POINT COUNTER POINT: Gun Control

By Postie Editors

POINT: Don’t make everyone suffer because of some people’s actions

By: NICHOLAS WALTER

Guest Columnist

The morning of Dec 14, 2012, a group of schoolchildren sat in a classroom in Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newton, Conn. The winter air was chill, tinged with the frostiness that only comes to the Northeastern part of this nation. The serenity of the ordinary was rudely shattered when 20-year-old Adam Lanza burst into the school, gunning down administrators and schoolchildren alike. At the end of the encounter, Lanza and 26 other people — 20 of them children — were dead.

This horrendous tragedy has justly provoked great anger and rekindled a dying battle over gun control.

California Senator Diane Feinstein has proposed a sweeping new gun control bill, with prohibitions ranging from forward grips to pistols with threaded barrels. Politicians have stepped forward, demanding that gun violence be curtailed. Yet the core question amidst all the fervor and political clash is simple: should the federal government control guns? Should firearms be only allowed under the tightest of regulations, and most, if not all, guns be banned as “dangerous” or “unsafe?”

The answer is a resounding no. The consequences of enacting this or similar bills are harmful and counter-productive. However, we’re students. A mere “No” isn’t enough. In order to prove this point, several questions must be answered. Why is gun control a bad idea? Why should it never be enacted? Why should Americans be allowed to keep and bear arms?

That last phrase should have been an instant cue. The law of the United States, the Constitution, which trumps all other laws in this nation, clearly states, “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be denied.” No clearer mandate can be stated: as U.S. citizens, we have the right both to own, and also to carry, our guns. A gun ban like Sen. Feinstein’s is flatly illegal.

Gun control is illogical as well as illegal. Consider what would have happened if there had been a police officer (all of whom are trained to carry/use guns) standing in the doorway of Sandy Hook that fateful morning. Adam Lanza would have gotten no further than the sidewalk. Furthermore, the mere threat of a trained man with a gun would have been a major deterrent, most likely stopping Lanza from even coming to Sandy Hook. The point is simple: is a criminal more likely to be deterred by an unarmed group of five-year-olds or a trained officer of the law waiting with a gun?

Gun control is only successful at removing firearms from the hands of law-abiding citizens. Criminals are always going to be able to procure lethal weapons. There’s a reason they are called criminals. Therefore, the very segment of the population that gun control purportedly helps is the one most likely to be victimized! What a perversion of the stated purpose of gun control, which is presumably to better protect the people of America!

What happened at Sandy Hook was a heinous evil. It has become a cliché, yet the phrase holds true: that should not happen to anyone. Taking steps to control guns, however, is a step in the wrong direction. As a final thought, it is often popular to make policy decisions on the basis of a single event. When a tragedy such as Newton occurs, the immediate instinct is to clamor for change, with no thought to the consequences. If change should happen, it must be in the opposite direction from the road that proponents of gun control are traveling. For such a road will inexorably pull our nation, as it has so many others, down the path from freedom and toward the path of tyranny.

 

COUNTER POINT: Gun control is a necessary action

By: EVAN JONES

Guest Columnist

A 2006 study by Milner, Hemenway and Azrael from the Harvard School of Public Health found that states with higher gun-ownership rates have significantly higher rates of gun-homicide than states with lower gun-ownership rates. Opponents of stricter gun controls and the American gun lobby rely on rhetorical fear-mongering when building their arguments because at day’s end, after all the rancorous debate is over, the facts all point to one conclusion: stricter gun control laws are necessary.

The Constitution may guarantee the right to bear arms, but it is conditional insofar as it does not interfere with other inalienable rights such as the right to life. In the Supreme Court case District of Columbia v Heller, Justice Scalia—arguably the Court’s biggest proponent of gun rights—explicitly stated that the Second Amendment does not permit the possession of any firearm at any place for any purpose. The government already has the exclusive rights to plenty of arms that citizens are not allowed to own. The regulation of arms is not illegal at all; in fact, the law needs to be comprehensively updated to fit the increasing lethality of weapons in our era.

Furthermore, to contort the adoption of stricter gun control laws into a scenario where the government tries to impinge upon our Second Amendment rights and take away citizens’ guns is a slippery slope. There are an estimated 310 million civilian-owned guns in the United States, compared to around four million guns owned by the police and military. Civilians outgun the government by a factor of about 78 to 1. The government has never tried to “take away our guns” and there is no reason to believe they ever would, or even could.

Advocates of gun control conjecture that had a faculty member at Sandy Hook been armed or an officer stationed there, the tragedy could have been averted. However, in the past thirty years, not a single mass shooting has been stopped by an armed civilian. Advocates rebut this is because most mass shootings happen at places where carrying a gun is illegal, so law-abiding gun owners do not bring their weapons there. Even if carrying firearms in such places were legal, more bullets flying simply equates to more collateral damage.

And before accepting the notion that stricter gun control has no effect on crime and only penalizes law-abiding citizens, consider the 40 percent of prison inmates convicted of gun crimes that legally purchased their weapons. Those who maintain the status quo as sufficient are essentially in favor of letting criminals legally arm themselves. If stricter gun control means making it harder for criminals to legally purchase weapons, then the choice for lawmakers is pointedly clear.

What is most upsetting about gun control is not necessarily that it takes a tragedy like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary to create impetus for change, but that no amount of undeniable evidence will ever bring gun advocates to accept the plain truth: America needs stricter gun controls.