Monday, July 23, 2012

Gun Control - The Solution or the Scapegoat?


            The tragic events in Aurora, Colorado last week are still rippling throughout the country.  In the wake of such a heinous crime, it's natural to ask what could have been done to prevent such senseless killing.  The options are many, however I’m not sure any of them would have prevented something like this from happening.  Many point to gun laws, and argue that further restricting the availability of guns is the best solution.  I have even heard some argue that the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (establishing the fundamental right to bear arms) should be repealed, in favor of laws totally restricting the possession of firearms to those serving in law enforcement or military.  Personally, I find this argument unpersuasive and absurd.  It is my understanding that the primary purpose of the 2nd Amendment was to allow the people (that’s us) to stand against tyrannical governments that no longer functioned for the people.  Another purpose of the 2nd Amendment is to provide the individual with the ability to protect him or herself from others.  As it’s been argued countless times before, a dangerous criminal is bound to find a gun whether legally or illegally, and whether they are readily available or not. 

            So, short of a repeal of the 2nd Amendment or some sort of a complete ban on personal use firearms, should we further restrict the acquisition and possession of firearms?  Perhaps to the level of a county such as Norway, which completely bans automatic weapons, limits ownership of handguns to one gun per caliber, and forbids the carrying of loaded guns, among other strict regulations?  While this may sound appealing to many, keep in mind that one of the world’s worst mass murders occurred one year ago yesterday – in Norway, by a Norwegian named Anders Breivik.  Breivik went on an orchestrated killing spree, which lasted around 90 minutes, and left around 70 dead and many more wounded.  While I would never second guess the actions taken by the innocent victims in Norway, I do wonder how things may have been different if looser gun laws would have allowed one of those victims to carry a weapon for self defense.  How many lives could have been spared, if the killer wasn’t the only person there with a gun?  As is the case in Norway, the United States, and every other country on the planet, sick, deranged people walk in our midst everyday.  No matter how strict the gun laws are, every once in a while, these things are going to happen.  I believe rather than tighten gun laws, all we can really do is try to look out for each other and be aware of the mental state of those around us – and never allow the actions of a monster to steal the freedoms granted to us under our Constitution.

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