Gun violence, no matter where it occurs, is horrifying. One can try to run away from it by not reading the news, staying away from social media, and wishing that it doesn’t happen to them or someone they love. But it seems that every day violence gets closer to the front door, an experience I had last week when I began reading reports of a shooting at a software company in Middleton, Wisconsin. Middleton is about twenty minutes away from the University of Wisconsin campus. Not only is that too close for comfort, I have friends and classmates from that area. Sending a text message asking if everyone they know is safe is something no one should ever have to do. Opinions on gun violence and what should be done about it are as diverse as Americans themselves, and these are a few from college students themselves.
- “While angered students push Florida legislature for gun control, a positive push to curb mass shootings, the focus on banning assault weapons won’t stop future mass shootings. The main reason being that the ban has been done before with minimal results. On Sept. 13, 1994, President Clinton banned assault weapons for ten years. The ban, which barred the manufacture and sale of guns with military features and the sale of magazines holding more than 10 rounds, had no proof it contributed to a decline in mass shootings.”
- “An assault weapon, such as the AR-15 used in the Parkland shooting, can dispense 45 rounds a minute. It might be the easiest gun to use in a mass shooting, but it’s not necessarily the only one. Having multiple loaded firearms or legally modifying firearms to do more damage offers just as deadly results in a mass shooting.”
- “Assault weapons have become the symbol of mass shootings, and a ban on them would ease the students of Parkland as well as other survivors of assault weapons. But in a society drunk on violence, the underlying causes of mass shootings will not go away simply by banning the most popular gun for a mass shooting. Another gun will always fill its place.”
- “This is the primary reason why other European countries don’t experience the same intensity of gun violence as the United States: gun-related deaths here have a cultural basis. Culture, therefore, not so much politicians, interest groups or lack of mental health support, underlines this issue and is the most problematic. Most would agree that the U.S. should be a gun-owning nation, yet, we have no clue how to manage them in a free society.”
- “Both sides of the political spectrum are to blame. While Republicans on the one hand, for the most part, tend to take large donations from groups like the NRA and thus fetter themselves to their selfish agenda, liberals seem to lack a clear and cohesive plan in enacting gun-control legislation and are disorganized in their cause overall. Gun control advocates, while desiring action, when asked of any specific plan as to what should be done, never offer a direct answer, seem dumbfounded, and merely throw hands in the air, proclaiming, “Well, something must be done.”
- “The goals of these policies are to avoid two extremes: the abolition of the second amendment and the reinforcement of a police state in our halls of education. To gun advocates who question the infringement of their constitutional liberties when the word “gun-reform” springs: how exactly is this manifested simply from filling out extra paperwork, taking another class or getting another visit? It’s a little much to say any of these protocols would threaten the essence of the individual living in a free and democratic society as defined by the constitution. Bureaucracy and red tape can no doubt be aggravating, but if it keeps us safe then so be it; it’s better than totally eroding our second or fourth amendment rights.”
- “Unfortunately, as in many social debates in our secluded piece of Massachusetts, there is a lack of differing opinion — so much so that it’s almost impossible to have a conversation about guns that does not devolve into our liberals condemning the conservative minority’s opinions on personal liberty. Many conservatives believe that more guns is the solution — more guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens will lead to less gun violence.”
- “Americans look around the world for models on gun control, yet none seem applicable; no nation has the gun culture of America or as popular ownership. The Australian buyback program was a compulsory compensated buyback program, a system that would violate both the second and fourth amendments… The British gun ban, often lauded as one of the most successful anti-firearm policies in the world, traces back as far as the early 1900s. As a result, there is no sense of entitlement to guns in the United Kingdom and therefore no staunch opposition to modern gun control. No gun control legislation that could apply to the American scale exists in the world.”
The Bottom Line
Talking about gun control is difficult, but so is losing someone you care about. Preventing deaths caused by guns while also upholding the Second Amendment will not be easy but it is a necessary challenge we must confront as a nation. Everyone has the right to feel safe in the places where they work, play, worship, and learn. If we do not begin to tackle the issue of guns soon, we will continue to learn the same unthinkable lessons over and over again.