2016 Summit: Surrounded by Violence Opinions

Surrounded by Violence: Students debate gun control

Gun regulations provide for common sense, natural rights

By Reece M. Krantz ’16
THE ROUNDUP

President Barack Obama’s new executive order will usher in an era of regulations for handguns, assault rifles and more.

President Obama ordered this after a series of violent events cascading from school shootings to terrorism, in San Bernardino, Calif.

Gun regulation has been the hot-button topic in the United States for the past few years.

Many that favor further gun regulation state it will increase overall security and lower gun-related crimes and deaths.

Other say that any sort of increased regulation will inhibit the 2nd Amendment and be unconstitutional, thus leading to a less legitimate government.

Americans have a lot of guns–over 300 million firearms, according to a Pew Research Center survey.

They also have the highest gun ownership per capita rate in the world, with an average of about nine guns for every 10 Americans.

The second highest gun ownership rate in the world is Yemen; yes, Americans have nearly twice as many guns per person as do Yemenis, who live in a conflict-torn Arab nation still dealing with poverty, political unrest, a separatist Shia insurgency, an al-Qaeda branch and the aftereffects of a 1994 civil war.

I would argue increased regulation would be safer, economical and practical.

Guns contribute to a large portion of the United States economy, that is true.

Not only does the manufacture and sale of firearms and hunting supplies create good jobs in the United States, but the industry also contributes to the economy as a whole.

In fact, in 2014 the firearms and ammunition industry was responsible for as much as $42.9 billion in total economic activity in the country.

But, according to an article in Business Insider, the American taxpayers will foot a yearly tab of $229 billion for gun violence.

This cost incorporates legal fees, medical fees, costs of prison, police investigations, security enhancements, emergency services and many more.

All have to be payed for by the typical taxpayer, this severely offsets the $42.9 billion generated.

Also, regulation is not a complete ban.

Gun manufacturers will still employ, produce and export. Money is still flowing in and out of the economy.

Regulation could come in the form of higher taxes.

Taxes on type of bullet and rifle could expound greatly into even more tax revenue for the state, which could then further be contributed to education, even gun safety.

The Supreme Court in 2010 also ruled that gun regulations are constitutional.

The McDonald v. City of Chicago case essentially states gun regulations must be complied with at the state level.

Another reason people don’t like gun regulation is the fear for safety.

It is the classic “good guy with a gun can stop a  bad guy with a gun argument”

This is not completely unfounded either.

With police seemingly more and more corrupt, it may come down to an individual to protect himself in dangerous situations.

Handguns are probably the best, with more than 2.5 million uses of DGU (defensive gun uses), according to a National Self Defense survey conducted by criminologist Gary Kleck.

But regulation can also solve civil protection problems.

With less guns on the street due to regulation, it will be more difficult for criminals to acquire guns that would potentially cause harm to an innocent.

If you truly believe that guns will help you throw the “oh so tyrannical” government of The United States, check again.

The United States military has invisible tanks, unmanned drones, nuclear power aircraft carriers, 5th generations ground strike aircraft, advanced combat rifles and much more.

Sorry, but your guns won’t help you overthrow the world’s most powerful government.

Deregulating gun laws will not change this fact, unless your idea of deregulating gun laws is to make rocket launchers available and affordable to the entire U.S. population.

Furthermore, law abiding citizens will still own guns and can be that “good-guy-with-a-gun.”

It just makes sense to regulate guns.

The gun culture in our country has become a burden on the society that worships the rifle, where life and death seem not to matter.

Actually, most studies suggest that gun laws reduce violence. In the United States, the South consistently has more deaths by assault than any other region.

It also has the most lenient gun control laws. A Harvard study from last year showed that between 2007 and 2010, states with fewer gun control laws generally had higher gun-related mortality rates than states with stricter gun control.

Another study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association confirmed that finding; and a meta-analysis of other studies, also from Harvard, showed that higher gun ownership rates was correlated with higher homicide rates, both within the U.S. and amongst different high-income countries.

It is a clear and appalling statistic.

Natural law would state that we have unalienable rights, none higher than the right to life.

Your right to own a gun does not trump my right to live.

If guns are inhibiting that natural right then we have a problem that should be considered higher than even the constitution.

Tighter gun restrictions pose threat to safety

By Henry Erlandson ’16
THE ROUNDUP

In 2015, several mass shootings struck the hearts of Americans with grief as a result of tragedies in places such as San Bernardino, Colorado Springs, Umpqua Community College, Chattanooga and Charleston.

These recent events have brought the issue of gun control to the forefront of debate and even prompted The New York Times to publish a rare editorial on its front page in December with a plea to end the gun epidemic.

In light of these atrocities, many have called for tighter gun laws. However, gun control will not solve future gun violence nor will it prevent further terrible shootings.

At its most basic form, gun control is a violation of Americans’ constitutional rights and limits people’s ability to protect themselves, which is why the government should not have the job of disarming its citizens.

In addition, guns are not the problem. People are the problem, and when a person is motivated to kill others, they will do anything to carry it out, whether it is using a knife, a car or their bare hands.

The reality is that a killer is a criminal, and criminals act outside the law. Taking guns away will not stop them from illegally obtaining weapons, making criminals and the police the only people in possession of guns.

President Barack Obama recently said in a January press conference that he would like to go after the issue of gun ownership in America by, in part, adding more background checks and making existing restrictions tighter.

But the fact-of-the-matter is that he should not be punishing law-abiding Americans who wish to exercise their Second Amendment right to protect themselves and their families.

Background checks shouldn’t be taken away either. But the problem with these checks is that assessing the mental state of potential gun owners who may pose a threat is nearly impossible because many mass shooters don’t have criminal records or a history of mental instability.

And for those who think that background checks are a solution to gun violence, the Washington Post published a study last year that showed the number of background checks in the United States has been increasing sharply since 2006, yet it has not stopped major shootings from happening.

Also, 2009 was the first year that the number of guns in the United States outnumbered its population. Yet statistics from an FBI crime report show that the number of murders per 100,000 Americans has decreased since as early as 1990.

However, statistics aren’t enough to reveal the ultimate issues of gun control.

Stricter gun laws infringe on our Second Amendment rights and have no place in our society today. They prevent law-abiding Americans from taking the necessary actions to defend themselves and others during a life-threatening crisis.

I don’t have an issue with restricting the sale of assault rifles because I feel that people can adequately protect themselves with a handgun or any other semiautomatic gun. But realistically, banning those types of guns isn’t likely to stop any more shootings from happening, so it seems to me that laws taking away guns such as AK-47s may draw support, but it’s doubtful they will accomplish any substantial change.

If guns are banned, think of how crime would flourish when criminals realize that they are more than capable of robbing a store or a person if they have a gun and their victim does not.

Imagine being a resident of a Detroit neighborhood, a city that has the highest murder and violent crime rate of any major city in the country, according to the FBI. Would you feel safer if every gun in your community was taken away so that the only way you could protect yourself is by calling the police?

Officers wouldn’t be able to arrive in time to help if someone had a gun aimed at you.

Places where guns are outlawed, otherwise known as gun-free zones, such as schools, religious centers and other designated areas, are most frequently the targets of shooters because they know that they will not face resistance from citizens legally carrying a gun.

Guns are in the right hands when they are in the hands of responsible, trained Americans, which is why the next step that we need to take in our discussion is not taking guns away, but finding ways to make sure that they are in the possession of law-abiding men and women.

In a Utopian society, we could take away weapons with the expectations of never having to deal with another death at the hands of a gun, but the reality is we don’t live in a perfect world.