Reasonable gun control is possible [Opinion]

“We do not need guns and bombs to bring peace, we need love and compassion” — Mother Teresa.


(The Guardian, photograph by Ian Witlen)

This is the March for Our Lives gun sales protest from Coral Springs, Florida in mid-August this year.

What America needs is gun control. This is not merely the opinion voiced by liberal politicians, it is the chant of millions of activists throughout the country, including the Florida teens who founded “March for Our Lives.” Gun violence has increased significantly in recent years, and too many in power are turning a blind eye. Why is Washington hesitating?

According to the Pew Research Center, the “39,773 total firearm deaths in 2017 were the most since at least 1968, the earliest year for which the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has online data.” Nevertheless, some Americans still fail to address the alarming increase of gun violence.

A WJ junior who wished to remain anonymous noted, “Americans are hesitant to [support] any form of gun control because bearing arms is a constitutional right, and it would be an inconvenience to some.” Personally, though, the student doesn’t think “convenience is a priority in acquiring a gun.”

While some Americans feel their constitutional right is being threatened, the authors of the document written over 230 years ago had different reason for the need to bear arms. Also, the fastest well-trained soldier in the 1700s could fire two to three shots in one minute. Today, assault weapons such as the AO-63 assault rifle can shoot up to 6,000 bullets in a mere sixty seconds.

Incredibly, on Twitter Texas Senator Ted Cruz backed up Texas Republican State Representative Matt Schaefer who claimed that owning firearms was a God-given right in order to protect one’s self and family. But what if bearing arms goes beyond self-defense? Of the 39,773 total firearm deaths in 2017, the CDC found that 23,854 of those deaths were the result of suicide and 14,542 of them were the result of homicide.

Senior Julia Rizzo stated, “People might be hesitant to implement new laws simply because they don’t understand what these new laws would require them to do.” Some may fear that any regulation would lead to total confiscation of firearms.

In February, reasonable gun control legislation was introduced and passed in the House of Representatives, but it has met with resistance in the Senate. Many politicians ignore the pressing need for gun control because they are afraid to take a stance and lose constituent support.

Julia, an avid gun control advocate, also said, “People who don’t want more gun control are the reason that we need it. When the guns in their safes are worth more than their children going to school, that’s when there’s a problem.”

The previously mentioned anonymous student noted, “If anyone wants to see real reform in America, there needs to be an actual plan and support for their findings. People instituting reforms must be knowledgeable.”

Gavin Carr, ’21, agreed, saying, “The root of gun violence is not in our laws; it is in our mindsets and culture. We must change our attitudes to help those struggling with problems they think they can solve with guns.”

Activists often mention that their goal is to bring attention and concern to problems before they can expect to solve them; admitting there is a problem is the first step towards a solution.

With this argument, a solution can be found when Americans recognize the gun violence epidemic and propose a rational plan for safer regulations. Junior Colin Clark suggested that “background checks on those purchasing guns and a form of regulation on what previously convicted owners may purchase or have access to could be a reasonable step towards gun safety.” Colin added that there should be “encouragement of proper gun storage and handling for all gun owners.”

Another junior, Miranda Herbele, urged, “There absolutely needs to be a change made, and soon, too. Too many kids walk into school in America without the guarantee of walking back out.”