- Posted January 21, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Gun control debate: Background checks
Guns and Common Sense
To say the Second Amendment and gun control are hot topics right now would be an enormous understatement. I hear about it every day in my classes and outside of them. It seems awfully strange to me that it takes a heart-wrenching tragedy for us to talk about gun control in this nation. What is even more sad is that we cannot dispense with the rhetoric to talk about this issue as people; many of us still cling to the partisan rhetoric and political hackery that has polarized our union for the past decade.
There are a lot of factors that influence these shootings from poor mental health to a culture of sensationalism and glorified violence, but we also should not dodge the very obvious reality that guns play a major role in gun death. This means everything from background checks for gun owners to allowing the federal government to inspect private sellers’ stocks. I am not a part of the camp that wants the government to pull all the firearms out of the households of America, but I am also not a part of the camp that thinks they are living perilously close to an authoritarian regime. I think both extremes are ridiculous and for any news program to give credibility to either view is to denigrate the Fourth Estate.
The position I take seems to be the most common sense and effective solution there is. If I could enact a policy it would require every gun dealer to have a thorough background check on anyone looking to purchase a firearm of any kind. It would require that person to undergo instruction from a certified individual or group to properly teach them about guns, much like we do with driving. It entails allowing the ATF to inspect the stocks of gun dealers everywhere. Finally, it would make illegal the sell of military grade firearms; this means weapons like AR-15’s, M16’s and M4 Carbines.
Jesse Ventura recently said on CNN that we don’t go to the Ford Motor Company every time a drunk driving accident occurs and sue them or blame them for the accident and he is right. However, as a society we do enforce extremely strict regulations on drinking and driving while stigmatizing the behavior. This has brought drunk driving rates down by two thirds in a few decades. Why can we not implement a similar program to firearms? It seems if we do that then the rates of these killings will decrease drastically.
I don’t want to restrict anyone’s rights to bear arms, but people need to realize the end of that amendment says, “… in order to maintain a well regulated militia.” I am aware the Supreme Court has interpreted that differently than the exact wording. The U.S. Constitution was written in a time when the musket was the newest most effective rifle available. The Constitution itself needs updated to fit our modern era; Thomas Jefferson suggested that the Constitution be re-written every ten years to keep up with technology and evolving culture. We need to understand the context of our world and how it is drastically different than of times prior.
If there is any time where we need to throw aside our dispositions to one ideology or another and talk about guns and firearms as people concerned with the safety of our fellow man, it is now. How we choose to deal with this tragedy as a country will define us and the discussion around firearms for many years to come. For the sake of the families of Newtown we need throw aside our rhetoric and politics to bring about change. We need to be acutely aware of our decisions impacts the lives of others.