Editorial

It's time for stricter gun control laws

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

It’s time for America to do something about its gun problem.

Those who consider themselves right-wingers will tell you “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”

Strangely, when someone is killed with a firearm you say that they have been shot not that they have been “peopled.” Ignoring that 59 people did not die Sunday because a man threw knives out of the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Hotel; they died because Stephen Paddock aimed a gun out of the hotel window and opened fire onto a crowd of innocent civilians. Even if guns don’t kill people they sure do make it easier.

It’s being reported that 23 guns have been recovered from Paddock’s hotel room with another 19 guns found in his home. By law he had that right to own enough guns to provide for a small army, but at some point we as Americans need to look at what we should do not what we could do.

So what do we do I hear many of you say condescendingly, well we regulate and reform our laws. It’s not as if guns are the first issue this country has ever faced when it comes to endangering the lives of Americans, though it is certainly one of the longest running we’ve had without doing anything about it. Maybe we start saying that 42 firearms is a little excessive. Maybe we make people have a full mental/physical evaluation before being able to purchase weapons. Maybe we just finally admit to ourselves that something is very wrong and we need to fix it.

Some would argue that my suggestions are unconstitutional because the 2nd Amendment says that they have the right to bear arms. “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Ignoring the fact that when that amendment was written, guns might be able to shoot one bullet every half a minute, people like to forget about the first part of the amendment. Gun owners really like “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed,” when really “a well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,” is the more important part. This was written in a time where foreign invasion was still very likely a thing that could just spontaneously happen.

The 2nd Amendment is not about a single citizen’s right to own a gun. It is about forming a military force out of civilians in an emergency.

I also hear the argument that if we get rid of or restrict gun purchases then the criminals will still be able to get guns through illegal means and all of us poor defenseless law abiding citizens will be at the disadvantage. BUT, a little problem exist with that statement you see:

Omar Mateen, the Orlando nightclub shooter, legal gun purchase, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, the San Bernardino office party shooters, legal gun purchases, Christopher Harper-Mercer, the Umpqua Community College shooter, legal gun purchase, Vester Lee Flanagan, the Roanoke WDBJ shooter, legal gun purchase, John R. Houser, the Lafayette movie theater shooter, legal gun purchase, Dylann Roof, the Emanuel A.M.E. shooter, legal gun purchase…the list goes on, and in case you are wandering, Stephen Paddock, Las Vegas Route 91 Harvest shooter, legal gun purchases.

The shootings I reference here caused the death of a total of 85 people between June 17, 2015 and June 12, 2016. The Paddock shooting just caused the death of 59 people and wounded over 500 in one day.

When are we going to say that enough is enough? When are we going to address the problem? You think events like this would be enough to open the eyes of those who dictate our laws on guns but it hasn’t seemed to yet, and to be honest I don’t see why this latest one would make a difference either.

I hope I am wrong. I hope that everyone will finally come to the conclusion that gun violence and gun availability are linked, but I have had these thoughts before and I keep waking up to news about another shooting.

gwilliams@blythevillecourier.com