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Why We Don’t Need Gun Control

Kyle Tremblay, Contributor

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The Second Amendment not only keeps Americans safe, but it is also part of the American identity. In order to pursue happiness, Americans must be safe, and for millions of law-abiding citizens, gun ownership is a way to protect families and loved ones. 

In light of recent mass shootings and cases of gun violence, political voices on the left have advocated for stricter gun control. However, gun control would fail to prevent these tragedies from happening while stripping law-abiding citizens of their constitutional rights. While stricter gun control will make it harder for law-abiding citizens to purchase a gun, it would not do anything to prevent criminals from accessing a firearm. Criminals will break the law regardless of new legislation because that is the very nature and definition of what a criminal does.

It’s important to remember that people commit acts of violence, and guns are the tool they use, not the cause of the act. Making it more difficult to legally have access to a gun may not stop someone who is mentally ill from committing an act of violence; they could simply find other means of carrying out his/her atrocity. 

For example, a mentally ill individual might not abandon his/her plans to carry out a violent crime simply because he/she was denied access to a legal gun. That individual could get an illegal gun off the street, or they could use other tools/resources found in a typical American home to make a “homemade” weapon. Pressure cookers can and have been used to make bombs, and one could easily learn how to make one on the internet. If a background check is needed to purchase a gun, then why aren’t background checks needed to buy a pressure cooker? One would argue that the intended use of pressure cookers is not to be used as a weapon, similarly, neither the NRA nor gun manufacturers advocate for using guns to kill other people.

The background check system has been in place since 1998 in the form of the NRA-supported National Instant Criminal Background Check System. There is no guarantee that stricter background checks could do anything more to prevent people with mental illnesses from getting access to a gun. Just because an individual has a mental illness does not mean that he/she would fail a background check. If he/she has no criminal record or history of drug use, that individual could potentially keep any knowledge of their mental illness hidden during the background check process. This is especially true for the nearly 50% of people whose mental illness has not been formally diagnosed, according to the American Medical Association. 

As Bill O’Reilly says, “Criminals and terrorists are not going to buy from dealers who do background checks.” Instead, a criminal or terrorist who wants to get a gun could either get one illegally off the street, have someone else purchase one for them, or steal one. 

Regarding gun ownership in America, Derek Pasquale says, “I love guns and I’m a firm believer in the Second Amendment.” Just because some individuals abuse their gun rights doesn’t mean that the many law-abiding gun owners should be stripped of their rights, or that good-standing citizens such as Derek should be prevented from becoming a gun owner in the future. In fact, guns are used 2.5 million times each year in self defense, and 200,000 women use guns each year to defend themselves against sexual abuse, according to the Gun Owners of America. Therefore, instead of making it harder for law-abiding citizens to obtain a gun, our nation should target criminals and those who misuse guns. This includes increasing the punishment for not only possession of an illegal gun, but also crimes committed with a firearm. 

While I don’t approve of his executive order, I do agree with President Obama and many other members of Congress that we need to invest more in mental health to help these individuals out to prevent them from becoming violent, and to increase their quality of life. Furthermore, as a society, we should find out why people are becoming more violent. 

I have become more alert and cognizant while in large crowds in the wake of mass shootings and other violent attacks. When sitting in a full-capacity movie theater to watch the new Star Wars film, I began thinking about what I would do  if someone walked into the theater and opened fire, similar to what happened in Colorado a few years ago. I also found myself praying that at least a couple people in the theater had a concealed-carry permit and were carrying a firearm at the time, so if anything ever happened, a potential shooter could be stopped. According to a survey of felons by the U.S. Department of Justice, 3 out of 5 felons agreed that “a criminal is not going to mess around with a victim he knows is armed with a gun.”

Perhaps one of the best ways to empower and protect citizens from acts of violence could be to push for more law-abiding citizens to obtain a concealed-carry permit, following a background check and thorough training. It has been said that the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. During these horrific mass shootings, if there were just one armed citizen that could have stood up to the attacker, many lives could have been saved. According to a study published by the Wall Street Journal, “states which passed concealed carry laws reduced their murder rate by 8.5%, rapes by 5%, aggravated assaults by 7% and robbery by 3%.”

I believe America does not have a gun problem. Rather, that America has a mental health and violence problem. I think that not a single mass shooting in America was ever caused by a gun. Instead, every single mass shooting in America has been caused by a person who was possessed by a violent desire to kill people. Even if guns were never invented, people who want to carry out an act of violence would still find ways to carry out an act of violence.

One day, I hope to have a family. I have much uncertainty over what my future holds, but one thing I am one-hundred percent sure of is that I will love my family with all my heart. And when you love someone that much, you will do absolutely everything in your power to keep them safe. For that reason, I look forward to becoming a legal, law-abiding gun owner in the future. 

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Why We Don’t Need Gun Control