Gun Control Laws: Restricting Liberty or Ensuring Safety?


Poll showing Americans preferences for stricter gun laws. Source: TNS

Desire for stricter gun laws up
Poll showing Americans preferences for stricter gun laws. (Source: TNS)

Staff Writer
Gun control has been an issue in the United States since the establishment of the Second Amendment, which protects citizens’ right to bear arms. With balanced gun control laws, shooting sprees would likely decrease in numbers due to the lack of weapons in the wrong hands. Recently, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a group of firearm control laws known as “Gunmageddon.” This new set of laws will take effect in January 1st and enforce ammunition background checks, outlaw the possession of high capacity magazines, and even ban “bullet buttons,” which are used to remove a magazine in semiautomatic rifles, replacing the magazine release with a black which forces the owner to remove the magazine using a tool rather than their finger. Without a “bullet button,” it’s very hard to change the magazines in guns, which would limit the owner’s capacity to fire several rounds consecutively.
These new laws are not unopposed. In fact, they’ve been described as “completely insane to anyone with a real knowledge of firearms” by Barry Bahrami, a San Diego-based CEO in an interview with Fox News. A Democratic team of bill sponsors is currently petitioning and protestic these new laws, because they believe that these laws are against their rights and not necessary for safety.
Currently in California as many as 1/5 of the population, or 35 million citizens, are known to own at least one firearm. Mother Jones, a politically progressive American magazine, has tracked and mapped shooting sprees over the three decades from 1982 to May of 2014. In most cases, Mother Jones found out the killers obtained the weapons legally, demonstrating how easy it for a person to be able to obtain a weapon and use it to cause harm. These statistics point out the many loopholes in our current gun control laws and their failure to restrict dangerous people from owning a firearm.
Supporters of the Second Amendment often protest any laws or bills that restrict partial freedom or enforce detailed background checks for ammunition. Many gun owners own guns to hunt or shoot at shooting ranches for their hobbies.  We all have freedom, but our freedom stops when it affects another person’s freedom. Gun owners must see that their cry for their rights and protests cause the government to make weak gun control laws which endanger the lives of many.
Gun control is necessary to protect innocent people, not to take guns away from the citizens who have the right to own them. Merriam Webster defines gun control as the regulation of the selling, owning, and use of guns. Gun control doesn’t ban gun ownership entirely, it limits gun ownership to people who are legally qualified to possess a firearm.
The Virginia tech shooting that caused 49 casualties including 32 fatalities was one of the deadliest shooting attacks by a single gunman in United States history. The shooter, a senior at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University named Seung-Hui-Cho, was diagnosed with severe anxiety disorder but was able to purchase a gun. We need to implement gun control laws make it harder for people with such mental health problems to possess guns. Gun control laws aren’t 100% effective and won’t stop everyone who intends to kill from using firearms, but they are much more effective than doing nothing. The government cannot control every person who owns a gun, they can only limit the selection of people by setting ground rules, which may restrict gun owners but they also keep people safe.
School shootings in America are a common occurrence. According to the website EverytownResearch, where collective data is restored it’s reported that since 2013 there have been at least 191 school shootings in the United States, with an average of one every week.                                                                        How many more are needed so that citizens can realize the damaged caused by gun violence? People should be able to send their kids to a safe environment without fearing for their safety, who’s to say this safety won’t be compromised? Just last year in 2015, 52 school shootings have left 30 dead and 53 injured. Of the 52 shootings, 21 were at colleges or universities, 15 at high schools, 3 at middle schools, 10 at elementary schools, 2 at preschools, and one even on a school bus. School shootings seem to raise no awareness in the lack of security we have for gun permits and licenses. With better gun control, some of these tragic events could have been prevented. These people who died were like us, students with normal lives who paid the price for a lack of security.
Laws that protect the citizens right to possess guns and protect innocent people are what’s needed to make the streets of America a safe place. Everyone should be willing to sacrifice something for the greater good. While even stricter policies may leave some room for error, surely less casualties is better than no improvement. Balanced gun control laws are needed to make America safer.