Back Talk: Recent mass shooting sparks gun control debate

Gun laws necessary for safety, prevention of shootings

by Autumn Bippert

In 2010, 67 percent of all homicides in the United States were committed with a firearm.

The United States sees tens of thousands of deaths and injuries caused by gun violence each year.

So why does the United States have such a problem with gun violence and other countries don’t? We don’t have any more mentally ill citizens than other countries.

The problem lies with the gun laws the United States has.

The Second Amendment says, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

At the time that the Constitution was written, there was a war, but not a military like there is today. So citizens needed firearms to protect the emerging country. Common people were the “militia.”

But now we live in a stable country with a military, so there is absolutely no reason a civilian needs a firearm. We have police to protect us; we have a military to protect us. There is no longer a pressing danger of a Revolutionary War that requires the need for guns in every household.

In Australia, only the military and police have firearms. They have only ever had one school shooting in their history. That’s not to say they don’t have stabbings or other violent crimes. But you can kill more people with a semi-automatic gun than you can by stabbing people.

I am not saying to get rid of all firearms, or that no one should have them. But there needs to be stricter regulation on them, so that everyone is safe in their own country. Being able to drive a car is under stricter regulation than firearms.

In Japan, there is a four-month long process to be able to own a gun. First, citizens have to attend a daylong class, which they pay for, that outlines the responsibilities of owning a gun. There is also a test taken that day. After they finished the class and passed the exam, they are instructed to contact their local police prefecture to apply for training at a licensed shooting range.gun control backdrop

For the application, they need a certificate of residency, photo identification,  and a list of past jobs and addresses. The process also includes police questioning, background checks, more classes and tests, a mental health check, and having to wait for an official license before a gun can be taken home. After finally owning a gun, there are strict regulations on everything, from buying ammos to storage.

The argument that criminals will get guns no matter what laws are in place is brought up often when talking about making these laws stricter. But the same argument could be made for anything. Why have traffic laws then? People break them every day. Why have laws against drugs? Drug will still get in the country. But those laws are still there, and for good reason.

Stricter laws on firearms is not going to fix the problem completely. But the point is to make it harder for those who want to cause harm to have access to a tool that can end a lot of lives. It won’t affect law-abiding citizens, only those who should not have access to firearms.

We do not have a mental illness problem in this country. We have law problems. Something needs to be done so gun violence does not affect this country any longer.

Need for gun regulation undermines focus toward other solutions

by Adán Rubio

With the impact of the recent mass shooting in Florida, gun control and its affect on society is being debated once again.

Many will argue that guns are the main contributor in the development of tragic shootings. But there are other problems that need to be considered as possible factors for these attacks.

I will agree that the use and distribution of firearms are issues that can be regulated to lessen the chance of another attack. But with a sensitive topic, such as a school shooting, it will be best to acknowledge the many variables that can cause such a tragedy in order to better prevent one in the future.

Guns will always create conflict in society, and there will be no perfect solution that covers all issues associated with owning a firearm. If Congress focused all their efforts on gun control, there would still be problems, such as mental illness and security needs, that would warrant more attention.

Anyone can cause harm without using a gun. I agree that, in the hands of one attacker, firearms can create more destruction than a knife. But regardless of how people are injured or killed in any premeditated attack, what matters most is preventing these tragedies in the first place.

Focusing on just the regulation of firearms is counterproductive, as Congress will only be managing one source of the problem while there are other issues that are partly responsible for the lack of protection.

It would be beneficial to also focus on increasing security, rather than putting the full blame on guns. Regardless of any legislation, people who are intent on hurting others will do anything to fulfill their sick goals, whether that means trying other methods of violence or obtaining guns illegally.

No plan will ultimately be the perfect solution for reducing mass shootings. So, it will be better to utilize and acknowledge all the key possibilities when working to prevent shootings.

PrintAcknowledging the need for security in schools and other public institutions can be a huge step toward defending against attacks. Preparing for any possibility and working to improve all aspects of safety will be best to ensure a change in the number of shootings.

Another possible issue that can be manageable is mental illness and its contribution toward an attacker’s stability.

Whether one believes mental illness is the main cause of the recent Florida shooting is another debate entirely. Mental illness is just one of the many potential sources of violence that are pushed aside due to the prime focus on gun control.

Mental illness is not the main cause of the Florida shooting, or any previous homicidal attacks. But mental illness should not be perceived as a pointless reason for a person’s actions. Many people are plagued by disabilities, whether they be mental or physical. Some do not live in a nurturing environment that promotes good health.

Because of these reasons, mental stability is a defining attribute of a person and his or her actions. Working to give people the care that they need is just another step in preventing a murder suspect from being forged.

Preventing shootings is one thing that many will agree is a main priority. Putting the full blame on guns is pointless, as there are many issues that need resolution.

Author: Plainsman Press Staff

The student newspaper of South Plains College.

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