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Different Perspectives: Gun Control

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Stop Militarization of America

By Erik Khzmalyan

Every time I go over the painfully long and depressing list of the school shootings or other homicide cases, I ask myself whether this truly happened in a civilized and affluent country like America.

As the nation tries to sober up from one massive school shooting, it doesn’t take long to learn that another gruesome mayhem took the lives of the innocents. What’s even more mind-boggling is that most Americans have become numb to this kind of news. This is disgusting to admit but the endless gun violence has become part of our reality.

While most modern states advocate for policies that would eliminate guns, thus reducing the violence in their societies, gun opponents in America vehemently argue against it. Most of them are quick to point out the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. Few of them want to understand that it was written in the 18th century. We should have a constant reminder for those people that we live in the 21st century, where in order to eliminate the violence from our society, we don’t need to harm everyone. Instead we should be focusing on the root causes that generate so much violence in America. The availability and demonstrations of guns, the problem with not having an access to an adequate healthcare, and the intense economic hardships are the problems that need to be tackled. In the name of “protection”, armament industries make billions, while so many people become victims of the gun violence.

I have several questions for those who love guns so much; have you ever taken a look at the statistics of the gun violence? On average 32 Americans are murdered every day and 45 people are shot and killed by accident. The firearm related murder rate in the US is 20 times higher than the 22 countries with the same wealth and population combined. When learning about the school shootings have you ever had a moment of doubt that if not for the guns the murderer wouldn’t be able to kill so many people? Do you know how the average cop feels when pulling over a car, knowing about the high possibility of the driver having a gun? Do you know that children in America die by guns 11 times more than children from other wealthy countries?

Those who argue that in order to purchase a gun you need to go through a background check probably don’t know how easy it is to buy a gun over the internet. Hundreds of transactions are made daily, which allows people with mental issues or convicted felons to obtain guns without a background check.

My jaw dropped when I learned that some parents buy firearms for their children completely legally. It’s even absurd that gun manufacturers are allowed to make guns for children. Do you know what happened in Kentucky last year? A five year old boy shot and killed his two year old sister with a gun that his parents bought him as a gift. Brace yourselves; every year 500 kids are killed as a result of accidental shootings.

It’s confusing for me that instead of advocating for genuine rights such as having healthcare, most people are ready to take over the streets to fight for the right to bear arms. As a foreigner, I have a hard time understanding and digesting this.

Oh, and if you thought that having a healthcare is not a fundamental right, let me disappoint you. Out of humanism we should be concerned about the welfare of our fellow human beings, and, according to World Health Organization, it’s the fundamental right of every human to have an access to timely, acceptable, and affordable health care of appropriate quality.

It’s time for America to call for harsher gun regulation. The gun violence has defamed America in many ways. The perpetual assaults on innocent people have made America the most violent country among the industrialized states. This issue will continue having devastating effects on America; school shootings will happen again, innocents will die, armament manufacturers will make huge profits at the expense of human lives, and finally the militarization of the American culture will keep pervading. Blame it on availability of guns.

Guns Aren’t the Problem

By Cole Miska

The second amendment protects the right to bear arms, but that doesn’t mean there’s not a problem. However the problem isn’t the guns, it’s the poor care for the mentally ill we have in America.

In essence, a gun is a tool. Guns can, and often do, hurt people.  But what tool doesn’t? A wrench can kill someone. So can a kitchen knife, or even a fork.

While it’s true that guns hurt people more often than household tools, does that mean guns should be banned? Cars can and often do kill people more often than guns. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there’s 10.8 automobile deaths for every 100,000 Americans, yet only 3.6 deaths for every 100,00 Americans from a firearm. This makes it three times more likely to be killed by a car than a gun. Yet no one wants to see a massive ban of cars from our borders.

However, cars serve a purpose other than to kill. So do firearms! Guns can be use for hunting, protection, recreational competition, etc. There’re even cases of an AK-47 being used to chop down a tree by shooting at it. YouTube videos show all sorts of weird but interesting uses for firearms, such as playing the national anthem by shooting targets to make musical notes. Or getting rid of an old barn by shooting a hunting rifle to set off 150 lbs. of explosives in the barn.

Of course, guns can still be misused. As long as there’re guns, there’ll be murders. But as long as there’re knives, cars, and humans there’ll be murder. A few bad people misusing some tools doesn’t mean those tools shouldn’t exist. People drive cars drunk. But instead of taking away cars entirely, we take the cars away from the people misusing it. The same should be said of guns.

The problem here is our country’s poor ways of dealing with mental health. People who aren’t stable wander the streets because institutions are too full to treat them. Sometimes their illness isn’t detected or treated, and they’re allowed to purchase a gun. Expanded background checks and funding to improve mental health screenings and treatments could help prevent future tragedies. Just because a bad or disturbed person misuses a tool, doesn’t mean that tool should be taken away from everyone.

Many argue that background checks would be ineffective, as guns are too easily to obtain illegally. This isn’t exactly true. Look at one of the many gun-trading sites on Facebook. Whenever a class two weapon is sold, this shows up: “Must have valid ptp or ptc” meaning “permit to purchase” or “permit to carry” respectively. Finding a seller who is willing to set aside these laws is difficult, if not downright impossible. If a seller transfers the weapon illegally, it’s still registered in their name, so if that gun is used in a crime the seller will be the one accused. Very few people are willing to risk that. This is why class 2 weapons, commonly referred to as “assault weapons” are always registered.

So, where do most mass shooters obtain their weapons? They’re often stolen. For example, Adam Lanza, the infamous shooter at Newtown, stole his mother’s AR-15. However, there’re many firearms purchased legally and then used in crimes, such as James Holmes’ weapons used during the shooting in Aurora. CO. With tighter background checks and an emphasis on mental health, that tragedy could have been averted with class two weapons still available to responsible owners.

Another thing that fuels the anti-gun movement is just arrogance. Many people use the term “assault weapon” to refer to a class two weapon, such as the now infamous AR-15.

Yet “AR” doesn’t stand for “assault rifle” but rather for Armalite, the original company that manufactured the gun. The actual definition of assault weapon is one that can switch between full and semi-automatic fire. The AR-15 is only capable of the latter, as are all class two weapons. Many people picture the AR-15 as a weapon of war, spraying several bullets a second, which is wildly inaccurate.  That is more akin to class three guns that are nearly impossible to obtain in the United States.

Yes, there are already restrictions on some guns, believe it or not. To obtain a class three weapon, capable of shooting several hundred rounds a minute, you have to get a license that requires several extensive background checks, thousands of dollars, and a continued $800 a year to keep said license. There are almost no crimes committed with this type of weapon, showing that expanded background checks can in fact decrease crime rates.

There’s a problem with violence, but the problem isn’t our guns. It’s the people. If we could improve how we look at and deal with mental health and adjust background checks for purchasing guns accordingly, the crime rate would undoubtedly drop. We don’t have to disarm responsible citizens or suffer any more mass killings. We just need to start taking care of the mentally ill.

 

 

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Your University, Your News, Your Life
Different Perspectives: Gun Control