Shootings and Gun Control
After the many mass shootings across the country over the past several years, much has been said about the issue of gun control. We have to decide as a society what we will and will not allow when it comes to gun control. Most on the left and some on the right of the political spectrum believe in common sense gun control measures. Some on the political right have come down as second amendment absolutists. They believe the right to bear arms is for the people to defend against a tyrannical government. It seems the absolutists might be winning.
We haven't passed any serious federal laws concerning gun control in several years. In 2004 the assault weapons ban expired and was not renewed. With this expiration came an explosion of assault weapon sales, extended magazines and clips among other things. Even president Bush was in favor of the assault weapons ban but the gun lobby's hold over individual members of congress was too strong. If any good can come of this tragedy, maybe we can come together for some common sense solutions.
One suggestion put forward recently was laser-etching barcodes onto ammunition. It is simple and would allow law enforcement to quickly track and identify ammunition used in gun crime. While this wouldn't prevent the crime, it would help law enforcement solve the case afterwards. If people had no intent to use ammunition criminally, there would be no drawback. Others have suggested eliminating the extended clips which allow for rapid firing over dozens of rounds from a single clip. Again this would serve to at least reduce the damage of some of our recent mass shootings.
The statistics stated in Ponte's article regarding gun violence involving youths is chilling:
- Each day 12 children die from guns.
- Guns kill more kids in the US than all natural causes combined.
- A gun in the home is 43 times more likely to kill a friend or family member than an intruder.
- Taxpayers pay more than $20 billion annually in medical bills, lost productivity, and other costs of gun violence.
- Almost 2 out of 3 children in third to sixth grades claim that they can "get a gun if they wanted."
Ponte, Wendy. "Million Mom March: Speaking Up for Safer Gun Laws." Mothering. September/October 2000.We can hope that in the future modern society will eliminate these barbaric weapons but until that time it is necessary to have common sense restrictions that both protect people's rights and safety of the public.