By Jessica Brown
Nine students at Umpqua Community College in Oregon were killed in a shooting on Thursday, Oct. 1. Tragically only seven days later, another shooting occurred at Northern Arizona University, killing one student and injuring three. Less than 24 hours after the Northern Arizona incident, two more students were shot at Texas Southern University, wounding one and killing an 18-year-old freshman. It is ridiculous that 11 college students have lost their lives over the past week, and nothing regarding gun control in the United States has happened. Something needs to change, and it needs to change now.
For some perspective, between 2001 and 2013, 3,380 people were killed in acts of terrorism, compared to a staggering 406,498 people whose deaths involved a firearm, according to CNN.
Think about the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for a minute. Every time a potential terrorist tries something new, they immediately change their security protocols. After they caught someone sneaking a bomb in their shoes, it became mandatory to remove them while going through security. When someone tried smuggling a bomb in their underwear, we all started having to go through full-body X-rays. These new rules may seem annoying, but the fact of the matter is that these small inconveniences save lives.
Now, apply this same idea to gun control. It may be inconvenient to have to jump through some hoops in order to purchase a firearm, but ultimately, implementing additional background checks can and will prevent those who shouldn’t be buying a gun from getting one. Is it really worth more lives to not have to go through background checks?
I’m not naive; I know that people will be able to get guns illegally if they really want to. However, if we can put up some kind of obstacle in between a person wanting to hurt others and the tool that would allow them to do so, why wouldn’t we?
The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Something important to remember is that when this amendment was created, the U.S. did not have semi-automatic guns and other firearms with such high kill potentials. While the amendments of the U.S. Constitution are an important part of our country’s legal system, there needs to be consideration of what is best in modern times.
It’s not like it will be impossible to purchase firearms under new implemented regulations. Buyers will just have to go through more extensive background checks to see if they have had trouble with the law, recent traumatic events in their lives or a history of psychological disorders. Family members who will be around these legally obtained firearms should also be put through some sort of screening. Basically, if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about.
A popular slogan of those against gun control is “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” It’s true that weapons don’t just spontaneously discharge and that mental illness is the real cause of mass shootings. In a perfect world, we would be able to find and help the mentally ill before incidents like this occur. But guess what, the world is far from perfect, and unfortunately, these people don’t get the help they need until it’s too late.
Firearms themselves are not to blame for mass shootings, but putting more restrictions on them is a much more practical solution than magically finding and curing everyone with a mental illness or eliminating guns entirely.
It seems like almost every other week there is a new incident involving a shooting, and yet nothing has been done about it. How many more times will we have to fly our flag at half-staff and hold mass funerals for innocent people before we see a change?
Jessica Brown studies journalism. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JessKika_Brown.