Banning guns is not the way to go

Restricting guns can do as much harm as it can do good


Kien Johnson

Defending the rights of gun owners at the McCallum walkout in support of stronger gun control legislation on April 20, 2018, three McCallum seniors (two of them pictured here) sit silently counter-protesting at the rally in the parking lot. “I believe in the Second Amendment since it was instituted in the beginning of this country,” one of them said. “I obviously don’t believe in fully automatic weapons. They aren’t legal anyways. I’m pro-rifle, pro-gun and I’m pro Constitution.” One of the students asked to remain anonymous to protect future opportunities. Photo by Kien Johnson.

Ellen Fox, operations manager

Recent shootings are a huge issue in American life. If we ignore that ever-present danger, we are only furthering it. It also must be acknowledged, however, that we attack the problem of gun control from its true source before we take away the constitutional rights of our people: the heart of the gun-violence crisis in our country isn’t with the guns themselves; it’s the lack of effective regulation of them and our societal failure to address the true cause–our institutions are failing to use the legislative weapons that they have available to protect people from being killed. 

A lot of people fear guns because they fear how they can be used to inflict harm. The fault here is that while guns can inflict fear and death, they can also be a way for a defender to protect their family. Banning guns altogether isn’t fair, especially when neither view of them is complete because it is based on past experience and not fact. Taking away guns may create a sense of peace and security for some people–but there are people on the other side of the issue that believe less guns would mean less protection and the feeling of safety.

Shootings aren’t a gun problem; they’re a people-wanting-to-use-guns problem

Arguments for banning guns revolve around the idea that banning guns will significantly reduce the amount of gun deaths. This is true. However, the amount of deaths in general should not change; the problem with killing is the purpose to kill. God forbid another person feels the need to do a shooting, but the fact is that if there is a will to harm other people for any reason, then people will harm them. Even if guns were fully illegal, the will is still there and damage will still be done with other weapons of mass destruction, unless the person gets some kind of help that addresses the root of the problem. The rash of mass shootings in the United States is a perfect example of how mental health impacts physical health. This proposes a possible solution: more access to mental health resources to decrease the obscene amount of shootings that America has; aka accessing the root of the problem.

Shootings aren’t a gun problem; they’re a people-wanting-to-use-guns problem. And as cliche as it sounds, it’s true and banning guns is only a topical solution to a deeper problem. People who feel the need to shoot people often do it either because grew up in a culture where it was normal and almost necessary to kill in order to survive, they are mentally ill, they are in some kind of crime of passion situation or they feel like a person or group of people needs to be exterminated for whatever reason. All of these situations have nothing to do with guns, that is just the usual weapon of choice. Banning the guns themselves can’t solve this issue.

I will admit that though I thoroughly believe that smaller guns should be allowed, there are some exceptions. Some guns are clearly meant for killing and those should be very heavy regulated; only being used for military purposes. Assault rifles are purposefully made for mass destruction and these kinds of rifles don’t help anyone that isn’t committing a crime. This also gives us a good compromise; banning guns that are frequently used in shootings, but letting people still keep the guns that they feel keep them safe.

So what do we do? We advocate for changed gun laws. First we require tight gun regulations for all kinds of guns. The process should be similar to getting a driver’s license; it should be difficult, with training with a licensed professional and gun law and practice courses necessary for obtaining a license, but not impossible. Second, we make mental health counseling available and affordable for anyone who needs it because mental health bills are less expensive than hospital ones. Working together trying to find a solution that will work for both viewpoints is the only way that we are going to see progress and change.