Pro/Con: Will more gun control stop school shootings?

Pro%2FCon%3A+Will+more+gun+control+stop+school+shootings%3F

Shan Swoverland

Jessica Lee (Pro) and Jacob Williams (Con)

Pro

Despite the valid statement “guns don’t kill people, people do,” stricter but sensible gun laws could help prevent school shootings, as well as other crimes, by preventing dangerous people from obtaining guns so easily.

According to the “Guardian Liberty Voice,” in the recent shooting at Arapahoe High School in Colorado on December 13, 18-year-old gunman Karl Halverson Pierson had obtained his weapon, a shotgun, at a nearby store seven days before the shooting.  In Colorado, like most states in the U.S., anyone age 18 or older can legally purchase a shotgun or rifle and, therefore, Pierson obtained the shotgun relatively easily. Raising the legal age to 21 or older for all firearms would eliminate this ease.

As reported by the “San Jose Mercury News,” One Goh, a 43 year old man, suffering from paranoid schizophrenia,  killed seven people at Oikos University in Oakland, on April 21, 2012, with a .45-caliber handgun. How Goh obtained the gun is unknown but the fact that he did shows just how easy it is to obtain one.

All states, therefore, should implement a fingerprint-based handgun licensing where anyone who wishes to purchase a firearm must go through a fingerprint-based background check, receive safety training about handling a gun, and then obtain a license from the state police.  The federal government should also eliminate the gun-show loophole, where unlicensed dealers are able to sell used guns without conducting a background check on the buyer.

As there have been a record of teenage and child shooters whose weapons were found at home, most likely belonging to a parent, stricter gun laws in regards to storage, as well, could prevent child access to firearms and, in turn, school shootings.  According to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a study in 2005 on firearm storage practices discovered that over 1.69 million children under the age of 18 are living in U.S. homes with loaded and unlocked firearms.  States should mandate that firearms be locked at all times when not in use. Regulation, however, would be nearly impossible. Therefore, states should focus on raising awareness about this issue, as most parents wouldn’t think of locking their firearms, assuming their children would never find where they placed them.

Of course stricter gun laws can’t prevent those with the malicious intent to mass murder from obtaining firearms, as there are always illegal means, but stricter gun control certainly makes it harder to obtain firearms and, in doing so, can save a life.

 

Con

First, let’s clarify things: what does the Second Amendment actually say, and what does it mean?

In 1790, James Madison’s Second Constitutional Amendment declared the following: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

What does that mean? Does it mean that Madison intended the Second Amendment to erect state militias, making it nearly obsolete today? Or did he mean that citizens wield the right to keep arms for private home use and the People’s defense against tyranny?

As a matter of fact, Madison intended both: just because states don’t currently maintain militias does not mean that the Second Amendment should be abandoned. Citizens reserve the right to bear arms, plain and simple.

Now that that’s been clarified, let’s address the real issue here, shall we?

Gun regulation is feasible and legal, as the Supreme Court also said in D.C. v. Heller. But let’s not allow radicals to confuse us. While background-checks and gun licenses are acceptable and legal, banning all residential guns—which I have heard ludicrously proposed—is entirely illogical and illegal.

Look, I understand that administrators, lawmakers, and parents want kids to be safe. But more gun control isn’t going to reduce violence. If people want weapons, they’ll get them; if they want to kill, they will. Taking away weapons won’t stem the desire to kill. Limiting gun availability doesn’t stop violence.

Instead, our attention should be the improvement and availability of education, an increase in anti-bullying education in our schools, and responsibility bred into kids by their parents.

Our focus should be spent preventing the desire to kill in the first place.

And what disappoints me is that when the Boston bomber loosed his carnage, America blamed him, not his bombs. Yet when Columbine or Sandy Hook occurred, America blamed the guns, not the gunner.

Mental illness has to be addressed here. This issue is bigger than the Beretta, bigger than the school; it’s the mind of a killer-in-the-making. Guns should not be attacked as perpetrators of a mass shooting—they were the tools of destruction, but they were not the destroyer.  School shooters should be penalized, not their weapons.