November 16, 2016
Dear Future President:
In the summer of 2015, Lafayette, Louisiana, often referred to as “the happiest city in the world”, had their entire community turned upside down. On July 23, 2015, a man opened fire in the local movie theatre, killing two people and injuring nine before committing suicide. This extremely unfortunate event shook the lives of many living in this formerly peaceful community – my community. This man was discovered to be John Russell Houser, a fifty-nine-year-old man of Russell County, Alabama, with no connections to Lafayette, Louisiana, prior to the shooting. Houser had a significant history of violence and mental illness, including two forced hospitalizations, yet this obviously troubled man was still allowed to purchase a gun. This man was clearly in no position to be in possession of a firearm; that was made clear by his actions on that day in Lafayette. Unfortunately, this devastating tragedy is not a one-time occurrence, but an extremely pressing problem in America today. I do not want to live in a society driven by fear any longer. While the complete expulsion of firearms in unnecessary, stricter laws and background checks desperately need to be put in place when it comes to purchasing a gun.
As the President of the United States, you will hear countless arguments over this issue. Some thought-provoking points will be made by those who are pro-gun control. For instance, some will say that guns should be banned altogether. They say that the only solution to the problem of gun violence is ending all possibilities of shootings for good. I disagree. The complete prohibition of guns would only prevent those who pass thorough background checks with no problems from protecting themselves against those who are in questionable mental states. There is no doubt in my mind that even if firearms were eliminated, those dangerous members of our society would still find a way to harm others. They may be inclined to make weapons of their own, possibly more dangerous and unpredictable than guns that are available. Those who are liable to be victims to these people deserve to have the possibility of protecting themselves.
Others believe that while people may be rightly considered “mentally unstable” at some point, that may not be the case for the rest of their lives. Why should someone wear that label their whole life? They shouldn’t. Instead, thorough background checks should be given and revalidated to all Americans who are aiming to possess a firearm. If someone is considered not fit to purchase a gun by their background check or any analysis done, then they simply should not own one. Clear and simple. However, more tests can be given later on when there is cause that this person is no longer considered “unstable”. When evidence has been presented that the individual is no longer at risk to threaten society and numerous doctors have approved, then they can own a gun. There is no discrimination involved. With these regulations set, everyone will receive the same treatment in regard to the possibility of being allowed to legally own a firearm.
Some people make a valid point about those who pass thorough background checks. They say that they are still able to take part in some kind of mass shooting. Again, that problem can be fixed by extremely thorough and extensive background checks for all. I am not saying that shootings will never happen again with these new tests put into place, but I truly believe the number of them would be greatly reduced. If and when someone were to pass all examinations and still do harm to people with the gun they possess, America would make sure that person never had access to a gun again.
The world is not what it used to be. Twenty years ago, the numbers for mass shootings were absolutely nowhere near what they are today. Now, there are alarming statistics coming out every week. These tragic events are acknowledged and mourned on anniversaries, but America tends to push them away and not think about them for every other day. How is this way of life okay with most people of our country? Something needs to change, and it needs to change soon. I want change for America. I want to live without fear among my friends and family. I want to walk into a movie theatre, unafraid of the people around me. I want my happy community back. I want my home back. Stricter, more extensive background tests, along with more thorough psychological testing of those desiring to own a firearm, are changes America must see in order to become truly great again.
Gillespie, Nick. "Gun Control Isn't the Answer." The Daily Beast, The Daily Beast Company LLC, 14 June 2016, www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/06/14/gun-control-isn-t-the-answer.html. Accessed 11 Nov. 2016.
Goldberg, Jeffrey. "Gun Ownership with Stricter Controls Could Reduce Gun Violence." Guns and Crime, edited by Noël Merino, Greenhaven Press, 2015. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, ic.galegroup.com/ic/ovic/ViewpointsDetailsPage/ViewpointsDetailsWindow?disableHighlighting=&displayGroupName=Viewpoints&currPage=&dviSelectedPage=&scanId=&query=&source=&prodId=OVIC&search_within_results=&p=OVIC&mode=view&catId=&u=lafa43079&limiter=&display-query=&displayGroups=&contentModules=&action=e&sortBy=&documentId=GALE%7CEJ3010015266&windowstate=normal&activityType=&failOverType=&commentary=. Originally published as "The Case for More Guns (and More Gun Control)" in Atlantic, Dec. 2012. I did not copy and paste this citation. I entered everything as I usually do, and it switched to this format. Mrs. Edwards and I tried to fix it and change the citation to be how it was originally, but we could not figure it out. I am putting this in the annotations to show that this citation was not copied and pasted.
LaFraniere, Sharon, and Emily Palmer. "What 130 of the Worst Shootings Say About Guns in America." New York Times, The New York Times Company, 21 Oct. 2016, www.nytimes.com/2016/10/22/us/shootings-gun-violence.html?_r=0. Accessed 11 Nov. 2016.