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Face Off: Guns need further restrictions

Sydney Hutchinson, Reporter

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Today, gun laws are a monstrous controversy. This is because, according to ProCon.org, the United States has 88.8 guns per 100 people, which amounts to roughly 270 million guns. This is the highest total, and per capita number, in the world.

Now, before I continue, trust me, I am very well aware of our Second Amendment rights. However, the Second Amendment was ratified in 1791, when, according to The Washington Post, the “typical Revolutionary-era muskets and flintlock pistols” had a one-round magazine capacity. This means it could fire three rounds per minute, respectively.

Compare that weapon to today’s AR-15, which has a magazine capacity of 30 rounds, and can fire 45 rounds per minute. I think this is an extremely noticeable difference.

We also need to realize that rights granted to us by the Bill of Rights are not unlimited. Chief Justice John Marshall articulated that the “Constitution, intended to endure for ages to come, and consequently, to be adapted to the various crises of human affairs,” meaning that the Second Amendment is to be interpreted in today’s time. Today we have a plethora of technology unforeseen by our founders.

Do I hate guns? No, not at all. But should I be able to take a casual stroll through Walmart and buy a gun? No. This is why I think we need stricter gun laws to prevent the wrong people from getting them. More gun control laws would reduce gun deaths. From 1999 to 2013 there were 464,033 gun deaths in the United States, according to the Gun Violence Archive and ProCon.org.

According to a Lancet study, federal universal background checks could reduce gun deaths by a projected 56.9 percent and background checks for ammo could reduce deaths by a projected 80.7 percent. This, to me, seems 100 percent worth it.

Another major aspect to consider is that guns are rarely used in self-defense. From 2007-2011, of 29.6 million violent crimes, less than 1 percent of victims protected themselves with a firearm.

Countries with stricter gun laws tend to have lower gun violence. Japan, for example, has the lowest gun violence rate in the world at one in 10 million, according to The Atlantic. Under Japan’s firearm and sword law, the only guns that can legally be owned are shotguns, air guns, guns with either research or industrial purposes and competition guns.

To further ensure no violence can easily come from guns in Japan, the person requesting them “must obtain formal instruction and pass a battery of written, mental and drug tests and a rigorous background check. Furthermore, owners must inform the authorities of how the weapon and ammunition is stored and provide the firearm for annual inspection,” according to The Atlantic.

This is just one example of one country trying to keep their citizens alive; perhaps America should start taking notes.

The majority of adults, including gun owners, support common sense gun control. This includes, but is not limited to, background checks, bans on assault weapons and bans on high-capacity magazines. A Quinnipiac poll conducted last month, showed that 97 percent of American voters and 97 percent of gun owners support universal background checks.

Don Macalady, a avid member of Hunters against Gun Violence, stated in ProCon.org, “As a hunter and someone who has owned guns since I was a young boy, I believe that common sense gun legislation makes us all safer. Background checks prevent criminals and other dangerous people from getting guns.”

Enacting mandatory safety procedures would also reduce the growing number of accidental gun deaths. Gun laws are not here to rob us of rights or freedom; they are here to ensure safety for our citizens, including everyone on this campus every day.

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