Gun Control: a Thought Provoking Controversy

To start this off, I am not affiliated with any political party.  I did not vote in the most recent election.  I’m pretty sure I’m not even registered to vote.  While I did have opinions on all candidates, I try to avoid talking politics at all costs.  I have my own personal standards that I myself, live by; but anything that has to do with your beliefs, your body, who you love, what you should/should not be able to do or purchase is all you—I have no say in that.  I’ll also state that most of my insight is based on random articles I’ve skimmed off Twitter or Facebook and a bit of research I’ve done just while writing this article, so I am by no means an expert.  For all I know, I’m just a babbling idiot who tries to have some sense of a level head, especially in a time of such animosity and division between sectors of our society. 

After the most recent school shooting, I have reconsidered my views on guns and gun control.  (Side note: I just had to further describe a national event by saying “most recent” because there have been that many… food for thought) My father owns guns, and I have even promised to go to the shooting range with him.  It’s something that he enjoys—let him have it.  On the other hand, I do know that it was fairly easy for him to acquire.  Now, my father is of sound mind and has no criminal background.  He’s just a regular guy with a wife and kids, who goes to work every day, and gained some knowledge and a fondness for guns from his time in ROTC and his enjoyment of old western movies.  I am incredibly confident that if he even uses his guns, it will be in a well-controlled gun range.  However, I’ll admit that I am wary of the ease with which he acquired his license and guns.  A background check and a few non-family references.  Who’s to say someone with alternative intentions couldn’t get a gun just as easily?

No matter your views, race, age, ethnicity, gender, political party, etc., one thing we should all be able to agree on is that there have been too many incidents involving guns recently.  Having just one mass shooting would have been one too many, but the United States has had 34 mass shootings thus far in 2018 (via gunviolencearchive.org).  We’re not even through February.  Today February 28th, is the 57th day of the year.  34 mass shootings, 57 days.  That works out to having at least one mass shooting, almost every other day.  Now, what can we do in an attempt to end mass shootings?  There are so many possible answers, and even more arguments to each proposed answer. 

Should we take away everyone’s guns and make them completely unavailable to the public?  No.  That honestly seems ridiculous.  How would law enforcement even go about doing that?  Storm and raid everyone’s houses?  Expect individuals to just turn their guns in?  Hell no.  With all the determination that the NRA and some gun-owners have to keep their guns, taking them away from everyone is not really a viable answer. 

Should we arm teachers?  This one is just downright ridiculous, IMO.  One of my best friends works in a Montessori school in central PA.  Her tweet has been the best argument I have seen thus far, and is as follows: 

“Can you imagine...

You’re a teacher. You’ve been armed by the SD/state/feds/whatever. One of your students who you’ve taught all year brings a gun to school and begins killing students. Now, YOU are expected to put a bullet in their chest.

Can you even IMAGINE?”

Mind.  Blown.  You spend every day grooming these kids to become productive members of society; you know the faults and the accomplishments of each; at the end of the day, you care for each one.  And suddenly you’re expected to physically harm or even kill one of them?!  WHAT?  This also stands for the argument of having security officers or janitors who are armed.  Those school employees are just as important to students as the teachers—I knew just about every janitor’s name throughout my years in public school and they knew mine.  Now you’re saying that they could just shoot a student?  Yes, that would end any further deaths that could occur by an armed student, but that would also take so much out of the person ending it.  It’s unfathomable.  Arming teachers, or janitors, or any other school staff member shouldn’t be an answer.  It also doesn’t cover the fact that shootings could occur anywhere: concerts, movie theaters, night clubs, college campuses, churches… The list unfortunately goes on.

So, what can be done to curb the seeming trend of mass shootings?  Some form of gun control.  It goes without saying that gun control is filled with many arguments, and there seem to be pros and cons to the whole idea and every aspect thereof.  It is incredibly complicated, and there is no concrete, right, or wrong answer.  But something needs to be done.  Our current laws are doing the bare minimum, if that.  Something needs to change, and in light of the most recent mass shooting and every other before it, this change needs to happen sooner rather than later. 

It is a right we have as Americans to be able to own guns—our country was founded on the idea that “We the People” have a right to keep and bear arms.  But at what point will we start to consider the fact that our Constitution was written 242 years ago by men aged 9-70 years old, who saw nothing wrong with slavery, gave women limited rights, and had only experienced guns as technologically advanced as single-reload rifles and muskets?  Times have changed, and it’s about time our legislation catches up.  Something needs to be done.

Notice, in this article I have given no explicit answers.  I don’t know what to do or how to do it, and thankfully I am not in any position to make any country-wide decisions.  This article was simply meant to make you think.  Think about the world around you.  Consider your own beliefs.  Consider someone else’s opinion.  Put yourself in someone else’s shoes.  Just think and form your own opinions. 

And please don’t try to argue with me, because as I wrote in the introduction, I try to avoid talking politics as much as possible and would rather not have my inbox filled with anyone trying to pick a fight over something as silly as an online editorial written by a college student.  Take that effort and put it into something more important.

A senior at Bloomsburg University and HC Campus Correspondent.  I can usually be found with a coffee in hand, either walking my dog or at the gym.

Life motto: Nobody likes a shady beach.