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Gun Control Debate: The Side for Gun Control

JT Dolan, Staff Writer

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In light of recent mass shootings, the topic of gun control has become a hotly contested issue, with victims of these shootings and the NRA yelling and trying to be louder than the other. You hear things like “this doesn’t happen in [insert country here] and they have strict gun laws” and “Australia is never in the news for shootings because they had a buy-back program”. Often times it can be hard to determine how much the second amendment protects guns. All guns? Only muskets? And while some will tell you that gun control measures violate their second amendment rights, does it really? The answer is no. Common sense gun laws need to be passed in this country if we as a society want these tragedies to stop. While some may say that shootings will always happen, is it not worth trying to at least lessen the blow?

 

The Parkland shooter, Nicholas Cruz, was 18 when he bought his first rifle: an AR-15. And even though most people wrongly think that AR stands for “assault rifle”, it still is an assault weapon. This type of weaponry has no place in civilian hands, as they were meant for war. These semi-automatic and automatic rifles are just dangerous, even though some might claim that they are good for hunting. The Assault Weapons Ban signed into law in 1994 by President Bill Clinton was effective, lowering the amount of mass shootings (6+ people) from 155 to 89, when comparing 1984-1994 to 1994-2004. Not only that, but after it expired in 2004, mass shootings shot up to 302 from 2004 – 2014. The Assault Weapons Ban undeniably worked, and while it might not have cut that deep into gun deaths as a whole, it certainly helped to stop mass shootings, which is still progress.

 

The next argument is one that does not have a factual one on either side, and it’s the idea of banning high capacity magazines and bump stocks. This might not stop mass shootings from happening in the first place, but might help to keep the death count low. The argument for hunting is practically non-existent in this case, as almost no hunters need 10 bullets in one clip, and don’t need to shoot at an automatic level with a bump stock. Also, many Republicans are coming around on this issue, such as Marco Rubio, who said about the high capacity magazines, “there is evidence in this case that it saved the lives of some people”. Luckily, New Jersey already has laws banning both high capacity magazines and bump stocks, but many states still do not.

 

Many of the arguments seem to be extremely unlikely to pass in Congress, while others seem like no-brainers. For example, a ban on bullets that can pierce body armor would help those such as the police when they address a particularly violent situation. Another is the expansion on background checks and closing the gun show loophole, where a private gun show sale does not make the buyer go through a background check. Some have used this loophole to exploit the background check system, claiming that a straight up sale is a gun show. Obviously, this would help to ensure that dangerous people are not able to buy guns. And others say that testing for mental fitness along with the promotion of “smart guns”, guns that are able to tell when it is the owner using the weapon, will help ensure that only good, law-abiding citizens are owning guns. Still, the age to buy an assault weapon, while it hopefully would be illegal, should be raised to match the age of owning a handgun to 21.

 

So while the NRA and others try to say that gun control advocates want to take away all guns and repeal the second amendment, remember that this is not true. Students, such as the activists in Parkland, teachers and parents just want common sense gun laws that will help to put a dent in the amount of mass shootings every year.

 

It’s only 63 days into 2018 at the time of writing and there have been 31 mass shootings of four or more people. It’s time to act.

Works Consulted:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2018/02/22/the-real-reason-congress-banned-assault-weapons-in-1994-and-why-it-worked/?utm_term=.603ebfecd81fhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Assault_Weapons_Banhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-capacity_magazine_banhttp://time.com/5171653/marco-rubio-large-capacity-magazine-parkland-shooting/http://www.businessinsider.com/how-many-mass-shootings-in-america-this-year-2018-2https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/new-jersey/articles/2018-01-15/bump-stock-ban-signed-into-law-in-new-jersey

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