Time to talk gun control

| David Delgado / The Daily Cougar

In the wake of the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado, in which a gunman opened fire in a crowded movie theater, we as citizens would be derelict in our duty to society if we did not attempt to learn from this atrocity and take steps to ensure it never happens again, or we may end up living in a society where we can’t attend the most routine of public events without being subject to airport-style, full-body scans. We must confront the issue of gun control.

President Barack Obama and Candidate Mitt Romney have each offered condolences to the victims, but the fact that they have neglected to mention their plans for gun control laws is quite disconcerting, albeit politically driven.

They obviously don’t want to disenfranchise any voters during an election year, but their silence gives the impression that the status quo is acceptable. With recent history as the judge, it becomes clear that the regulations we have in place are simply not enough to keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of sociopathic individuals. Statistics obtained from the FBI website show that while one-on-one gun violence has dropped a staggering 40 percent since 1980, the United States still experienced over 14,000 non-negligent homicides in 2010. According to the FBI, 66 percent of those murders were perpetrated with a firearm.

Even as single-victim gun violence is relatively low, shootings involving 4 or more victims have slowly yet consistently risen over the past 30 years, with an average of 167 incidents per year. One of the most striking similarities in cases of mass murder, especially over the past ten years, is the fact that so many of the people responsible for these horrifying acts were able to obtain their means of destruction easily and legally.

The shootings in Aurora, the University of Texas clock tower incident, the Tucson rampage and the Virginia Tech massacre are just a few of the more well-known out of countless examples of mass murders committed with a legally-owned firearm. These tragedies in and of themselves should provide enough incentive for this country to adopt stricter gun laws.

The gun culture in this country is so strong that we sometimes lose sight of the reality that there is not a single logical reason why a citizen should own a high caliber, semi-automatic rifle. One can still hunt and defend their home with something a bit more quaint than a military-style assault weapon. In addition, the process of purchasing a gun needs to become more rigorous than a simple background check. Potential customers could be required to take a gun-safety class or perhaps pass a psychiatric evaluation before purchasing the means to murder and maim their fellow man.

The bottom line is that both people and guns have changed quite a bit since 1776. When the founding fathers wrote of the right to bear arms, they were thinking of muskets, not AK-47s.

Matt Story is a kinesiology senior and may be reached at [email protected].


  • “When the founding fathers wrote of the right to bear arms, they were thinking of muskets, not AK-47s.” While this is true (as AKs didn’t exist), it can be argued that the founding fathers would have supported the ownership of military style assault rifles. The founding fathers had just fought a revolution against a global superpower and were greatly concerned with preventing the newly established government from becoming as oppressive as the one they had just overthrown. One means of preventing the government from becoming oppressive was to allow for an armed citizenry which would be capable of overthrowing an oppressive regime. The musket was the military’s small arm of choice in 1776 and the founding fathers allowed citizens to own them. The AK-47 is the current global military’s small arm of choice – the modern day parallel of the musket.

  • Dudley Brown is the executive director of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, which advocates for firearms owners’ rights. This is what he had to say: “We’re different than other cultures. We DO allow Americans to possess the accoutrements that our military generally has.”

    “Accoutrements.” What a pleasant way of describing the weapons and ammunition and body armor that James Holmes had accumulated over a period of a few months.

    Doesn’t ANYONE find this just a bit disturbing?

    Someone who wants to own a handgun for the protection of his family and property, and/or a rifle to go hunting with, who is also willing to go through background checks and reasonable registration requirements? THAT’S what I would call a responsible gun owner.

    But to suggest that the Second Amendment guarantees that anyone can have an arsenal, stocked with as many guns as he wants, of any type of gun and ammunition that he wants, just because it’s his HOBBY? That’s just nuts.

    All can say is, if this is the way it’s going to be, then we should simply dispense with the hand-wringing when the next massacre takes place. James Holmes did not have a criminal record before he opened fire on a crowded theater. He went about accumulating his weapons and “accoutrements” the same way gun hobbyists everywhere do. We might as well get used to it, because no one has the guts to stand up to the NRA.

  • Carrying a gun around annoys me more than anything else. A gun is designed for the express purpose of killing. Some people carry them for “self defence”, perhaps of the opinion that it will deter another attacker. Ultimately though, you don’t address violent crime by allowing every Tom, Dick and Harry to carry around a potential murder weapon.

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