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Guns in America

Why Semi-Automatic Weapons Should Be Taken Off The Market

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A man with brown hair and a beard wearing glasses and a plaid shirt, standing by a wall.
Charlotte, NC

I grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina, where you didn’t have to drive very far to find people who hunted with guns, but primarily the people who owned guns were in gangs. So, the people I knew who had guns growing up I already associated with bad stuff; guns weren’t a southern thing, but a gang thing. It was different where I went to high school, in Chattanooga, Tennessee. It’s very outdoorsy, and there being outdoorsy meant hunting.

Once, I got tossed a loaded shotgun in a parking lot because my friend wanted to show me something cool, but I reacted with fear. It was clear he thought I was weird for that and that it was another example of northern condescension in response to southern culture. It’s not like southern people who own guns don’t recognize the danger of guns, but it’s so normalized; at parties, people would shoot hunting rifles at beer cans and it was just a fun thing to do. I just never got away from the city identifiers that saw a gun and assumed danger.

Guns are not actively malicious just like a power drill isn’t actively malicious. Both are tools that could hurt people, but just because you have a drill or a gun in your house doesn’t mean it’s going to hurt someone. Guns are such powerful tools and to own one is a huge deal, but that’s not fully reckoned with on either side of the gun debate. Pro-gun people don’t always recognize how large of a burden it is to own a firearm, but anti-gun people don’t think gun owners are aware of their responsibility at all. Most gun owners I knew in the south were educated and responsible who took appropriate security measures.

I think any semi-automatic weapon should be taken off the market because it’s not necessary to have for hunting, but guns used for sport should be available for sale with more stringent policing of gun ownership requirements.

The regulations need to be responsibly enforced, unlike the way drug possession is brandished like a threat because that just increases distrust of the government. Instead, there should be gun safety courses and ID checks run through local police departments for every firearm purchased. If local police forces are involved with the gun owners and the gun control processes, this collaborative approach would decrease distrust on both sides. Law enforcement would know who had guns and gun owners would know their right to own a gun was being respected.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Dr. Xram

    April 21, 2018 at 10:51 pm

    I appreciate your concern and your attempt at understanding the gun owner’s perspective. However, I would like to make some points that perhaps will help you understand our position better. First of all, the right to keep and bear arms that is protected in the 2nd Amendment has nothing whatsoever to do with hunting. Nothing at all. It’s purpose is to provide the means to carry out the God given right to self-defense and the defense of liberty. For that purpose, firearms adequate to that task are required. Anything less is an egregious violation of our fundamental civil rights. What would those weapons be?

    Adequate weapons must be of a sufficient grade to allow for a threat to one’s life to be met with force sufficient to neutralize it. While we might desire a utopia where criminals do not have access to deadly weapons, no amount of gun laws or gun bans will reduce this threat. It is essential that law-abiding citizens have guns equal to those possessed by most criminals. This means semi-automatic weapons with standard size magazines (15 rounds for a hand gun and 30 for a rifles are standard size, not “high capacity”). Most criminals do not use automatic weapons (commonly known as machine guns). According to CDC data, there are at least 10 times more self-defense uses of guns each year than there are gun homicides. Some researchers report much more. Thus, a ban on semi-automatic weapons would endanger the lives of millions of law-abiding people by removing their most common means of self-defense.

    There is often some confusion concerning semi-automatic weapons. A semi-automatic weapon only fires one round for each pull of the trigger. Automatic weapons fire continuously for as long as the trigger is held down. Semi-automatic rifles are generally not military grade. In fact, the much reviled AR15 is not used by any military and is even banned from deer hunting in many states because the round it fires is not powerful enough for that purpose. The average deer rifle is at least 2x more powerful than an AR15. It is not a true assault rifle.

    Assault rifles, current military rifles, have been banned from civilian purchase since 1986. Semi-automatic weapons, however, comprise the vast majority of all firearms currently sold and owned in the United States. Not only would it be a severe violation of our civil rights to ban them, such a ban would not be enforceable, and quite frankly, most gun owners would simply ignore it. There is no doubt, whatever, that an attempt to enforce such a ban would lead to resistance, probably violent, that would do enormous danger to the peace and stability of the United States. It is highly unlikely that military and law enforcement personnel would agree to enforce such a ban in any case. It is more likely that they would join resisters of such a ban.

    You say that you want gun owners to know that their right to own a gun is being respected. However, your support of a ban on semi-automatic guns is profoundly disrespectful of our rights. It is, therefore, hard to take you seriously as one who respects such rights. Perhaps this is due to your lack of knowledge, rather than any malice. I hope you will reconsider your position, in light of better information. However, if that is not the case, then know that you will be viewed as an enemy of freedom, the Constitution, basic civil rights, and America, by the very gun owners that you seek to understand and dialogue with. Please note that we will not accept any compromise nor will we negotiate concerning our rights.

    Rather than persecute law-abiding citizens, you should concentrate your efforts on policies that will actually prevent criminals from committing senseless acts of violence. The measures you propose will not do so. They will not effectively disarm criminals. They will not generally disarm current law-abiding gun owners either. They will, however, succeed at turning law-abiding gun owners into unwilling felons. I’m sure this is not your intent, but it will certainly be the result. Meanwhile, senseless shootings will continue unabated. Please consider these facts as you rethink your position.

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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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