Opinion

Current gun control proposals could save lives

Current gun control proposals could save lives

On Saturday morning, the entire MIT community was warned: “There was a person with a long rifle and body armor in the Main Group Building of MIT.” Minutes later, emails sent by RLADs, friends, and family members were less measured: “GUNMAN, STAY INSIDE!”, “Are you okay? Are you okay? Answer me!” Students stayed in, parents called in, and SWAT teams and news crews assembled.

Thankfully, the report was false, no one was hurt, and MIT is now safe. I realize that some readers would not want to think about politics, or discuss the issue of gun control. But we need to ask ourselves: what could have been?

The effects of gun violence are both devastating and post-traumatic. It has been just over two months since 26 students, faculty, and staff were shot and killed in Sandy Hook Elementary School. Memories of that day continue to haunt the residents of Newtown, Ct. In supermarket aisles, residents adorned shirts that read “we are Newton 12.14.12.” On the local Walgreens counter rested “Angels of Sandy Hook” bracelets. A memorial near the school commemorates those who passed away with white crosses pinned under an American flag. The town seems frozen in time.

One man. One gun. Lifetimes of tragedy.

If our lawmakers can prevent these potential criminals from obtaining guns, we can save lives, and prevent further suffering.

Forty percent of current gun purchases do not run checks for buyers’ criminal or mental health records. But Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY), and Tom Coburn (R-OK), are drafting a bill to require background checks on all gun sales, both public and private. The bill also allows for private sales without record keeping, and for loopholes making straw purchases (buying guns for those unable to) possible. By running through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, criminals and mentally unstable buyers would unable to purchase guns.

But as with any serious regulatory policy-planning, there is always a group screaming “Liberty!”

In this case, we have the National Rifle Association (NRA). The NRA believes that this legislation would lead to the development of a national gun registry, and that the Obama administration is exploiting current events and fears to advance its own gun control agenda. Tea party activists backing the NRA believe that the Obama administration wants to tear up the second amendment.

Pro-gun activists argue that gun-free zones are potential shooting grounds, as they point to Rep. Gabby Giffords’s unforeseen incident as an example. They advocate for armed security guards to patrol the school to protect students.

In Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriff Arpaio took this advice to heart and enlisted actor/martial artist/producer/writer/musician Steven Seagal to train a posse for prepared combat services. The school simulated a school shooting and, “drawing from his martial arts skills, the ‘Above the Law’ and ‘Hard to Kill’ actor demonstrated the appropriate response to single and multiple-shooter scenarios…,” reminding the students that school is a never-ending battleground between posses and gunmen played out in an almost Counterstrike-fashion.

Hopefully, Congress and the American people will not be victimized by unreasonable, irrational, and obstinate gun activists. Gun control needs to be instated to stem gun violence. There are no excuses. The Tea Party caucus needs to cast partisanship aside because their solutions are just not working.

In this country, and around the world, “Liberty!” is a seductive cry. But gun violence has undermined our liberty by eroding our freedom from fear. Gun control legislation may not be perfect, but gun control advocates have the right to cry “Liberty!” as well.

4 Comments
1
Sean over 6 years ago

How would you respond to the fact that gun violence has steadily fallen every year since the lapse of the assault rifle ban? It's easy to paint a bleak picture of the violence in this country, but the truth is that the number violent crimes has been falling for two decades. One data point does not indicate a trend. It is unreasonable, irrational, and obstinate to believe so.

2
Willbill over 6 years ago

A Department of Justice study found gun shows are smallest source of firearms to criminals.

Source of gun:

Street/Illegal Source: 40.8

Friends or family: 33.8

Retail Store: 14.7

Pawnshop: 4.2

Flea Market: 1.3

Gun Show: 0.6

http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/fuo.pdf

The last time Congress attempted to close the Gun show loophole they defined a gun show as any place a firearm changes ownership with three or more persons are present. Citizen disarmament zealots and groups would love to see this definition become law and universal firearms registration.

Then, a man transfers a rifle to his son and the mother is present. The son registers his firearms. On the registration form there are two questions:

1. Where did you receive your firearm? Answer: from family member.

2. How many persons were present? Answer: three.

After that, the father is arrested for operating an illegal gun show, and the son is arrested for obtaining a firearm at an illegal gun show. Of course, neither person would be aware of the law because they never operated a gun show as we know it, but citizen disarmament groups would declare victory for shutting down yet another illegal gun show.

Much gun control laws and legislation is meant to set traps as to make firearms full of so many pitfalls that most people would give up firearms ownership.

3
Anonymous over 6 years ago

Big government HAS undermined our liberty!

4
late2theParty over 6 years ago

You miss the point - look at New York, Chicago, DC. All places with the strictest gun laws. They have horrendous amounts of gun and non-gun violence. If gun control worked, they would arguably be the safest. Even the politicians are saying 'gun' control won't work - Biden admitted that the reason he wants assault weapons banned is because police are outgunned, NOT the safety of the public! Cops aren't anymore! They have many 'assault weapons' many swat teams, many 'sniper' rifles, tear gas, military level equipment. The gang-banger that would shoot at the police, Biden says, is most often a person with a Glock with 40 clip magazines. Huh? Ain't no such thing. 40 round, maybe.

No, better policing, looser concealed weapons laws, tougher laws on repeat offenders will reduce the gun deaths. Want more money? Stop arresting marijuana users and save the money to pay for the police!