By Allison Normile, Contributor
I am deeply saddened by the domestic terrorism this country is experiencing. Such acts of violence are inconceivable to me and all of the people I know, and yet it still occurs across our nation. However, I feel the need to express the problem I see with my fellow citizens who are calling for tighter gun laws, and in extreme cases the revocation of the Second Amendment. It is imperative to let these folks know that stricter gun regulations are not the answer. Guns are not the problem. But I fear I already know what you’re going to say. You’re “not anti-gun, it’s just that…
…I’m against criminals having such easy access to guns.”
I’d like to point out that criminals are, by definition, people who do not abide by the law. Further regulation of guns would do nothing to deter criminals from killing or injuring another person with a gun. To my point, murder is illegal and is still prevalent; drugs are illegal, and they are still an enormous issue. Banning things – including guns – doesn’t stop someone’s need or want to obtain said things.
…I’m against people with mental illness getting their hands on a gun.”
First, mental illness does not equal a propensity towards violence. In fact, people with mental illnesses have a much greater chance of being victims of violence than being the person committing the crime.
Second, this argument is inherently flawed because there is no reliable screening method. Mental illness disproportionately affects people of a lower socioeconomic status. Specifically, low socioeconomic status is actually a risk factor for developing a mental illness. People of lower socioeconomic status often do not regularly see a doctor. Without seeing a qualified mental health professional, a person with a mental illness would not be documented as such. Thus, the magical list of mentally ill citizens who are unfit to own guns does not exist.
…I think it should be harder for everyone to obtain a gun.”
Guns aren’t going to stop being made and existing ones aren’t going to disappear, so let’s get some facts straight. The gun death rate in the United States declined by 31% between 1993 and 2014 (2015-present data is unavailable from this source). However, even if this was not true and stricter gun control was enacted, the problem of gun violence would not be solved. That is because making it harder to obtain a gun legally only creates a black market for them. It’s worth mentioning that the prohibition of alcohol in the 1920s and early 1930s created speakeasies and the rise of organized crime. Similarly, the War on Drugs is often seen as a failure by the same people who are calling for more gun control.
…We could try a government buy-back program. Australia did it!”
There are approximately 350 million guns in the United States. It would cost a colossal amount of money for our government to buy those guns from its citizens. We as a nation simply cannot financially afford this. Additionally, it would be essentially impossible to enforce this. Criminals would not voluntarily hand over their guns (see my first point above). Even if police were able to track down all of the registered firearms across the country, that would still leave all of the guns that are owned illegally unaccounted for.
…I don’t see a reason why citizens need to own guns – they’re for the police and military.”
Culturally and historically speaking, we are a nation whose second right (and not second by coincidence) is the right to own guns. 42% of Americans live in a household with a gun. Our nation was born out of the belief that if a government becomes oppressive or tyrannical, it should be overthrown by and for the people. That is who we are as a nation. If you want to argue that police brutality is a real issue or if you believe the government is not trustworthy, then you should have the right to own a gun. And you do. Embrace it. But if you need another reason, consider this: mass shootings can be – and have been – stopped by law-abiding citizens with guns.
How’s that for gun control?