Guns in the Hands of Americans

November 30, 2012
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Dear Mr. President:

How safe would you feel if you were in public and everyone around you was carrying a concealed gun? Or how would you feel if you were sitting in a movie theater and someone walks in and decides to start shooting everyone? Or maybe you are getting your hair done and again someone walks in and starts shooting people? I do not feel safe.

Are guns good because they provide the ultimate self-defense? While I’m sure some people believe having a gun at their bedside makes them safer, they are wrong. This is not just my opinion, it is a fact. Guns kept in the home for self-protection are 43 times more likely to kill a family member, friend or acquaintance than to kill an intruder, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The shooter in Denver, Colorado, James Holmes, used a semiautomatic rifle, a .223-caliber assault-style rifle, two .40 caliber Glock handguns and a shotgun. He also bought more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition, at gun shops and over the Internet. Twelve people were killed and another fifty-eight injured. The shooter in Brookfield, Wisconsin, Radcliffe Haughton, used a .40 caliber handgun and killed three women and injured four more. The shooter in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, Wade Michael Page, used a 9mm semiautomatic handgun and killed seven people and injured four more. How did all of these men acquire these weapons? Very easily.

With examples like these, it’s seems safe to say: guns on the street make for a much less safe environment. According to the FBI, for every justifiable handgun homicide, there are more than 50 handgun murders. The expanding right to carry concealed weapons makes us even less safe. So what right is being protected if it is not the right to be safe? The right to feel safe, at the expense of actual safety?
I think adults should not have the right to carry a concealed handgun. To prevent this, there should be more federal regulations on guns. Laws that require a two week, or even month wait would be reasonable. The only realistic way to control gun violence is not by keeping guns out of the hands of as many Americans as possible, but by keeping guns out of the hands of people we all agree should not have them, like James Holmes, Radcliffe Haughton and Wade Michael Page. There should be a longer waiting period to obtain a gun and a more thorough background check on the person purchasing the gun. Another possibility would be more restrictions on the purchase of larger volumes of ammunition. If we had stronger gun control laws we would be able to prevent people like James Holmes and others from easily obtaining guns and creating violence.

It’s a sad day for all Americans when tragedies’ like Wade and James become more and more common. There are constant reoccurrences of violence happening across the country and innocent civilians are often caught in the crossfire. Maybe someday we will see laws passed to ensure the safety of Americans and dampen the constant violence. But we may never see that day until we seriously consider our gun violence problem.

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