Editorial: Banning guns is not the answer

A gun rights advocate with an I VOTED sticker on his holster gathers with others for an annual rally on the steps of the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa., Monday, May 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Matt Rourke

A gun rights advocate with an “I VOTED” sticker on his holster gathers with others for an annual rally on the steps of the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa., Monday, May 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

On Tuesday, May 6th, 2019, Highlands Ranch became a victim of a fatal school shooting, leaving one dead and eight injured. This horrific event adds on to the long list of similar instances in the year of 2019 alone, several being school shootings. There is obviously a problem on our hands. Something must be done. Many people support the efforts of banning these weapons, which at times seems like the only answer, but even if this is a plausible solution, it is not the way to go. The goal of the United States should be moving forward, but banning guns is doing the complete opposite. Instead, we should put another approach into effect.

“Yes, people pull the trigger – but guns are the instrument of death. Gun control is necessary, and delay means more death and horror.” – Eliot Spitzer

Serving as the 54th Governor of New York, Spitzer has had the opportunity to publicly form opinions on numerous areas of concern, one being gun control. It can be seen from the quote above that, like many, he is gripped on gun control objectives. In a way, he does have a point. The gun is what actually injures, or at times kills, living things, but there is much more to take into account. A gun without an operator is like a pencil without a writer…ineffective. When you add a user to the picture, things are much different.

Imagine walking into a room. In the corner of your eye, you see a gun perched on a table. Maybe it scares you…maybe it doesn’t, but in a normal case you would probably feel safe, as no one is there to use the gun. Now, add a person to the situation. Imagine walking into a room. In the corner of your eye, you see a man holding a gun in the middle of the room. It is fair to assume that you wouldn’t feel safe. On the other hand, we see police officers with guns numerous times throughout our lives, and, as long as we are innocent citizens, we do not feel threatened or endangered. This proves a point. Yes, the gun is what does the harm, but it all depends on the person holding the gun. According to an article from the Los Angeles Times, posted in February of 2018, “at least 59% of the 185 public mass shootings that took place in the United States from 1900 through 2017 were carried out by people who had either been diagnosed with a mental disorder or demonstrated signs of serious mental illness prior to the attack” (Grant Duwe and Michael Rocque). Taking this statistic, out of the 185 public mass shootings, 109 of them were committed by someone with a mental disorder or signs of a mental illness. Because of this, guns aren’t the problem, so banning them from the public will do nothing but spur other complications – which will be discussed later on.

Instead of taking away guns, we should support efforts to arm those with good intentions. Focusing on the problems of school shootings, let’s take teachers into account. If an intruder entered a school with a gun, wouldn’t you not only feel more safe but be more safe if your teacher had something to protect you with? Many people argue against this, saying it imposes more danger to the situation, but have you ever thought about what happens during a school shooting? When a school shooting takes place, security and police are called to the scene. These forces don’t come to sweet talk to the threat, but come with weapons in hopes of quickly putting the shooting to an end. While they are on their way, what happens? I will tell you what happens. More and more students, teachers, and staff are injured, killed, or scarred for life due to the events they are forced to witness. By giving these trusted adults guns and training, school shootings, assuming everything goes as planned, will decrease or end at a faster rate. I understand that assuming things doesn’t mean that it will work out, but in my opinion, it is better to have these backup plans and extra protection then to do nothing at all.

A counterargument to this solution, again, will be to just take away the guns. It seems like a simple, logical way to end these terrible occurrences, but after putting thought into it, nothing is really being resolved. There will still be ways to access guns illegally and there will still be unregistered guns out there, possibly making it more difficult to predict/spot a school shooting.

“In 1939, Germany established gun control. From 1939 to 1945, six million Jews and seven million others unable to defend themselves were exterminated.” – Joe Wurzelbacher

Wurzelbacher, an American conservative activist, makes a fair point. After gun control, millions of innocent people were left with no chance of survival, as their access to protection was taken away from them. Is this what America really wants?…because it sure seems like it, which is terrifying. It is possible that when I am older, my Second Amendment right will be taken away, which is another argument that favors the idea of rejecting gun control. The Constitution was created to list and guarantee rights to the American people, rights that we fight for everyday. Just because some people break these rules doesn’t mean that they should be stripped away from law-abiding citizens.

If this happens – the removal or changing of the Second Amendment – then what else is to follow? People get offended by someone’s opinion, removing the First Amendment? People wanting to own slaves again, removing the Thirteenth Amendment? Do you see how things can turn out if lawmakers make such a sudden change to this 200-year old document?

Our current President, Donald J. Trump, is, in my opinion, on the right track to ending our current epidemic. He recently shared, at an NRA Conference, held in Dallas, TX on May 4th, that he “strongly believe[s] in allowing highly trained teachers to carry concealed weapons.” Like I stated before, this step in ending mass shooting and various gun related events doesn’t just involve giving any old teacher a gun. Trump uses the phrase “highly trained” for a reason. This step includes training school officials proper safety and usage techniques, in attempt to provide another effective way in protecting, as Trump refers to them as, “our most valuable resources – our children.”

Maybe allowing teachers to own guns isn’t the right way either, because I am willing to admit that my opinion isn’t always the best solution. In that case, I am still firm in believing that gun control isn’t a smart move. Instead, the next step in solving our gun control problem is making it harder for people to access them, especially those with previous/current mental conditions or gun history. By doing so, we will ensure, or try our best to ensure, that those with guns have them for the right reason, being to protect themselves from danger. In most cases, the suspects that commit school shootings have a reason in doing so. If background checks and procedures become more extensive, these individuals will be denied the right to access a gun, putting an end to that school shooting before it even happened. Yet again, there are instances where the gun is retrieved due to the parents’ ownership of a weapon. These are cases where either the parents need to hide the weapon better or spend more time evaluating their children. If it can be detected that a student has become more enraged or depressed, these shootings can be stopped at a faster rate. If instead we just take away the gun from the household, yes the gun isn’t there to be taken, but in the case of a robbery or emergency, this family is in trouble.

The debate against what to do about gun usage will always be a controversial argument, but I think we can all agree that something must be done. The way we carry out this problem will make a huge change in the way we Americans live our lives. The real question is…which way will the change go?