It is unbelievably devastating to turn on the news lately and hear about one mass shooting after the other. Being a Colorado resident, it is hard to believe that the one year anniversary just passed of the
Aurora Theater shooting. It seems that with so much controversy over gun control, these tragedies are almost glossed over as unpreventable accidents. I hear gun owners say that these types of events give them a bad name. While it is true that there are far more responsible gun owners than irresponsible, it is an undeniable fact that these shootings are enhanced, perhaps even caused, by the sheer availability of assault weapons.
Being a lover of history and someone who firmly believes in our constitutional rights, I am deeply hurt by the idea that people link gun regulation to the second amendment being stripped away. The second amendment will never be taken, and should not be, because it would be counterintuitive. Instead, assault weapon regulation, background checks, and magazine capacity limits should firmly be put in place. It is difficult for me to understand a gun owner’s objection to any of these preventative legislation measures. I cannot justify a civilian having a need for a weapon usually reserved for our armed forces. I also cannot understand the argument beyond convenience to keep high capacity magazines. Wouldn’t it be worth the extra time at the shooting range to switch magazines if it means saving even one innocent life?
The argument that gun control will not decrease violence and mass shootings has lost focus on the true problem. Having such weapons as assault rifles or hundred round magazines readily available contributes to the overall appeal to someone who is mentally unstable. A criminal gains confidence when he is armed with the same weapons he sees in video games, Hollywood, and in wars. These types of weapons and accessories are meant to kill the most people in the least amount of time. To someone who has mental illness or wishes to accomplish such a horrific act, their dreams are fulfilled by simply going to their nearest sporting goods store and acquiring these killing machines. Perhaps someone would be less likely to carry out their crime if they did not have such ease of access and were hampered in some way.
While background checks and registering firearms may not prevent all crimes (the recent mass shootings have been from first time offenders), it enforces the fact that buying a gun of any type is a serious matter, one that requires paperwork and legal stipulations. It is absolutely disturbing to me that buying a tool designed to kill is easier than purchasing a car. It is my firm belief, also, that to buy a weapon, one must complete some sort of basic training in the use of it. Age requirements in no way ensure that a gun owner will act responsibly; even accidents can cause death but perhaps can be prevented with proper classes. Nothing about purchasing a firearm should be simple or easy. Maybe if our country recognized the magnitude of owning such an item, the price of a life might come better into focus.