For every major mass shooting, the heated debate on gun control and the Second Amendment follows but there are reasons why the fight for guns over people is pointless.
Debates about gun control can be found in a variety of places, reaching audiences of all classes and creeds. The way I participate in the conversation is through social media, mostly Facebook. I’ve got Facebook friends who are passionate gun owners and like to make sure I know it. I posted a screenshot of Igor Volsky’s tweet on Facebook.
Parkland school shooting: AR-15
Texas church shooting: AR-15
Las Vegas shooting: AR-15
Orlando nightclub shooting: AR-15
Sandy Hook shooting: AR-15
NO CIVILIAN SHOULD HAVE ACCESS TO ASSAULT WEAPONS. THEY ARE KILING OUR CHILDREN. pic.twitter.com/0yO18z77t3
— igorvolsky (@igorvolsky) February 14, 2018
Igor Volsky is the vice president at the Center for American Progress and is also the deputy director for the Center for American Progress Action Fund. He was also the managing editor of ThinkProgress and the Health Care Policy and LGBT editor for ThinkProgress and The Progress Report at American Progress.+
Volsky’s tweet became the main point made for any gun control argument I am involved in. I don’t know that much about the kinds of guns that are legal in the United States or the state gun laws of each state. What I add to the discussion by sharing this on Facebook, is that AR-15 rifles, which are commonly used in mass shootings as listed, should be illegal because of the immense amount of damage it could do to unarmed civilians.
What my rifle-owning, Second Amendment-praising Facebook friends translated this point to mean is that the Second Amendment should be eliminated immediately and that some sort of government official should take away the guns people already have. I don’t know about you, but to me, that’s a bit of a stretch. After getting defensive about their guns and outdated rights, they gave argument after argument that I will now debunk because the time for lax reactions to the country’s tight grip on rifles is over.
Argument 1: Guns don’t kill people, people kill people!
I don’t fully understand the logic behind this argument. Yes, the gun itself can’t kill when there’s no one behind it. Put someone who plans to kill behind a semi-automatic, however, and a lot of damage can be done.
This argument is completely ignoring the fact that guns are a major factor in mass shootings. This argument almost sounds like guns don’t contribute to shootings, which doesn’t make sense because guns are how shootings are executed. I recognize that causes of mass shootings aren’t black and white. However, to overrule the fact that semi-automatic rifles being sold in the United States is not a problem is irresponsible and doesn’t confront the entire issue.
Argument 2: Cars kill people. Should we just ban cars?
Cars serve a completely different purpose compared to a rifle. Guns, especially semi-automatics, are specifically designed to kill and to kill as much as possible. Because the main purpose of a gun is to cause damage, they should be treated and regulated differently.
Cars actually have more regulations than guns and these regulations take major steps in preventing deadly situations. For example, states like Florida and Nevada don’t require a permit to purchase long guns or handguns but a permit is required to drive. It seems like purchasing and using a rifle is much easier than purchasing and using a car, which is unsettling. To keep guns legal, they must be regulated, at least as much as cars.
Argument 3: But the Second Amendment!
But people’s lives!
Really though, the Second Amendment was adopted into the Constitution in 1791 so it’s safe to say that it’s a little bit out of context. Again, no one’s proposing to completely eliminate the amendment, but it has to be recognized that the Second Amendment doesn’t protect anyone except gun owners. Mass shootings have spiked since the late 90s and revisions need to be made to meet this crisis.
My aforementioned Facebook friends got really defensive because they believed that I was proposing the total elimination of firearms from those who already own them. To put it shortly, no, that’s not what I proposed. If you already own firearms, that’s fine. I’m also not saying all guns should be illegal. I agree that handguns can be used for defense and be from one of the most violent cities in the nation, Chicago, I think being armed is important, but rifles are plain unnecessary.
Argument 4: Wouldn’t you want one good guy with a gun when a mass shooting takes place?
Yes, if you mean someone like a security guard or a police officer. How am I supposed to trust a gun-owning civilian when I have no idea if they’re capable of handling a situation that dangerous and traumatizing? And you know what, it’s understandable if a civilian finds mass shootings scary. It’s not your responsibility to go in there and protect groups of people against a killer. What I would hope for, though, is that there is a trained armed professional.
Gun-free zones that include security personnel are not the answer. Even though the armed sheriff deputy at the scene of the Parkland school shooting failed to protect, I would still feel safer with a police officer present in public spaces. And yes, that includes schools. I’ve heard the argument that putting more police in schools would turn the educational setting into a military state but that’s a reach. Now giving teachers guns would probably fit that description.
Trump proposed arming teachers who have past experience or training with guns but there are a lot of problems with that. First, Chicago, for example, doesn’t even have the budget to keep schools open let alone to supply its teachers with guns. Second, how many teachers are there really that are trained to both educate and protect? If it’s possible, assigning police officers at schools would be one of the best options.
Argument 5: The problem is with video games, violent movies, mental health, upbringing, etc.
I agree that mental health and upbringing can be major factors. To totally dismiss guns as a factor, though, is not ok. The easy access to rifles plays a huge role in mass shootings considering they are how these major mass shootings are being executed. Mental health and mass shootings are connected, but mental illness is not the main causation for mass shootings.
I agree that there should be a push for mental health awareness and stabilization. To not do anything about guns, however, will not solve anything. Again, the issue is not black and white. There is no single solution but a variety of solutions that all need to be enacted. As for video games and violent movies being the main culprit, I totally disagree. Although it’s been proven through various studies that graphic images stimulate arousal and aggressiveness, I would hope that no one is looking at Grand Theft Auto and thinking that game directly reflects reality.
Argument 6: Shootings are going to happen regardless.
You know what, you’re right. Violence will still happen and I think Chicago is an example of how stricter guns laws don’t stop shootings. I believe, however, that the United States should not make it so easy to obtain killer weapons and killer accessories, like bump stocks. Owning a rifle shouldn’t be an ingrained American value. It’s not that serious. There are videos parents recorded and posted of them gifting their children rifles and the children being overwhelmed with excitement with happy tears streaming down their faces. But why? Americans have radicalized the Second Amendment and its lead to the horrors of mass shootings.