Right to Kill With Arms?
Published: Friday, February 15, 2013
Updated: Sunday, February 17, 2013 17:02
In the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, there has been a wave of sadness, anger, and contention throughout the nation. The disputes between Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals, and everyday people are surrounded over gun control, an issue that has sparked controversy and debate for decades. In an attempt to seek justice and provide peace of mind, some people have urged for tighter gun control to prevent such incidents, whereas other groups have expressed the need to have more guns in homes and schools for protection.
Recently, President Barack Obama, in the aftermath of the tragedy, explained the necessity for universal background checks in order to give consolation to a nation of grievers, but also to address an issue that was not at the forefront of Obama’s political agenda during his first term. Although some conservatives oppose the idea of universal background checks, around 85% of Americans are in favor of a universal background check for private gun sales, according to national surveys. Wayne LaPierre, the CEO and Executive Vice President of the National Rifle Association, has expressed his opposition with the background checks proposal. On May 28, 1999, however, LaPierre urged for background checks in the aftermath of the Columbine shooting.
In addition to the background checks, Obama is proposing a ban on assault weapons, a stricter watch on “straw purchases,” and an expansion of mental health programs. The growth of these programs can help prevent tragic cases similar to Sandy Hook, since people with mental health issues pose an added danger while possessing a gun. By increasing criminal penalties for “straw purchases,” a person who legally buys a gun and gives it to someone else, America can have a closer eye on gun violence. According to another national survey, in 9 out of 10 gun crimes, the killer is not the original owner of the gun who benefitted from a “straw purchase.”
Many passionate Second Amendment advocates believe that Obama is taking away their right to bear arms, yet his proposal holds promise for the future. Obama isn’t trying to take guns away from law-abiding citizens. He is taking a bold stand against gun trafficking after the gruesome tragedy this nation has witnessed. By focusing on areas such as mental health, safety responses, assault weapons, and background checks, Obama is trying to criminalize the people who abuse their right to bear arms.
The opponents of the proposal also will be perturbed with the potential ban on assault weapons. Many of these gun-owning proponents proudly attest to how guns are used for self-protection from robbers, murderers, etc. By simply looking back at criminal records, one can see how many gun crimes are actually between intimates rather than strangers. Also, the FBI counted an estimate of 213 justified firearm homicides per year from 2005 to 2010, which clearly shows how gun usage for protection is very seldom. And even if there is a ban on assault weapons, Obama’s opponents will still have handguns to rely on.
I think Obama’s plan is a great step in the right direction and conservatives need to understand that he is on their side. As a nation, liberals and conservatives need to work together to help fuel this stand against gun trafficking. If I were to make any changes to Obama’s proposal, I would recommend that the plan also focus on gang violence, drug-related violence, and gun safety education.
This isn’t an issue of gun control, but rather an issue of gun trafficking and protecting the welfare and safety of our law-abiding citizens. I think we as Americans, liberals and conservatives alike, should listen to the wise words of comedian Chris Rock who recently stated, “The president and the first lady are kind of like the mom and dad of the country, and when your dad says something, you listen. And when you don't it usually bites you ….".