Love Your Children, Not Your Guns. Why I am for stricter gun control

If you have ever been in any history, government, or political science class, chances are you have voiced your opinion on the widely debated issue of gun control. It seems that everyone has a view on this issue. While it is not always this way, conservative leaning people tend to believe that very limited gun control should be enacted, and some do not believe in any gun control at all. liberal leaning citizens generally believe that gun control is needed for a functioning society, and necessary in order to keep Americans safe.

There are many reasons you will hear for believing in either side of the issue. Oftentimes, people will ignore facts and simply believe what they want to believe, or only listen to people who tell them they are right and the other side is wrong. Many times, citizens get so wrapped up in their political party that they refuse to listen to another point of view. But here is the truth of the matter: fourteen teenagers and three teachers were hunted and gunned down in their school, a place of supposed security. Seventeen lives were taken from this Earth by a madman with a gun. No matter what political party you associate yourself with, these facts cannot be disputed.

A public discourse is necessary in times like this. I am for stricter gun control. This is not the time for bipartisan politics. You might disagree with my stance, but if any positive change is going to happen, all Americans need to hear and respect each other’s stance. We must all do our part to make sure that the shooting in Parkland is the last mass shooting in our country’s history.

Advocates for gun control might be terrified that a liberal government will restrict all gun purchases including handguns for self defense and hunting firearms. They will often have the mentality that if one type of firearm is restricted, then all weapons will be restricted as well. But that is simply not true. I do not want to take away all guns, I want the government to put common sense gun laws into action. Currently, our laws regarding guns are dangerous and illogical, but that needs to change. I want people on the “Terror Watch List” to be restricted from purchasing a gun. I want people charged with serious allegations such as domestic abuse, rape, and robbery to be restricted from buying a firearm. I want mental health background checks to make sure that someone who has shown signs of being a danger to him/herself or others to be restricted from being a gun owner until they get the help that they need. In my opinion, these are common sense ideas that should have been in place long ago, but sadly are not.

Many times, people who do not believe in gun control will use the U.S Constitution in their arguments, stating the second amendments view on this issue. For those who do not know, the second amendment states “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.” Simply stated, this means that people have the right to have and keep guns. Yes, the Constitution clearly states that a person has the right to own a firearm. However, we must remember that the Constitution was written in 1787. Back then, there were no semi-automatic weapons, grenades, or anything else in the way of advanced technology. Since the most dangerous weapons the founding fathers possessed were cannons, I highly doubt that our founding fathers knew that we would make all of these advancements in the way of firearms. If they understood what was coming, I do not think that they would have kept this policy without enforcing any restrictions on gun ownership.

In addition, many people who support the second amendment, believe that the Constitution’s second amendment should never be revoked or touched in any way. But, the Constitution is always being ratified and changed. When the Constitution was first written it considered Native Americans and African peoples as three-fifths of a full person. Eventually, this was changed and at that time, many people were upset, but now we understand what a brilliant change it was. Why are we assuming that a change to the second amendment would make our country worse and not better?

But if people are still using the Constitution to justify the arguments for the right to have as many firearms as you wish, I would like to remind them that the Constitution also gives us the right to “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” This includes the right to go to school without fearing for your life. It includes the right to not be terrified of being shot and killed, or shot and being placed in critical condition. It reserves the right to learn and grow as an individual without being haunted by the images of your friends and teachers lying on the ground, bleeding.

Now, advocates for the second amendment may think that practicing gun control is unpatriotic and not how America functions. But the truth is, Americans have actually practiced gun control after the Constitution was written! In colonial times, Native Americans, slaves, indentured servants, and Catholics were not allowed to purchase a firearm. This proves that the second amendment was not always respected like many people believe it was.

Another idea I would like to bring up is the fact that many Republican senators, congressmen, and representatives might only call themselves Pro-Gun, without really believing in that idea. Take Donald Trump for example; when he first announced his campaign for the presidency, he had the strong opinion that gun control should be enforced strictly on assault weapons and semi automatic weapons. But that was before the National Rifle Association (NRA) funded his campaign with thirty million dollars! After that, he became Pro-Gun. He even gave a speech to the NRA declaring that he would “never, ever, let them down.” The sad reality is that Donald Trump is not the only political figure that accepts bribes from the NRA. Many politicians including Marco Rubio, Roy Blunt, Rand Paul, Ron Johnson, and 96 more political figures are currently accepting donations from the NRA.

There have been suggestions from both conservative and liberal politicians and citizens of this country for ways to stop these mass school shootings. Many people are starting to have the idea that if we arm public school teachers and no longer keep schools as “Gun Free Zones” then, former students and mentally unstable peoples will no longer target schools. But, I hate to tell you that this is a dangerous plan that would only create chaos. First, most school shootings are done with semi or fully automatic weapons. So far, I have heard politicians proposing that we only arm teachers with handguns. Think about that for a minute; how is a teacher with limited training, adrenaline running through their bloodstream, and armed with only a handgun going to stop a mentally unstable teenager with a fully automatic weapon, who has been planning this out for months or possibly years? Secondly, if a teacher wanted to be someone who carried around a gun all day they would have been a police officer or a soldier. They became teachers for one teach! Why should we add more priorities to their already busy lives and give them the responsibilities of shooting a dangerous person, if that time came, just to make sure that we don’t have to give up our guns? Finally, I would like to finish this part of my argument stating the theory of “a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun” proves to be wrong. When has there ever been a mass school shooting that was stopped by a good samaritan with a gun? Even the deputy that was on duty at the time of the Parkland shooting didn’t go in the building to stop it when he heard the gunshots; and that was a trained professional law enforcer!  So how would giving a teacher a gun make schools safer?

But I know what Pro-Gun Americans are thinking; “What about defending myself?” or “How can I hunt without a gun?”. Well, the truth of the matter is, no one needs a semi automatic weapon for either of those activities. Unless you are in front of one hundred and fifty deer, you do not need to hunt with a semi automatic weapon. Unless you are being surrounded by a mob of domestic terrorists, you do not need to defend yourself with a semi automatic weapon.

I am not naive and I know that this article probably has not changed your opinion if you are incredibly passionate about the second amendment. However, I do hope that it has made you think a bit more and hear the other side of the gun control argument. The most important task, is that we strive, work hard, and put political parties aside in order to protect the children of America.

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Aurora Freeman, Greater Johnstown Senior High School


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