The Weekly Chirp: Students, faculty weigh in: Is stronger gun control necessary?

Emma Knight October 27, 2017 0

This year, there have been 273 mass shootings across the United States, with the most devastating and most recent one occurring Oct. 1, in Las Vegas. This tragic event has brought about a reinvigorated discussion on gun control. While the White House has not come out and addressed what they plan to do about gun control, most people are clear where they stand on the issue: they are either for it or against it.

In Las Vegas, almost 60 people were killed and 527 injured when a man in an upper-level hotel room opened fire on the crowd at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival. While this is the biggest mass shooting in American history, there are also plenty of other notable ones. June 12, 2016 marked the Pulse nightclub shooting, in which the assailant killed 49 people. A decade ago, April 16, 2007, 32 people were killed at Virginia Tech. The Sandy Hook shooting, which targeted an elementary school, resulted in 27 deaths, including 20 children, Dec. 14, 2012.

The perpetrators of these shootings come from various backgrounds. Despite their motives, these gunmen typically show warning signs before committing homicide; usually, they begin threatening people close to them and alienate themselves from society.

So how do these people purchase guns? Though it may seem like the background check process should catch these tendencies, they rarely meet the federal standards that deem them mentally unfit to buy weapons.

Especially after the Las Vegas shooting, people are coming out to either attack or defend the gun laws currently in place. Generally, people who do not think that stricter gun laws will solve America’s mass shooting epidemic believe that these rulings are an attack on their Second Amendment right to bear arms.

Proponents of gun control argue that the Second Amendment was written during a time of war, a time when there were not automatic and high-power weapons, and is no longer relevant. People against gun control claim that they can protect themselves against shooters with their own weapon. Those wanting more gun control laws state that people have no need for a weapon to protect themselves if the government makes more restrictive orders.

Dr. Fletcher McClellan, professor of political science at Elizabethtown College, says that the common response to gun tragedies, such as Las Vegas, is to loosen restrictions on guns as opposed to tightening them. “Until politicians show the courage to challenge the National Rifle Association, the familiar pattern of tragedy, grief and governmental hand-wringing will continue,” McClellan said.

Student Poll Responses

Q1. What do you know about the process of buying a firearm and a permit for a weapon in the United States?

Q2. What do you think is the biggest reason citizens own and purchase guns?

Q3. Do you think that stricter gun laws would prevent mass shootings and gun violence?

“Jay Talk” Quotes from Students and Faculty

“As a citizen, it is incomprehensible to me why Congress cannot support even the mildest and most widely-supported kinds of gun control.”

-Dr. Fletcher McClellan, professor of political science

“The problem is not the tool/weapon, it is the user. It is a problem when bad people have a tool and use it incorrectly. This argument is like blaming one’s vehicle or cell phone for causing a crash because the driver was texting. It is illogical.”

-Anonymous Response, Student Poll

“Gun control is absolutely necessary to ensure the safety of average citizens. Fully automatic rifles and large magazines are not ‘self-defense’ weapons, they’re weapons of mass murder. No citizen of the United States needs a fully automatic weapon with a large magazine.”

-Matt Smith, first-year

“Stricter gun laws would not necessarily prevent anything. They would make it harder to obtain guns, but some of the most violent people are the most unassuming, and they can get their hands on a gun if they’re determined. And if they are prevented from buying a gun, they’ll find some other way to accomplish what they want.”

-Anonymous Response, Student Poll

“Nothing can PREVENT mass shootings and gun violence, but I believe stricter gun laws would lessen the prevalence of both.”

-Anonymous Response, Student Poll


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