Recently gun control has been a hot issue in America.
While I fully understand the gravity of recent events such as the Newtown shooting, I think that banning guns is an unnecessary, unreliable, and unconstitutional step to take in attempting to make America safer. Guns as a group of weapons should be relatively left alone. Automatic assault weapons, however, are another matter entirely.
When I was growing up, I had family members who were hunters. Eventually, they did not hunt as much as shoot sporting clays (sometimes called skeet). Obviously, both of these activities involve guns. Hunting, depending on the type of game, usually involves a rifle or a shotgun. Neither of these need to be automatic weapons. Many standard shotguns only hold two shells at a time, making them more difficult to use as a terrorist weapon. Rifles, especially bolt action, also hold a lower amount of rounds.
Even handguns do not have as much power in them as an automatic assault rifle. Yes, a handgun may hold more rounds than a shot gun or rifle (certainly with extra clips ready to use), but comparatively there is a clear difference.
I have handled rifles, shotguns, and handguns. I can also safely say I am not a killer, mentally unstable, or reckless when using a weapon. If a person is taught the power of a weapon, how to use it properly, respect for the damage it can cause, and the proper situations for each gun type, then guns become much less frightening.
There is absolutely no need for a civilian to carry an assault rifle. Carrying around and AK-47 in public can really only have bad intentions. We let the police carry guns to protect us, and even they do not carry assault rifles. I do believe that the sale of assault weapons should be limited to only military personnel and only upon a needed basis. Guns can be frightening to those who are uneducated about them. What more people need to realize is that guns are not always bad.
Constantly being protected by a police officer is implausible. Pepper spray can only do so much at a certain range. It is true that guns are not only used for sport like hunting and sporting clays, they are also used for protection. Unlike a cold-blooded killer, if I ever had to shoot at someone, I wouldn’t be shooting to kill. I would be shooting to stay alive. When the real life streets are looked at there isn’t a cop on every corner. The chances of finding a drug dealer patrolling the streets would be higher.
Guns are not the issue in these situations, people are. If Americans push to outlaw guns the only people with guns will be outlaws. In case it hasn’t been noticed, laws don’t seem to be of much consequence to criminals. If guns were banned, a huge black market would open up and the only people with guns would be criminals and those who were desperately afraid of criminals.
Should we have better background checks? Of course. Should we have mandatory training for all people applying to carry a weapon? Yes. Should we be allowed under the second amendment of our country to protect ourselves and enjoy sport in a safe manner? Yes.
Banning guns will not make America safer, and it begins a slippery slope into dangerous territory. If the government wants to ban all weapons that can harm, think of all the things that would have to be taken away. Knives, blunt objects, all chemicals, cars, and even restrict the use of the human body including our hands. If someone wants to kill another human being, they will – gun or no gun.
Only the mentally unstable would kill an innocent person. The money and time being poured into changing a basic right of protection, sport, and to some a livelihood should be spent on making stricter background checks, enforcing gun education, and improving the vastly inefficient mental healthcare system in this county so that the loss of any lives can be avoided and people who are unfit to use a weapon are not allowed near them.
I am an American, a woman, a safe and cautious person and a good marksman. None of these things make me dangerous or bad. They simply make me informed, educated and opinionated on the situation of gun control.
This editorial is part 1 of a 2-part debate between Life Editor Anne Yoskoski and A&E Editor Bill Thomas. To read part 2, click here.