I Love Guns, But I Want Better Gun Control Laws
I love guns. I was raised around them and go skeet shooting often to blow off steam, which I thoroughly enjoy. I also value my right to do so. For years, I would argue with anyone who even hinted at gun control, demanding that they could not infringe upon my rights. Looking back, I feel I was being entirely selfish.
Like many other Americans, I spent many days last year glued to the images and stories of those who have been impacted by gun violence, and it changed my perspective entirely. As I watched the events of the mass shooting at a church in South Carolina unfold, something snapped inside of me and I finally understood the urgent need for better and smarter gun legislation. I could not shake the overwhelming fact that the shooter, Dylann Roof, should never have been allowed to have a weapon.
Currently, the National Rifle Association, and much of my social media feed, is up in arms — pun not intended — over President Obama’s plan for executive actions to alleviate gun violence. He announced his plans yesterday while wiping away tears, saying “we do have to feel a sense of urgency about it. In Dr. King’s words, we need to feel the fierce urgency of now — because people are dying.”
Meanwhile, the NRA and its supporters are figuratively shrugging their shoulders about the violence and offering no meaningful proposals to curb this nation’s growing and undeniable epidemic — and its panic. President Obama is not trying to disarm the entire population, but simply create a more responsible process for how firearms are obtained, and by whom, mainly by expanding the background check process to include all firearms dealers. It would be incredibly selfish of me, or anyone else, to worry about our right to own whatever weapons we want with no questions asked, while not considering the right of our fellow colleagues and classmates to go to work and school without fear.
As someone who values her rights, I support the White House’s actions on this issue, and actually wish he was taking his actions even further. Unfortunately, previous efforts for stronger legislation by Democrats in Congress, as well as by the president, have been continuously blocked.
In 2015, at least 265 children or teens under the age of 18 picked up a firearm and accidentally shot themselves or someone else, according to Everytown USA, a gun control advocacy group that tracks gun violence. This frightening number means that there were five accidental shootings by children and teens per week. The frequency of these largely preventable fatalities would surely decline if all gun owners were thoroughly trained in gun safety and storage, the way that they are in car safety. Treating guns with the same care as vehicles is a must, as guns are now killing as many people as cars do. We are required to register our vehicles and pass a driving test before we may acquire a driver’s license and drive our cars, yet no such precautions are taken with gun ownership.
According to the Mass Shooting Tracker, there were 372 mass shooting tragedies in the U.S. in 2015. That means that mass shootings are more than a daily occurrence. These alarming acts of violence left 475 people dead and another 1,870 wounded. Each of the people represented in those numbers had friends, families, and those who love them.
In the fall, I listened in horror as my daughter, who is still in kindergarten, explained that she had to do an active shooter drill in school, hiding in the closet with her entire class, staying perfectly silent, practicing hiding from a bad guy.
We, as a nation, would apparently rather our children have to rehearse their own deaths than fight for change.
Chris Murphy, the Connecticut senator who represented Newtown following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School which left 20 extremely young children and six adults dead, has stated that the lawmakers blocking gun control efforts are complicit in further death. I believe that he is correct.
A common argument that I hear among my peers is that if the entire population was armed, there would be fewer shootings — as “good guys with guns would stop bad guys with guns.”
Last October, at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, a gunman opened fire killing nine people before committing suicide. John Parker Jr., a veteran and student was one of several “good guys with guns” on campus with a concealed handgun when the massacre began.
The reason for their inaction, according to Parker, was concern that police would see him with a gun and assume that he was the “bad guy,” causing him to be targeted. His concern presents a logistical problem for the argument to arm more people with the goal of stopping mass shootings.
Perhaps the most common argument against gun control, however, is that deranged criminals do not obey the law. Gun lobbyists argue that this would leave people more susceptible to break-ins and crime, as less of the population arms themselves.
On April 28, 1996, a gunman opened fire on tourists in Australia, killing 35 people and wounding 23 more. Less than two weeks later, the government took action and announced sweeping gun reform across the nation. The government did a buyback of 600,000 semi-automatic shotguns and rifles — which accounted for only one fifth of the guns in Australia — as well as prohibited private sales, required all weapons to be individually registered to their owners, and required that gun buyers present a “genuine reason” for needing each weapon at the time of the purchase (such as hunting). “Self defense” was not considered a valid genuine reason. During the decade following the reform, homicides by firearm dropped 59% and suicides by gun dropped 65% as easy access to the deadly weapons declined. Contrary to NRA fear mongering, home invasions did not increase at all. There also hasn’t been a single mass shooting in all of Australia since.
It’s time that we start looking at how other countries have made changes to curb gun violence and follow their lead.
Americans are 20 times more likely to be murdered with a gun than people in other developed countries, and it does not need to be this way. We can learn from them, the gun industry just does not want us to. Overall, 13,341 people were killed by a bullet, and 26,922 were injured, in 2015. Nearly 700 of those killed or injured were children under the age of 12, as well as 2,688 between the ages of 12 and 17.
As a responsible citizen, I am more than happy to spend a little time going through a longer process to get my guns if it prevents even one shooting like those that shattered so many hearts across America last year.
“We maybe can’t save everybody, but we could save some,” Obama said yesterday. Even as a gun lover, I happen to agree.
See the compete original article at : http://www.teenvogue.com/story/gun-owner-supports-president-obama-gun-control-orders