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Gun Control Legislation Needs to be Stricter

Tyler Bollinger, Staff Writer

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New gun control legislation is a necessity.

As Americans, we pride ourselves as the leading nation in most areas. Despite sitting on a pedestal, we created, as one of the most progressive nations in the world, we still face problems that no one should, like frequent mass shootings. Between the years 1966 and 2018, the United States had 150 mass shootings, according to the Gun Violence Archive. For decades now, we have endured shooting after shooting with little to no solutions taking place. This has become one of the cornerstones that have kept our nation politically separated.

The issue can be attributed to many different factors, but the heart of the situation is gun control. For years politicians and activists have been arguing over which path would be the right course for us to go down. Typically, Republicans, Libertarians and southern Democrats insist on maintaining the status quo of guns being available to virtually anyone over the age of 18. And on the opposite side, the remainder of Democrats see the need for better gun control with legislation that should help to prevent the wrong people from obtaining these weapons.

The discussion about gun control has been around for decades, but with every new mass shooting, there is a heated debate to follow. Most recently was the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which has fueled a new type of movement in favor of gun regulations; one involving direct participation from surviving victims.

After a mass shooting occurs we typically see surviving victims or activist groups appear on the news, but few survivors have attempted to make changes as directly as the high schoolers who survived the Parkland shooting. In the wake of the shooting, students have come forward to express their feelings and their view on gun control. This is really the first instance when the victims of a mass shooting have spoken out in a way that leaves a large impact.

This is not an easy issue to resolve. Everyone has an opinion and wants to be right. Each side fixates on their position and holds it for as long as they’re capable. Americans have a right to own guns if they are able to do so in a manner that will not lead to any unnecessary deaths. We need better gun control. The laws right now allow too many people who are not mentally fit to own guns, to purchase them without any restrictions.

Gun owners are not the problem. The manner in which these malicious shooters obtain their weapons is the problem. If we could establish background checks which address mental health screening, mass shootings would decrease. As for the public having assault rifles, the conversation becomes more intense. On one hand, people should have the right to their choice of weapon if they fit the necessary requirements to be a safe gun owner. On the other hand, if we allow more of these types of weapons to be sold they could fall into the hands of someone with bad intent, who otherwise would not be able to obtain them. This argument isn’t about taking away all guns from all Americans, it’s about making all guns unavailable to unstable Americans.

The right wing would like everyone to think that Liberals are trying to undermine their Second Amendment right. The Liberals want people to believe that the right wing doesn’t care about these mass shootings. Neither of these claims is true, both sides want the same outcome; a safe nation where our children and teenagers can go to school without the fear of getting shot, but how we achieve that goal is where our differences are found.

Most of what we hear are vague solutions, “we need more guns” or “we need to arm all of our teachers,” but how? Nothing that is spewed out in a heavy debate could lead to a safer America. We, the people, need our politicians to acknowledge us, listen to what we’re saying and cautiously come to a conclusion in which we will improve gun control. Since the first notable mass shooting, we should have known there was a problem. It’s well past the time to try to put an end to these senseless deaths.

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