Gun control is necessary to keep public peace

Annie Ricotta, Opinions Editor, Graphics Editor

I, and many others, feel that following the recent Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland Florida,  that  we desperately need some type of gun control laws.

Kids should be able to get an education without the overhanging threat of dying everyday. Kids should react to reports of others dying like “Oh, just another school shooting. At least it wasn’t here.” We shouldn’t have to keep brushing mass killings under the rug just because of arguments that gun control would somehow limit one’s ability  of self defense or to hunt.

I’m not saying ban all guns, period, and take every gun in the United States away from everyone. All I’m saying is we need logical restrictions. Specifically, we need common sense limits on age and mental fitness. We need enforced and thorough background checks to make sure someone is fit to own a gun.

In Japan, before anyone can even lay their hands on a gun for hunting and sport shooting, they must attend classes and pass written and practical exams. They must then undergo psychological assessments to determine if they are fit to own a firearm. Police background checks are exhaustive and even extend to the gun owners’ relatives. I really do believe that this level of forethought and precaution is needed here in the United States given that 34 mass shooting incidents have happened up to February 21 of this year alone.

While there is an age limit to purchase a gun in Texas, the minimum age is 18 years old for a shotgun or rifle and 21 for a handgun. Federal law has no minimum age for long guns and their ammo. When it actually comes down to it it’s harder for an 18 year old to get a lottery ticket then it is to get a gun and that quite frankly is ridiculous.

A frequent argument used by gun rights supporters is that stricter gun laws will only make it harder for law abiding citizens to buy a gun, and the “criminals” will continue to buy them on the black market.

I’m not going to deny that the black market exists and people are crazy and yes there could be a Prohibition Era comparison that could be made. So yes guns will still be bought on the black market. However, to the Prohibition Era argument, alcohol is exponentially easier to make than an entire AR-15 with ammo, meaning it is easier to get alcohol out to a buyer than specialized ammunition.

Another alternative that gun rights activists propose is arming teachers. It is simply ridiculous to imagine that teachers would be able to successfully take down a shooter when it takes police officers on average 21 weeks to undergo that kind of training. This whole “good guy with a gun can stop it” mentality is toxic and is just a way to sell more guns. Arming teachers would only end up with more people dead or injured. Expexting teachers to be able to keep steady in an active shooter scenario and fire back with accuracy to kill or incapacitate is something out of movies. It simply doesn’t apply in real life, and even it it miraculously works out, the teacher is still going to be firing near students.

Even if we give teachers appropriate training where is the funding going to come from? The tree in the White House courtyard? No, it would come from taxes — our taxes. Millions of dollars are needed just to get the proper training to handle a gun, not to mention the cost of the guns themselves. This begs the question of what kind of gun a teacher would be armed with? Assault weapons? AR-15s? Handguns?

We as a country can’t even afford to give teachers basic supplies like markers, paper and pencils. So how are we magically going to afford to train and arm teachers?

According to the  2nd Amendment of the Constitution, “a well regulated militia, being necessary to secure a free state, and the right to bear Arms shall not be infringed.” The first part of that is what is ignored.

Take one look at the history behind that statement when it was made in 1786. Fresh out of the Revolutionary War it was illegal to band together and fight an oppressive government. The framers of the Constitution feared the government becoming too powerful with no way of stopping it without another Revolutionary War. They wrote the 2nd Amendment to absolutely ensure that the people had the right to fight the government if it came down to it.

This isn’t about citizens owning guns for themselves; it’s about having the ability to organize a citizen led militia to defend ourselves if the government gets out of control so we could avoid the need for another revolution.