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Safety, not politics, should spur gun control debate

Published: Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, January 8, 2013 00:01

 

When tragedies like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary or the theater in Aurora Colorado occur, the debate over gun control policy inevitably follows, endlessly polarizing the nation into what each individual believes to be the lesser of many evils. 

But it is this polarization, cultivated by a bevy of special interest groups and fear, which makes it impossible for our nation to come to an agreement that could prevent tragedies like Sandy Hook from occurring.       

In the weeks following the Sandy Hook shooting, the rhetoric for and against gun control laws flew through the media in waves. According to the Washington Post lawmakers are considering legislation forward that could curb gun violence including regulations that would require universal background checks for firearm buyers, tracking the movement and sale of weapons through a national database, strengthening mental health checks and increasing penalties for carrying guns near schools.

The problem is that every solution for gun violence has a list of potential side effects. 

Banning guns will take away law-abiding citizens’ best form of self-defense. The ability for everyone to have a gun just makes it easier for those who wish harm on others to kill. Banning certain types of guns or ammunition or magazines would only allow those who would break the law anyway to have a better weapon for criminal activity.  

The National Rifle Association has made it abundantly clear that they will use every bit of their political power to stop lawmakers from banning firearms by, as they claim, defending our second amendment rights. 

Guns are tools. 

Like a hammer, a knife or a car, guns serve a specific purpose and it is the responsibility of the user to understand the dangers involved in using one. While it is true that anyone can use any tool to cause harm and potentially kill, Adam Lanza and James Holmes did not kill anyone with a knife or a hammer. They used the only tool with a singular purpose for killing. 

This tool made it easier for them to cause as much pain as possible as quickly as possible. According to GunPolicy.org, over the past 10 years the U.S. has seen an average of 9,451 homicides a year as a direct result from this tool.

Unfortunately it was the same tool, that has won wars and stopped criminals. 

Except there was no war and there were no criminals on the other end of the gun, just innocent children and moviegoers.  

It is clear that something needs to be done to stop gun violence. We have created many laws that make our society safer, but for some reason we have left guns unchecked. Unless our current infatuation with firearms changes, then tragedies like Sandy Hook are going to continue to occur.

 

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