Gun (out of) Control

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Gun (out of) Control

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“It is just coming across the wires here, a reading straight from the Connecticut State Police responding to reports of a shooting we are told at Newtown Elementary School, Sandy Hook, this morning…”

 

“We’re covering breaking news this morning coming out of the town of Aurora, Colorado is the scene of a shooting. Police there were called shortly after midnight to a multi-screen movie theater…”

 

“Authorities are saying 26-year-old Chris Harper Mercer is the murderer of ten people in Oregon this morning …”

 

“At 9:05 this evening, we received a call of a shooting that occurred at a church Calhoun street in Charleston, South Carolina…”

 

All Americans know the drill. We hear the breaking news of a mass shooting and can always expect a follow-up statement from President Obama. Then, we hear a spew of excuses regarding the “motive, mental state, family situation, and economic status” of the shooter.

All these unnecessary and insignificant details about the history of the shooter’s life are just methods the media and the government use to circumvent the real reason the shooting occurred. He had a gun. There’s no need to overcomplicate the reasoning for ourselves when it’s right in front of our eyes.

People are killed by guns, and when those guns are taken away, people will stop killing. Australia is the perfect example of well-implemented gun control. After the massacre of 35 people in 1996, Australia passed rigorous gun laws and hasn’t had a mass shooting in the past 19 years.

Frustratingly, as soon as a politician mentions the option of gun control, “patriotic” Americans are quite literally up in arms claiming they need their firearms to defend themselves from an oppressive government. While this may have been true during the early development of our nation when everyone had rifles, a government with drones is no match for someone with a pistol. The idea of protection from the government is a dream of the past.

But mass shootings are only part of the issue. It always tugs at the public’s heartstrings when they hear of small children finding guns around the house and accidentally using them to kill their loved ones. However, gun activists brush off these scenarios by exclaiming that their guns are kept safely locked away from children. Obviously!

But that begs one to question of how easily these guns can be accessed in instances where they are truly needed for self defense. For example, let’s say Bob is a responsible gun owner who always makes sure he has his gun locked away in a safe next to his bed so his three  children can’t reach it on accident.

One night, an armed intruder finds his way into Bob’s house and has his children at gunpoint until he gets the money he’s asking for. In this instance, Bob could have really put his firearm to good use. Alas, it’s safely locked away in his safe upstairs. Although it would have been nice if the intruder could wait until Bob retrieves his gun, that’s not what happens in a normal situation. At this point, Bob’s gun is useless, and in the only instance where he truly needed it for self defense, it was inaccessible.

Couldn’t Bob keep his gun unlocked for easier access? He could, but according to the CDC, in 2010, unintentional firearm shootings caused the deaths of 606 people. And between 2007 and 2011, an average of 62 children age 14 and under were accidentally shot and killed each year. So maybe Bob and other pro-gunners need to rethink how important it truly is to have a gun around the house.

But what about malls and movie theaters and schools who may need to defend themselves from mass shooters? Wouldn’t people who were carrying guns on them be able to save the day by killing the shooter?

Well, none of the 62 mass shootings in America over the last 30 years has been stopped by a gun-toting bystander, according to Mother Jones. And in two cases where someone tried, he was either gravely wounded or killed.

Also, according to Dr. Stephen Hargarten, a leading expert on emergency medicine and gun violence at the Medical College of Wisconsin, armed civilians attempting to intervene are actually more likely to increase the bloodshed, “given that civilian shooters are less likely to hit their targets than police in these circumstances.”

Despite all this evidence, opponents of gun control fear that if we restrict civilian gun access, only criminals and mass shooters will be able to obtain these weapons; however, that’s not necessarily the case. In fact, a report from the New York Times indicates that every weapon used in recent mass shootings was obtained legally through a gun license, so it’s reasonable to assume that if these shooters didn’t have weapons so readily available, they wouldn’t have perpetrated these massacres.

Could they turn to an illegal weapons market? Certainly, but it least it will be difficult and expensive–every barrier that we can throw at these domestic terrorists is one that should be put into place.

God commands us not to kill through the 6th Commandment. However, every year, gun violence leads to the death of over 100,000 people in America. It’s hard to be “one nation under God” if we’re breaking this Commandment every day.  We’re also asked by God to love our neighbors, but you can’t love your neighbor if they’re dead.

 

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