Hana Shafi The Gun Debate*

You know what depresses me? The fact there was yet another mass shooting in the United States and I wasn’t even surprised. I found myself scrolling through updates of the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut with a completely blank look on my face. It’s not that I wasn’t upset, it’s just that it felt like I was reading an old article. Shootings at schools and malls are becoming increasingly common headlines. The question is, when is it going to stop?

 

It’ll stop when safety is seen as a priority over money. The second amendment in the United States, stating that all citizens have a right to bear arms, is an archaic “right” that has hardly made citizens safer, but has certainly ensured hefty bonuses for politicians making deals with gun lobbyists. I’ve heard dozens of people stating that after 18 children being gunned down in an elementary school, something HAS to be done. But until there is legislation that will regulate and cut down on lobbying, who’s to say anything will be done? Politicians will each rehearse their heartfelt speeches, pledging their prayers to the families of the victims, but how are those “prayers” going to do anything when many of them aren’t willing to champion for gun regulation. 

 

Then you’ve got angry Tea Party-ers and groups with similar political orientations screaming and shouting about this so-called “right” to have guns. But if we’re going to talk about constitutional rights here, what about the right to personal safety? What about the right to be able to send your children to school, to attend a movie screening, to go to your place of worship, to shop at the mall without being gunned down? And what about the right to access mental healthcare? Because apparently getting your hands on a stockpile of weapons is easier than getting professional health with mental illness (not to mention the stigma around actually going about seeking this help). 

 

The pro-gun argument lacks this basic logic. And if you’re going to chime on about how “guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” all you have to do is take a look at the extremely low rates of gun violence in countries that DO regulate gun possession to see the logical fallacies in such an argument. Yes, people kill people, but ridiculously easy access to guns gives people the MEANS to go about doing this that results in numerous deaths.

 

The second amendment needs to be abolished and the powerful role of lobbyists in influencing legislation needs to be deteriorated. Tears and prayers are not effective means in changing this- reform is, regulation is, an ever-changing system that adapts to dangers brought out about my current issues is. Legislation does not exist in some place devoid of the changes brought about by time and technology, it has to adapt with it. And if that’s not recognized, then we’ll just see another one of these headlines, and once again, I will not be surprised. 

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