Is Gun Control the Only Way to Stop Mass Shootings?

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Emily Huhn , Arts & Living Editor

For decades, mass shootings have continued to be a very prevalent issue in the United States. The pandemic has sadly not meant the end of raging violence against Asian people, African Americans, women, and the American public as a whole. With mass shootings comes the controversial topic of gun control. The story of a person who suffers from a mental illness having easy access to firearms is all too familiar in our country. Everyone reserves the right to feel safe and secure and to some, that includes being in possession of a gun. However, civilians walking down the street or students attending school also reserve the right to feel safe living their daily lives, without feeling the need to protect themselves from deadly weapons. 

The screening process for selling someone a firearm is not nearly as thorough as it should be. Only six states require universal background checks from unlicensed sellers, which means that guns can be easily accessed by pretty much anyone over the age of 18. I do support the argument that gun control may be the answer to bringing down the staggering rate of mass shootings, however, the bigger issue is getting everyone on the same page. 

People in support of gun ownership use the argument of the Second Amendment–the right to bear arms–that protects gun ownership, but the Second Amendment is not unlimited. Slowly, more and more state governments are setting regulations in place to prevent people with criminal records or people with diagnosed mental illnesses from purchasing guns, as background checks are essentially a grey area of what the actual Constitution supports. In fact, there are a lot of unknowns surrounding the language and the contents of the official document. There have even been questions of how necessary this Amendment even is anymore as the writers of the Constitution were in the midst of a war on American soil where there was a much more serious need for personal protection than any citizen here is now. 

There is also a big difference between using guns for protection versus keeping them as a hobby or collection. A firearm under someone’s bed in case of emergencies and a firearm hanging on someone’s wall as a trophy are completely different circumstances. Everyone deserves the right to feel safe, but the vast majority of these mass shootings are done with the possession of guns like the AR-15, which are sold solely for recreation, not the pistols people are carrying in their holsters. There are ways to compromise gun control laws in the attempt to appease everyone, like banning extremely dangerous assault rifles instead of all firearms as a whole. 

Living with the idea that anyone at any time could be armed is very unsettling. Even if the person is carrying the gun with only good intentions in mind, that’s definitely not always the case. There will always be people in the world who hate, and racism will continue to be a prevalent issue. But hopefully with more substantial gun control laws implemented, there will be more control over the access of guns and, therefore, the people who use guns to feel safe or for sport will be the only ones with access. Mass shootings are preventable and I don’t believe we are doing enough to make every party feel safe in our society; there are things to be done to prevent more tragedies from happening in the first place, instead of having to cope with their aftermath.