Gun Control

Gun control has been a hot topic for some time now. With each new shooting in this country, gun control is sure to be on the tip of people’s tongues. And I understand why. The loss of anyone’s life due to gun violence is tragic and I don’t believe anyone is advocating for the continuation of this senseless lose of life whether you’re pro- or anti-gun control. Should there be more communication between states and background checks when renting, buying, or using a firearm? I think most people could agree to this. If you want to get a dog from the shelter you can go through more rigorous background checks than to buy a gun. Not to mention the lack of background checks has led to multiple deaths. We can think back to only a few years ago when a New York resident who was not allowed to possess any firearms in the state of New York came to the state of Vermont, did a gun safety class, and then shot the training instructor. A simple background check would have told the firing range that she wasn’t allowed anywhere near guns in New York and this isn’t the only case (1). But when people discuss gun control they're usually meaning the banning and regulation of specific firearms and ammunition. This is the conversation that seems to get the loudest outcry from pro- and anti-gun control supporters.

But see, this is the problem. This idea that you are either pro-gun control or anti-gun control, shouldn’t be the conversation. The issue at hand is far bigger than merely gun control. We may have access to countless guns but the vast majority of us are not going to go out and kill people with them. The question that needs to be asked is why is this happening? The problem here is much more complex than we want to acknowledge. It would be really nice if just taking away all guns would solve the issue, but it won’t. Why do we have students walking into classrooms and killing their fellow students? Why do we have ex-Marines gunning people down in bars? Why are the vast majority of our shooters men? There are problems here that go way beyond guns and if we don’t stop and have a collective discussion as to what these contributing factors are, violence whether by guns or other means will continue.

It’s hard. It would be so simple and easy if we just had to look at guns and the removal could be our solution. The problem here is this has never been the case. Problems like these don’t just happen overnight so there is no clear solution. How long has this country been in some type of war where men and women have been deployed? How long have we been ignoring and hiding mental health issues in this country? Decades upon decades and these are just a few things that are most likely contributing to this rise in gun violence. There have to be many factors at play here. The danger with this conversation on gun control is that most of the time the real issues never get discussed. Is gun control a part of the conversation that needs to take place? Of course, but it is only a very, very tiny piece. Someone who has reached the point where they are willing to kill others and potentially themselves will do so with, or without, guns. The argument here is usually along the lines of “well at least it will be harder for them to do." Maybe, but how many of these mass shootings do you think the shooter planned on that day? How many killings occurred because the shooter woke up that morning and was, like, "this sounds like something I should do today?" I’d argue not many. I’d argue that there were warning signs in advance, that there had to be multiple instances that led to the moment the shooter planned their attack.

It’s time we stop living in this fantasy that gun control is our be-all end-all solution and sit down to discuss the actual problems occurring here. The longer we wait, the more innocent people will be killed. Deep down we all know that there is a complicated solution to this mess that we have let continue on for so long. And deep down you should also know that the longer we wait for this conversation to happen, the more you are being a passive bystander in the slaughtering of American citizens. If we chose to sit back and do nothing or to continue to believe that gun control is the “solution,” we’re kidding ourselves. Being in a democracy doesn’t mean we sit back and let the system do our work for us. It means we all have the ability to come together to create a solution that will actually work and that will actually address the problems our nation is currently facing.

~M

 

(1) https://www.thetrace.org/2015/07/background-check-vermont-gun-range/