Overheard debates: Gun control amidst national tragedies

Category:  Opinions
Friday, September 13th, 2019 at 11:11 AM

There are many overheard debates in the Spectator office. This week, two writers take on gun control. 

Q: How do you feel about gun control? Do you own guns? If so, how many and what types?
AM: I feel as though gun control is completely necessary at this point considering the amount of mass shootings in this country. I do not own any guns of my own.
JJ: I feel that gun control is in violation of the American people’s second amendment right to own firearms. I don’t own a firearm, but I know people that do. They own three guns: a hunting gun, similar to a .308, and two for defense, similar to an AR-15 and a Glock 19. Firearms are a tool.

Q: According to an article by The Washington Post from early August, there have been 20 mass shootings since Trump took office. In another article by The Washington Post, in his eight years, Obama had a total of 32 mass shootings. How do you interpret that from a political standpoint?
AM: I feel as though Americans are much more influenced by our leaders than we even know. If we have a president that is blatantly hateful and unprofessional, it will inspire those living in this country to mirror the same type of hate and unethical values. I feel as though a president with decent character has the capability to set a positive example, such as acceptance and love for one another.
On the other hand, if a president has questionable character, they have the capability to enhance the hate and violence that is built up in the individuals who already have it, leading to disaster and tragedy.
JJ: From a political standpoint, we need to focus less on the restrictions of firearms and more on the advancement of better mental health facilities and better mental health practices. Restricting guns will not stop mass killings committed by those that have a mental illness. We need to focus more on stopping people that have a severe mental illness from having a gun, and less on taking away rights from people that don’t have a mental illness.

Q: There was recently another shooting in Texas. What steps should we take to stop them from happening so frequently?
AM: I think it comes down to simplistic terms. If someone is given something and cannot use it responsibly, it should be taken away, or at least a little harder to obtain. Yes, the second amendment does indeed state that we have the right to bear arms and protect ourselves. However, at this point we would be even more protected if guns were harder to obtain.
Therefore, I don’t think gun control would be infringing on our rights of protection, it would just be a different way of interpreting it. When buying a gun, extensive background checks, as well as a mental health evaluation, should be done before approval to obtain one. Also, I don’t think it's completely necessary to own an assault rifle. If someone really just wants a gun to protect themselves, I believe a simple handgun would suffice, if they insist on doing so.
JJ: As I said before, we need to focus more on mental illnesses and preventing the people that have a severe mental illness from getting firearms. We need to increase the police presence in areas that are at a higher risk for mass shootings. We all need to be aware of the people around us and make reports when we are concerned about certain people.

Q: There is this argument that even if we ban guns, people will still find a way to get them. What do you think about that argument?
AM: Of course, there might be those few individuals that will find a way to bypass the system and obtain a gun. However, gun control would still definitely reduce the number of mass shootings. I would rather, at least, reduce the number of mass shootings if we can, than allow them to keep increasing. There needs to be at least some effort made toward reducing the fatalities due to guns in this country. I would rather start somewhere than nowhere at all.
JJ: That argument is absolutely true. We cannot just blindly think that we can take away people’s God-given right to own firearms and think that they will not find a way get them back.

Q: What do you hope our next president will do regarding guns in 2020? What do you hope for the country?
AM: I hope the next president will set some rules and regulations on what it takes to obtain a gun, or even just ban them all together. I hope that our country will come to an agreement or at least a compromise on what it really means to be protected.
There has to be a way to reduce the gun tragedies that are happening. It has got to a point where change is necessary. I hope our country will elect a president that has the character and values that is desperately needed to affect change.
JJ: I hope the next president stops trying to take away our right to own guns, simply because the liberal left thinks that a gun can kill someone. It is the person that is wielding the gun that does the killing. If these people don’t have good mental health, these mass shootings will continue.
My hope for the country is that we focus more on increasing the awareness of mental disorders and wellness rather than blaming a tool that need an operator to function. I hope for better mental health practices and mental health facilities that will help bring these mass shooting numbers down.

Tags: gun control

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