The student voice of Perry High School

Isabell Martinez

Isabell Martinez

Point/Counterpoint: Gun violence

March 6, 2018

Comprehensive legislation only way for general sense of helplessness to end

In the days following the Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school shooting, debates over the sale of assault rifles have erupted. These debates, with arguments coming from all levels on the conservative-republican spectrum, are forcing lawmakers to revisit the conversation surrounding gun control and its constitutionality.

Many conservatives will cite the Second Amendment in their argument for less gun control. However, the Second Amendment, a constitutional provision established in the Bill of Rights, was ratified in 1791 during a time when the guns available could only fire one round at a time with a lengthy reloading process (equating to 3 to 4 per minute). It would be another 173 years before the first assault rifle was introduced in America, and in 2018, semiautomatic weapons now have the capacity to theoretically fire 120-180 rounds per minute.

It is hard to justify this sort of weaponry in the modern era using the words of our founding fathers, which were written under much different circumstances. The Constitution was intended to be flexible and amendable with due process, so those swearing by these words are blind to the fact that modern assault rifles were not actually founding-father endorsed.

With this in mind, it is important to assert that the request is not for a gun ban, but instead for more control over the accessibility and availability of firearms.

Semi-automatic weapons like the ones used in Parkland and Las Vegas have no reason to be in the hands of citizens, mentally stable or not. Some may cite their necessity in the practice of hunting, yet fail to consider the many people who were able to successfully feed or entertain themselves with less profound guns in the past centuries. Perhaps these guns were created for more trivial purposes, but, like an intentionally-introduced invasive species gone rogue, the sale of assault rifles and semi-automatic weapons has instigated too much bloodshed and massacre in America to overlook.

In these crucial coming months, policymakers across the country must consider the lives that would be spared by barring the sale of assault rifles over the hurt feelings or pride of gun owners.

Of course, there are many Americans that peacefully own these weapons. However, the level of practicality in owning a rapid-fire arm does not measure up to the value of a human life.

Of course, there are several factors that lead to a mass shooting apart from the gun itself, such as mental health. However, the natural fragility of the human mind is complex and unlikely to be resolved soon. As we continue to search for ways to help the mentally ill in the long-term, we can try to prevent mass shootings starting now by banning the assault rifles that make them drastically more plausible.

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    Restricting gun access hurts more than helps; focus on mental health as root

    The Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America explains that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. If there is one thing that the legislators and citizens of America must keep in mind is that the gun does not kill: the person who is pulling the trigger kills.

    For example, let’s say I put a loaded gun on a table with the safety off and say, “Go on, go shoot someone.” As far as I know, the gun will not go assault people and commit mass murder. The rifle does not assault. The person with the rifle assaults.

    One thing we, as the next voters, need to keep in mind is, is the gun the problem or is the person the problem? We would be able to hit more points if we focused on keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally unstable and not out of the hands of law-abiding citizens.

    When the government makes something illegal, it makes it harder for people to get it, which can cause lots of openings in the black market for that illegal object, making it even more illegal.

    Look at Chicago, where they have some of the strictest gun control laws in the country. Their crime rate is astronomical. Look at Gilbert, where concealed carry is permitted so long as the carrier has a concealed carry permit. How much crime have you heard about here?

    Perhaps we need to stop and take a minute to think about the mental stability of the person who is holding a weapon that can take lives but save just as many if not more. In the Florida case, the shooter’s legal support pleaded that he was mentally unstable after the death of his mother.

    Technically, isn’t anyone who finds it okay to shoot an entire school mentally unstable? If someone wanted to inflict harm upon another, there are many ways to do it. So why does this just have to be about guns? Why can’t this be about the people?

    It cannot be stressed enough that the gun is not the problem. The person holding it is. So enough about gun control. It’s like trying to control drugs and trying to keep those illegal; those can kill too. So the buying and selling of guns, whether legally or illegally, can never go away for good. This can be seen with the legal and illegal selling of drugs as well.

    I understand that perhaps maybe better background checks should be initiated and that we need to keep guns out of the hands of those who wish to harm. But to completely prevent practically any law abiding citizen from buying protection? That is something I will not stand by.

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