Dear Future President,
The topic of gun control is one of the biggest problems in our world today. The major dilemma we face with this issue is how do we stop all of the violent shootings that we hear about all too often? Everyone has seen the scene of a shooting, at least on the news if not in person. The police officers with their blaring sirens arriving to the scene, the yellow caution tape surrounding the area, and the utter chaos taking place as many people’s lives have just changed forever, whether they were involved in the actual shooting or not. These are the things that none of us want to see, but we see all too often. The issue of gun control is whether or not to prevent the use and owning of guns, but don't we all want the same outcome? No matter your stance on gun control, we all want the safety of the people. Preventing the use of guns is not our concrete issue, because it is not the gun itself that it is the problem, it is about why we are trying to prevent the use of guns and stopping these criminals, and that matters to all of us.
I believe too many people are in the mindset of the gun itself as the problem, but the real problem is the person using the gun. In today's world, I believe it is too easy to obtain a gun. Background checks could be a lot better in the fact that so many pieces of information slip through the cracks. Nobody with any type of criminal history should be able to own a gun because they are already in a bad mindset and thinking “I am going to hurt somebody with this weapon”. Also, anyone with a mental illness should not be able to own a gun, because who knows when their mind could flip the switch and do something horrific.
So what are people doing about it? If you wanted everybody to turn in their guns, who would actually turn them in? Everybody who follows the rules would turn them in, but the people with the guns, the people who we are actually trying to stop, will find a way to keep them, putting everyone at further risk with not being able to defend themselves at all. An analogy for this would be a leopard and gazelle in a hunt. If you want to stop the leopard, you don’t cut the horns off of the gazelle. All this does it make it easier for the predator, which in turn will produce more predators.
There is a story of a girl named Amanda Collins, who was a college student at the time of this incident. She owned a gun, but did not have it with her at the time, because, like a lot of campuses, were a weapon free zone. She was raped by a man who went on to murder a girl a few months later. Amanda states that this girl would not have been dead, and she would not have been raped, if she had her gun with her at the time. No guns at school and on campus is reasonable, but how much safer would students and staff feel (if they had a gun with a Concealed Carry Weapons Permit) if they had guns to defend themselves from a shooter, instead of being completely defenseless, leading to a lot more chaos and damage, as well as lives lost.
And then there are hunters. Hunters depend on guns to hunt for food as a way to support their family, and they obviously can’t do that if their guns are being taken away, for what some hunters believe is a “false and temporary feeling of security.” Making gun ownership illegal would further the problem by, as I said earlier, harming the law abiders while giving a further advantage to the actual criminals. There is an interesting stat of the US having 5 percent of the world's total population, but owns 50 percent of the guns in the world. From this, some might say that we have too many guns, and it makes it easier for a criminal to get their hands on a gun. But when you take a step back and look at this, many of these guns are for our nation's military, who protect us using weapons such as guns. There still may be too many guns, but it can be managed with proper procedures and protocols, such as tighter background checks.
Sadly, I don’t believe gun violence can be completely stopped, only managed effectively. Since 1982, 56 out of 71 mass shootings involved at least one legally bought gun. This could mean a couple of things, one being when going through background checks, a red flag is not caught and the shooter got away with a gun. The other reason would be that the person buying the gun had no criminal record, and bought the gun legally and decided to start using it, for whatever the reason, in the wrong way.
There are programs started to help kids in this bad mindset for whatever reason, most could be from the traumatic loss of a family member who was shot and killed, and they think it is okay to do the same, or they just want revenge. Specifically in Richmond, California, there was a program to help kids that were headed down the wrong path with weapons, specifically guns. They were each mentored by a reformed criminal who is trying them to go down the better road and offer advice. After being in close contact with good behavior for six months, they start to earn $1,000 a month for each month of good behavior, for up to nine months. If one of the mentors felt something was wrong, he would get in contact and make sure it wasn’t his kid in trouble. In 2009, right before the program started, there were 47 homicides in Richmond. In 2014, well into the program, the homicide number fell to 11, the lowest it had been in four decades.
If we had more programs like this throughout the country, along with tighter background checks, we can get kids going in the right direction from a young age, and start hearing good things when you turn on your local news, instead of hearing that someone had been shot and killed so often. This can all be done without taking away the guns themselves, but reforming the people that use them in the wrong manner.