In the wake of yet another tragic mass shooting, it’s time to finally put aside our differences and take a look into the ways in which we as a nation can protect our fellow citizens. This is a charge that must be inspired by and for the people, and carried out by those we elect to represent our basic rights and needs in the government. Gun control need not be politicized, we all as Americans should support legislation that is beneficial to and promotes safety for all of our fellow citizens.
As an American who believes strongly in democracy, I respect and support the Constitution. With that being said, as time passes and our world evolves and advances, there is a strong need to adapt our laws to ensure the freedom and safety of all Americans. When our founding fathers added the Second Amendment to the Bill of Rights, they were accustomed to your average musket or bayonet, which did not have the ability to potentially injure or kill scores of people in only a matter of seconds. They never could have imagined the technology that is currently available, which is why the amendment process is critical to the continued democratic process of law making. Entities like the National Security Administration (NSA) or any sort of cyber task force were not a threat that even crossed the minds of our nation’s founders, but neither were guns with 17+ bullet magazines.
Although I am personally terrified of guns, I do respect people’s right and desire to own a gun, whether it be for hunting or for self-protection. In her op-ed “The LGBT Case for Guns,” Nicki Stallard urges members of her community to learn how to use a gun professionally because that is what the Second Amendment intends. I agree with Stallard. I am not against guns nor the right to own a gun. What I am against is guns that have the ability to inflict massive harm in a short period of time. I am against the ability of people who are suspected terrorists, known to be violent or harmful to others, or even those who our government has deemed unsafe to board an aircraft to go out and purchase such weapons without so much as a background check.
In the five years following the tragedy that took place in Sandy Hook, there has been an immense increase in overall gun legislation. A Harvard Business School study found that a single mass shooting occurring in a state leads to a 15 percent increase in gun legislation passed in that state. For Republican-leaning states, this generally leads to loosening of restrictions on when, how and who can by a gun. Shootings occurring in democratic states generally see laws that have little to no effect on changing who can buy a gun.
Human life is precious and no human being, especially a citizen of a “free” nation, should have to fear the loss of their life when deciding to attend basic activities such as school, a movie premiere, a music festival or even a night out at a dance club. The answer to such tragedies as these is not thoughts and prayers nor is it eradication of guns in our nation. It is simply effective control and restriction of the types of weapons that can be purchased and by whom.
There is no time like the present for our representatives to put aside party and lobbyist allegiances and come together for the greater good of the people. So, I urge you, along with your thoughts and prayers, to offer your voice and contact your elected officials. Let’s make a change, for far too many lives have been cut short at the hands of gun violence.