amendment is designed to protect against. While it may seem far-fetched to think that our Government would force us to defend ourselves, the European countries in World War II (which was not terribly long ago) wished that they had the right to bear arms and protect themselves.

    I also disagree with the general premise that placing more power in the hands of an already inefficient Government will solve this problem. A prime example of this is the shooting that just occurred in Sutherland Springs, Texas, where a convicted felon who was dishonorably discharged from the military was able to purchase several firearms legally. But how was he able to purchase them legally? Because the Government employees failed to place his prior convictions on his record, causing his background check to come back clean. If the Government is already having trouble handling the current amount of responsibilities it holds, how can we then decide to trust it with more? People seem to get the idea that Government has some kind of God-like capabilities wherein, given enough power, it can stop all evil acts from occurring. The Government is an imperfect institution staffed with very imperfect people, and the more responsibilities there are, the more things that will fall through the cracks.

    This is chiefly why the Second Amendment was penned in the first place, to give citizens the opportunity to defend themselves from any kind of evil they encounter. A firearm allows a 5’4″ woman the ability to defend herself just as capably as a 6’3″ man. Take the gentleman who was able to apprehend the shooter in Sutherland Springs using his legally owned firearm. Had the police been the only people in that town with firearms, we would be talking about 50+ people dead, not 26. I believe that the Second Amendment does more than protect against invading territories. It gives citizens the ability to protect against all kinds of evil, especially the kinds of evil that Government action is unable to prevent.

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