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Guns in America

How Gun Control Can Protect Our Kids

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A woman with dark hair, wearing a black jacket standing on a wooden staircase in her backyard with her dog.
Long Island, NY

I am strongly in support of gun control in America. I understand we have the right to bear arms, but does that mean that it has to be a free for all with everyone running around pulling a gun out over any perceived offense? Do you really need a gun with you to go to Starbucks? Or bring your guns to bars?

Having loaded firearms and drunk people packed together in a confined space, sounds like a recipe for a disaster to me. So, I am definitely all for gun control laws.

But, with the recent increase in school shootings, especially culminating with the Parkland tragedy, I have been rethinking my stand on schools being gun-free zones. I still think arming teachers is utter nonsense. That has to be the most ridiculous idea to be floated since the gun debate began.

Teachers have enough on their plate. They don’t need to add training how to aim and fire a gun in combat conditions while also protecting 30 kids.

And not to mention, they may be aiming at a kid who they have taught and know well and may not want to have to kill. That is putting the teacher in a terrible position.

Plus, where are these teachers going to store these loaded guns while they are teaching their classes on regular school days when there aren’t mass school shootings? If they keep them in their desks, you know that students will take it as a challenge to prove they can get to the gun and then a tragedy can occur.

So instead of that ridiculous plan, I have come around to accepting that schools can and probably should have armed security guards. Now, I’m not talking hiring SWAT officers armed to the teeth.

I just mean, let the security that the schools already have, which are usually retired police officers anyway, carry the guns that they are already trained to use. They would be the obvious choice.

The only caveat I have with this is, now that the security at the schools is armed and they could use their guns if the worst happens, I fear that their use will soon become the go-to for any behavior problem. I don’t want to have schools start calling for security to break up fights and have that lead to needing guns and then soon we’ll need them to pull a gun on Johnny because he was disruptive in History class.

It may start to become a slippery slope once the security is armed. That is my fear; but it’s better than arming teachers. And until we can do something about the mental health crisis in this country and the gun problem in the country, sadly, we are probably going to need armed security in our schools.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Roy Murray

    May 10, 2018 at 5:57 pm

    Uniquely (outside of a war torn country), you live in a society where almost anyone is entitled to buy and operate a gun with few questions asked. Every so often, a tiny fraction of your population decides to go on a shooting spree with horrible results.

    What to do? Other countries have solved this problem.

    The answer is not armed guards. The answer is to restrict gun ownership. Look at murder rates in other countries. Canada has reasonably strict gun controls and its murder rate is about 80% lower than yours. Incidentally, because our border with the U.S. is somewhat porous, we have more guns floating around so murder rates in Europe are about 50% of Canada’s or 90% lower than yours.

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Guns in America

How Stricter Reinforcement of Gun Laws is Called for

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A person holding a sign saying, "Protect our children, instead of your guns" at a protest
Colorado Springs, CO

I’m in support of gun control in America, but there’s a lot of disagreement as to what that means. Do I support a complete weapons ban? No. That is not only unreasonable, but also unconstitutional.

Do I support stricter enforcement of existing gun laws? Yes. Do I support more restrictions on gun ownership? That depends on the specific restriction.

According to our constitution, ‘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.’ All rights have some reasonable limits, including gun ownership.

Gun ownership is not a natural right; it is an insurance policy to protect rights from infringement. Do I believe an armed citizen uprising could overthrow a modern military? I highly doubt it, but I do not know what the future holds.

I grew up in a gun-owning family. Our community was very conservative and had a large military presence, so guns were common. Many incidents shaped my views on guns.

A friend of a friend killed herself at around 14 using her father’s gun. Her father was a member of the Army Special Forces, and he raised his children to understand the rules of gun safety. They were entrusted with the combination to the gun safe in case they needed to defend their home while he was deployed.

My father was the typical law-abiding gun owner until he wasn’t. His mental health deteriorated quickly during my parents’ divorce, and he became a danger to himself and others.

At his therapist’s request, he handed his guns over to his brother, so he could not harm anyone. If my father had been unable to afford a therapist, he probably would have kept his guns, and who knows what would have happened.

The high rate of gun ownership is the only possible cause of this problem. Everywhere in the world violent video games are sold, mental health issues exist, and teenagers bully each other.

What separates America from the rest of the developed world is the sheer number of guns out there. Strict enforcement of existing gun laws, gun locking requirements, and owner liability laws could curb the problem.

America needs a less abrasive, more open public dialogue about guns for anything to change. I have friends on both sides of the issue, and the overlap in opinions between the two groups is striking. While they are in agreement that some gun control is necessary, each side has misconceptions about the intentions of the other.

We can also change the way the media covers mass shootings. We are in the midst of a nationwide school shooting chain.

The media dwells on school shooters in a way that encourages other potential shooters to act. They become famous and their motives are analyzed on national television, which almost provides a sense of justification to some.

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Guns in America

How Gun Control Can Make Us Feel Safer

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Author, in a long grey sweater, sitting and looking out of a dimly lit room
Middletown, NJ

I am in support of gun control because I feel something as strong and lethal as a gun must be accountable. It cannot be ignored anymore.

It is not a human right to carry a gun. People have a right to life. A gun can very easily steal that right.

While it was written in the constitution and the second amendment- it was written in a different time. Back then, people had muskets. It would have taken longer to reset them and put in a new bullet, and those were primarily used for hunting or in lieu of lacking a militia.

Now they can be discharged and reloaded much quicker. When you consider the time, it’s not the same. When you consider the constitution- it does not apply to the weapons we have today.

I can understand if you feel safer depending on your area. If you’re in a high crime area, like in a major city, you have more threat available than you would in a suburb.

I don’t feel that owning a gun in a suburb would make you safer- there is more risk in the household. That equates to more danger than safety.

The Sandy shooting made me more cynical. It gave me no hope that gun reform would be in our future. If someone can shoot up a school, and nothing is done to change it, it makes me feel that nothing would ever be changed.

It makes me feel that we are not protected, even as much as I want people to feel safe. Especially little kids who have no real concept of danger, or someone wanting to harm them.

The main problem is availability. A problem is that using a gun to kill is accomplished so much quicker than with a knife. They are not as lethal, as quick, nor do they give you the same body count.

When given both options, the gun will take targets down faster. The availability of a gun makes it so much easier.

Obviously, there is more to be discussed behind it, whether it’s because of anger management or mental handicaps- or being pushed to a certain edge. But it’s hard to tackle such an issue, and I guess every person would have their own process to get them.

With guns, there should be more processes if you want to prove you can handle a gun, have the right mental state, or the ability to dismantle one if there was ever a time to.

I hope that with all our generations, something can be done. Whether it’s helping someone’s mentality or doing some kind of gun reform or checks and balances- here’s hoping we can make the number of shootings a little less in 2019.

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Guns in America

How to Deal With Gun Violence in the US

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Author, in a maroon turtleneck standing with their hands on their hips in front of a white wall and granite top table
New York City, NY

While I cannot necessarily bolster the conception that gun violence in the U.S. is directly tied to a single ‘root cause,’ I would not hesitate to suggest that many of the causes of gun violence are well-defined.

I feel inclined to first dismiss two theories I believe to be little more than distractions some people choose to use in the ‘gun debate’ and while I will exclude a deep statistical analysis from my response, I’d encourage anybody reading this to do a simple Google search on the subjects, respectively.

Gun violence is in no way directly linked to entertainment, specifically video games and television.

The research has been conducted and this myth from the 1980s has been thoroughly crossed out. If anything video games can act as an outlet for an otherwise troubled and aggressive person.

On the other side of the political spectrum is a myth that gun violence is a product of an entitled cis white male population. While there have been many white men who have committed mass shootings, gun violence is a significant problem in the black community, not to mention the fact that (once again) not every mass shooter is white or male.

The foremost issue facing the United States is the sheer number of firearms within the country. Statistically, gun violence is more likely occur when guns are on the premises. While this may seem obvious, one would be surprised at the number of people who simply do not realize this.

This, however, is a difficult issue to deal with. While more stringent background checks will certainly help the issue, other methods like gun buy backs have routinely failed.

Another problem, while too extensive in scope for me to cover here, is the crime rate among impoverished communities. This is a pertinent issue in the black community, but I believe that we can observe it’s effects on gun violence amongst whites as well. Consider some of the stereotypical perpetrators of gun violence, black men in street gangs and white men in neo-fascist organizations, both of which tend to coagulate in impoverished areas.

Yes, what I am getting at here is only the tip of the iceberg and I certainly believe some statistics would be vital to making a more thorough argument. Gun violence is not rooted in a single cause but will require a more careful and conscientious approach.

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