Different Views: Should the United States increase gun control legislation?

Post date: Mar 23, 2018 11:48:42 AM

Gun control laws should be strengthened.

By: Autumn Morrow, Staff Writer

Posted March 23rd, 2018

Gun control legislation is dangerous.

By: Henry L. Clark, Staff Writer

Posted March 23rd, 2018

At age 11, I was incredibly excited to finally take a hunter’s safety course and to be able to go hunting with my father and uncles. This tradition goes back generations in my family, and is certainly one I value. I have shot a BB gun for as long as I can remember, and at age 11, I also learned how to shoot a rifle and a shotgun. I, like many people, was taught to respect guns from a very young age. That said, the respect for firearms is not universal among all who wield them. This issue can be minimised if America enacts stronger gun control laws.

To be clear, I am not advocating that the public is banned from the use of firearms, simply that they are relatively easy to obtain for those who are likely to handle them responsibly, and that they are much more difficult for those who are likely to handle them irresponsibly to get. This issue has been made tragically important by the influx of shootings, especially in schools, over the last two decades. While gun control is not the cure all solution for school, or any other type of, violence, it, along with appropriate mental health care measures can help to reduce this public safety concern.

First, gun safety courses should be required before somebody is allowed to own a firearm. Already, such classes are available; the economic effects would be negligible. Gun safety courses can be taken online, or administered by licensed teachers in person. They teach people how to appropriately hold, care for, load, and shoot their weapon. These are all skills that are critical to safely handling a firearm, and it is clear that anyone who owns one should be able to handle it correctly. This requirement would not be a great upheaval for many, as 70% of gun owners reported taking a gun safety course in a study done by the Pew Research Center, it will simply educate those who own guns about their new possessions.

Another measure that the United States should take is to prevent high risk individuals from obtaining guns. Many gun advocates argue that guns do not commit crimes: people do. This statement is essentially correct, and for this reason, those with certain mental illnesses and those on terrorism watch and no-fly lists should not be allowed to purchase guns. This is for the safety of the individual as well as the general public, as they may not be able to safely handle guns, and are at a higher risk of injuring themselves or others. According to a poll conducted by the Pew Research Center, 89% of American adults are in favor of this measure with equal support from both those who own guns and those who don’t.. To achieve this, background checks should be required in all private gun sales. This will eliminate the notorious “gun show loophole” as well as allow the laws currently in place, in addition to those suggested above to be enforced. 77% of gun owners believe this should be the case, as do 87% of non-gun owners.

In summary, gun control laws can and should be strengthened in the United States without destroying the cultural value they provide. This can be achieved by requiring gun safety courses before one is allowed to own a firearm, preventing those who are mentally ill or suspects of terrorism from owning guns, and ensuring that background checks are performed in ALL gun sales. This may not prevent all gun crimes, but these measures, which are widely agreed upon across the political spectrum, will help make our country a safer place.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of Slinger High School or the Slinger School District.

In the wake of the most recent mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida, the Democratic Party has once again started preaching into the echo chamber on gun reform. They say that we need to “protect our children from the baby killing semi automatic weapons”, even though guns don't kill people, and banning all semi automatic weapons in the U.S. would mean almost half of the weapons on the market today and owned by citizens would be illegal. When it comes to the discussion of gun rights and the second amendment between the left and the right, there really are only two questions and one disagreement. Should the citizens of the United States be armed? And, what firearms should they be allowed to have? Many on the left say that the second amendment applies only to muskets or hunting firearms. They are dead wrong. This can be proved by taking a quick glance at the Bill of Rights in the United States Constitution and do a little digging into firearm history and the Second Amendment.

The Second Amendment reads as follows: “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.” - Bill of Rights, U.S. Constitution. Now, just by reading this text, you can see that yes, the citizens of the United States have the right to be armed, and have a civic duty to be armed to protect the general populous. That answers question number one. As far as limitations on firearms and weapons goes, there should be none and here is why. First, let’s take a step back and dissect every phrase of the Second Amendment. The first phrase “A well regulated Militia” means a well trained, competent, and ready fighting force comprised of the people to supplement the military. Right there we see that the founding fathers wanted a militia and to have a militia, citizens must be armed. Next, “being necessary to the security of a free State”. This phrase means that it is the job of the people to fight against the possible tyranny of their own government to keep themselves free. When the Second Amendment was written, the founding fathers had just finished fighting a war against the tyranny of the British Crown to claim themselves as a free and independent state. To ensure that they themselves, or their replacements would never do to their own people what the British did to them, they put this phrase in the Second Amendment. Now, it would be pretty difficult to fight against a government such as ours with all of its highly advanced military weaponry with muskets and hunting rifles don’t you think? And besides, who is the government to say that they get all of these highly advanced killing machines and we the people don’t? We tell them what to do and what we can and cannot have, not the other way around. This is why the Second Amendment does not only apply to any firearm, but also to full out artillery. In fact, in 1812 President Madison signed a Letter of Marque to a private shipping company (Owned and operated by people like you and me.) authorizing their possession and use of cannons to attack enemy shipping. Not muskets or hunting rifles, but large caliber field artillery! Another point, if you are implying that the Second Amendment was written solely for the possession and use of muskets, you must think that the founding fathers were so incredibly stupid that they never thought of any technological advancements in the field of firearms. In fact, many of those “evil assault weapons” that the Democratic Party say should be banned, actually had grandfathers that existed before or around the time of the Revolutionary War. Look at the Belton Flintlocks. This was a weapon that one man could use and could fire about 20 rounds with one pull of the trigger in about five seconds, and it was used in the Revolutionary War. Another example is the Puckle Gun which was an early Gatling gun produced 60 years before the American Revolution, and not only did the founding fathers know about these guns, they were hardcore fans of them! However I digress. “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms”, basically says I or whomever else is a legal U.S. citizen of the age of majority, can have whatever weapon that they desire, and last but not least, “shall not be infringed.” means that you or whomever else cannot take away my weapons or prevent me from getting them unless I commit and am charged with a felony.

So in short, the Second Amendment is for all weapons, not just muskets and hunting rifles and saying that it is, is dangerous. If the government keeps restricting our rights and the ability to protect ourselves from their power, they will have much more control over the American citizen than any of us could ever realize. This is why it is paramount that we as a collective society, must send a message to our elected officials saying that any measure of gun control is an infringement on our constitutional rights, and a direct attack on and threat to our individual safety and freedom. God bless the United States of America.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of Slinger High School or the Slinger School District.