Kyle B. Utah

What Really Needs to be Done About Guns

A unique medial standpoint that needs to be brought up any time that someone talks about the rights of US gun owners.

Everyone today is not only familiar with guns, but they probably come into contact with them, whether they know it or not, on a regular basis. People all around us own, shoot, and even carry guns. You never know who has one; that guy you see on the subway on your way to work every day or the crossing guard outside your children’s elementary school. Overall more than 37% of American citizens have a gun in their home, and over 11 million people across the country have a permit to carry a concealed firearm. And so Americans everywhere are going to be directly affected by what the government decides to do about rights pertaining to the sale and use of firearms.

All across the country, people have been losing their lives to firearms. I doubt there is one person in this country who could honestly say that they don’t know of a single person who has been directly involved or influenced by a mass shooting. In 2015 alone, there were 372 mass shootings in the US, killing 475 people and wounding 1,870, and the number is even higher this year. Schools, movie theaters, and just streets full of people have been targeted by terrorists and people who are not in their right mind, and the ease by which they have access to firearms is getting really out of hand. "Violent felons aren't allowed to buy guns, period," said Adam Winkler, a law professor at the University of California Los Angeles. "But they can take advantage of the loophole in federal law that allows gun sales, including some gun sales over the Internet, to purchase from non-licensed sellers, who don't have to conduct a background check,” and with no background checks on criminal records, no form of ID needed, many convicted felons are being rearmed without the government’s knowledge, and consequently there is no way for them to monitor all the sales of firearms that take place.

On the other hand, people have always been using guns in the form of self defense. That’s the reason that they were invented. Pertaining to permits required to carry a concealed firearm, in some states as long as you own the firearm you can carry it wherever you want, whenever you want. In theses states, the murder rate is nearly one-quarter lower, and the violent crime rate is 12% lower. People who carry guns and make good choices with them can do a lot to reduce the amount of damage that people who decide to use them badly can cause.

Another pro-gun argument dates back over 200 years. The right to bear armsis given to the citizens of America by the Second Amendments in our country’s Bill of Rights. The rights given to us are very clear, and it can obviously be considered unconstitutional for the government to infringe upon them. Although the overall ban of firearms across the country would be an over-obstruction of the rights of American citizens, putting much higher restrictions and much more extensive background checks on people who buy, own, carry, and sell firearms is in no way an infringement of the Second Amendment, and it is entirely Constitutional for the government to implement.

When you really think about it, there is no way to keep guns out of the hands of every criminal in the US. They are criminals. They do illegal things all the time and they don’t have a problem with going around the law to get what they want. If they want a gun, they’re going to find a way to get one, regardless of whatever restrictions the government has placed on them. A lot of pro-gun activists make a valid argument, saying that putting restrictions on guns will only make it harder for law-abiding citizens to buy firearms, and so while criminals are still just as armed and dangerous, the people of America will be less able to protect themselves.

Therefore, everyone who has taken a stand on this issue, and who is adamantly oriented one way or the other, needs to take a step back and look at what the issue requires. It needs to be addressed by a person who neither owns a firearm, or has lost a family member to a gun. Now there are some who will say that it will not be possible to reach a consensus that will appease both sides of the argument, and we will have to choose either one side or the other. However, this is not a healthy way to view the issues facing us in our lives today. We need not be so steadfast in our opinions that we never reach a compromise. We need to find a happy medium, so that we as American people can be both safe and free.

Spanish Fork High School

AP Language 16-17

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