The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Gun control: Stopping the violence

As a child, I lived in a rural part of Virginia where almost everybody I knew owned a gun. My family was one of the few that didn’t.

Guns were a part of life that we had to deal with. I remember being told to wear orange during hunting season and to avoid accidentally wandering through the properties of those neighbors prone to pulling guns on trespassers.

When I was a teenager, I won the marksman award at Boy Scout camp. The leaders were shocked to hear that I had never shot a gun before. I have also never shot one since.

That is where I come from in the world of firearms. In this country, guns have saturated everyone’s life.

The issue of gun control has always been a heated and emotionally driven one. The recent shootings in places such as Newtown, Conn., have brought it back to the forefront of the political conversation, inspiring the idea that something must be done.

I have always heard the cliche, “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” I believe this to be true, but I also don’t think that we have to make it easier for people to kill by arming them.

This is why we must tighten up on gun control by making semi-automatic weapons and large magazines of ammunition illegal.

In reaction to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, President Obama has proposed stricter gun laws and said in a speech about these laws, “I’ll put everything I’ve got into this.”
States, including New York and California, have instituted or are considering instituting similarly stricter gun laws.

On the other side, some are focusing on other parts of the conversation and argue that the country should focus on school safety and the way that we as a nation deal with mental illness, instead of on gun control.

Some are even asking for the arming of teachers. Giving teachers concealed pistols “cuts down on the ‘school fortress’ perception,” wrote Michael Brown in The Christian Science Monitor.

Professor of Political Science George Guo thinks that the gun control issue is different in the U.S. than in other countries. “The weapons business is very profitable,” said Guo. “The U.S. Constitution is documentation to protect individuals, not just the government.”

The Second Amendment was instituted in 1791, stating that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

“The Second Amendment was passed so that the people would have a way to fight back if the federal government overstepped its bounds,” said senior Eamon Deeley-Wood. “Unfortunately, at this point in time the federal government has become so powerful that it’s irrelevant.”

The argument over gun control shows no signs of abating, and it’s no wonder; like many important issues, gun control has no right or wrong answer. In fact, it has no easy answers at all.

Still, just because finding an answer isn’t easy doesn’t mean that we should allow a stalemate.

“Americans should be able to bear arms responsibly — that is with a background check,” said CCE student and veteran Quentin L. Richardson, continuing on to say that we should “ban military-style weapons and their capacity to civilians.”

“A witch hunt after gun laws and gun ownership is erroneous (for) the situation,” said junior Darren Foster.

“Where our attention should fall is to creating better laws that will punish those who buy and sell weapons illegally.”

Guo thinks that in our increasingly isolated world the violence will continue, and in fact that, “it will become more severe in the future because you can’t identify it.”

At least everyone can agree that something is wrong and that something has to change. If only we could agree on what’s wrong and how to change it.

Personally I must return to the above-mentioned cliche, “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”

Unfortunately, no law will ever stop the situation entirely. However, that doesn’t mean that stricter laws won’t diminish crimes and save lives. That may be all we can immediately hope for.

That’s why making semi-automatic weapons and large magazines of ammunition illegal is the right first step in what will hopefully be a much longer process.

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