One gunman, 58 dead and 489 injured: How can we curb gun violence?

Exchange the right to bear arms for a safe, structured society 

DESTINY PINDER-BUCKLEY

drpinderbuckley16@ole.augie.edu

2012 may not have been the year of the apocalypse as the Mayan calendar and blockbuster movies lead us to believe, but it was the year an important distinction was made. There are natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy. Then, there are man-made disasters like Sandy Hook. 

The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting left 20 children and six adults dead. It should have been enough to shake us to our cores, especially the politicians controlling gun policies in congress. But it wasn’t. 

Gun violence and mass shootings still happen regularly in the United States. We have proven that no place is safe when it comes to gun violence. People have been wounded and killed by guns at elementary schools, churches, Navy yards, movie theatres, nightclubs, office parties and concerts.

According to The Guardian, mass shootings are defined as four or more people shot in one incident, and they happen in the U.S. every nine days out of 10. More than 30,000 Americans die from guns every year. There have been over 1,500 mass shootings in the past five years. 

Most recently, the mass shooting in Las Vegas left 58 people dead and more than 450 injured. Are we finally shaken to our cores? 

Even the National Rifle Association is calling for greater regulation of bump stocks, an attachment that allows semi-automatic rifles to be nearly fully-automatic, which were used in the Las Vegas shooting.

But you know what? This is not enough. The most effective gun policy is not going to come from hasty state-laws or minimal federal enforcements that arise out of a gridlocked debate. 

So, what can be done to prevent gun violence? Nothing. The honest answer is nothing. Nothing can be done to stop the black markets and the illegal sales. A background check is not going to be the panacea of violence. Nothing can be done to change the minds of deranged individuals who kill others with guns.

Nothing can be done to change the minds of millions of Americans and hundreds of legislators that guns do not need as much freedom as we’ve allowed.

If we are serious about talking about the gun in the room, we have to restrict the 2nd Amendment further. 

Yes, the grand ol’ framers of the Constitution gave us to the right to bear arms. However, the exact context under which they meant those powerful words is debatable. The 2nd Amendment in its entirety states: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Americans have focused on the phrase set off in the commas, “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms,” to mean that Congress cannot ban the possession of guns to individuals. Yet, the amendment also states “a well regulated militia.” The amendment could just as easily be intended only to restrict Congress from legislating away a state’s right to self-defense. 

We’ve become too individualized and self-righteous to remember the times when philosophers argued over a social contract and what it meant to enter one. You give up some personal rights in order to live in a safe, structured society.

And I’m not advocating for the entire ban of all guns ever. But we need a radical change to be able to actually alter the status quo. Otherwise, we’ll be shot down.

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