On Guns

Jesse Zhou '16, Opinions Section Editor

I was sitting in English two weeks ago when my phone buzzed in my pocket. The muscle memory kicked in and I slid the device out ever so slightly to see why it had went off. “Shooting in San Bernadino, at least 12 shot and killed.” The first thought in my head was not shock, horror, or disgust, but simply, “Not again.”

Gun violence has become so commonplace it has become a nonissue. The fact that it has come to this point is terrifying, and yet every time there is an incident such as the ones in San Bernadino and the Planned Parenthood in Colorado, what do we as society and Congress as a lawmaking body do? Absolutely nothing.

Many try to make it out to be a mental health issue, and I feel as though that is simply dodging the main issue. Of course the systems in place for those who need mental health help are not what they could be, but that is by far not the biggest problem. Even if those who needed the assistance received it, firearms are still all too easy to obtain.

Then there are those who wish for guns to be even more easily accessible. They say, “Give everyone guns! Then everyone can protect themselves in any situation!” Counting on civilians to make a split-second decision that sometimes officers of the law find hard to make to protect themselves and others around them is ridiculous, and will only spawn more violence. Civilians should not and cannot bear the burden of protecting the lives of others, especially when it comes to a life-or-death situation. This is the very reason law enforcement exists. Putting guns in the hands of the average Joe with very little knowledge about safe use and operation of said weapons is dangerous and can only create more problems and instances of senseless violence.

The fact of the matter is that the United States is the only developed nation in the world were guns are easily accessible, and because of that, we are the only nation that deals with gun violence on a daily basis. Look at Australia. While it took a while to implement and enforce the legislation, the results are astonishing, as gun violence is at an all-time low. Those who own guns cry Constitutional homicide when the issue of stricter gun control is brought up. The Second Amendment however, was never intended to be a provision to allow personal gun ownership, but as a clause to allow for the formation of militias. Over the last 60 years, the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the massively powerful gun lobby has taken the nation down a slippery slope of misconstruing the Second Amendment, opening door after door to an even more liberal gun policy. States take matters into their own hands, by allowing individuals to purchase high-powered assault rifles and high capacity magazines. Obviously, the issue is highly complex and is very complicated on the local and federal level, but even so, nothing at all is being done to alleviate the problem. Even after a man can walk into an elementary school and slaughter dozens of children, there are those who cry that their personal liberties and God-given rights are being needlessly violated when the idea that they might not need the AR-15 in their closet is entertained.  There is no other way to prevent these kinds of things that occur on a daily basis other than stricter gun control, and until this nation can remove itself from the misplaced, rabid obsession with a Constitution that it does not fully understand, there can be no change.