Columbine High School. Virginia Tech. A movie theater in Aurora, Co. Sandy Hook Elementary School.
A few years ago these names and places, scattered across the country, would not have been grouped together. They represented something different.
The recent shooting at Sandy Hook has sparked a flurry of debate about gun violence and how to control it. Sadly, shootings at schools, malls and other public places are not as uncommon as they should be. However, after 20 innocent children were gunned down in Newtown, Conn., politicians quickly took to disagreeing about how to stop it from happening again.
What is the best way to control gun violence?
First, it is impossible to simply get rid of all the guns. It’s impossible and it’s unconstitutional. The second amendment clearly states, “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
During America’s revolution the British made efforts to disarm the Patriot militia and placed embargoes on firearms and ammunition. The colonies felt their rights were being taken away.
So since citizens are allowed to own guns, how do we keep them from getting into the wrong hands?
On Wednesday, President Obama presented 23 executive actions to increase gun control. These actions include requiring background checks for everyone trying to purchase a gun, a ban on military-style assault weapons and a 10-round limit for magazines.
The president urged Congress to “help rather than hinder” law enforcement by punishing those who sell guns illegally and keeping police officers on the job.
While gun rights activists might complain, in theory, the plan could help. But it’s important to look at the big picture.
A gun is just a weapon. Someone has to pull the trigger.
The law already requires licensed gun dealers to complete background checks before someone buys a gun from them. If Congress decides to make universal background checks the law, private sellers will have to complete them too. This includes individuals who sell their weapons at gun shows, which are one of the most popular places to buy guns.
But will private sellers comply with the law?
Possibly. But what if they are more focused on the money in the customer’s hand?
Gun control isn’t the real issue. The real issue is “people control.”
Yes, the law should be used to control the sale and use of guns, but it should also be used to help people who have the potential to become violent. Don’t treat the symptoms and ignore the disease.