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Gun Control: How Much is Too Much? This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

With the Newtown massacre horrifying the country, calls for reform have grown louder. Our nation has seen an appalling increase in violent crimes; the Columbine, Dark Knight Rises, and Sandy Hook incidents are painful reminders of such. These tragedies reignited the debate on gun control, one of the country’s most controversial issues, though this debate should have been settled ages ago.

Congress has long been locked in a stalemate between the individual’s right to defend oneself and the government’s duty to prevent crime. We fail to mutually decide how much freedom is too dangerous and how much regulation is too restrictive. Many supporters of the National Rifle Association—yes, our country actually has one of those—complain that gun control laws are strict enough as they are. In actuality, gun control policies in the United States are relatively lenient when compared to countries like Australia and the United Kingdom. Perhaps it is time to tighten the reigns and let go of our country’s stereotypical attachment to firearms.

“But what about our Second Amendment rights?” many ask. True, we do need a means of protecting ourselves from the unexpected. But it is also true that a handgun suffices where an assault rifle seems like overkill. We use the Second Amendment to justify our excessive gun culture and lose the meaning behind the right. Columbine shooters Harris and Klebold were expressing their Second Amendment rights, weren’t they? And Adam Lanza? No, of course not—but if they weren’t murderers, the NRA would have defended their ownership of firearms as they do all potential murderers.

President Obama has listened to the outcries of the people and proposed multiple new laws to Congress. Such laws include requiring background checks for all gun sales, a stronger ban on assault weapons, a ban on armor-piercing bullets, and limiting magazines to ten rounds. While they are yet to be passed by Congress as of now, these laws are a steady first step towards a safer country. It is sad that it took an elementary school shooting for real change to start, but at least these policies could prevent one from ever happening again.

No one wants another tragedy in our country, yet no one wants to make the change necessary in order to prevent such massacres from occurring again. Do not let the deaths of the innocent be in vain. Put down your arms—at least, the big ones—and work together towards a more peaceful nation. We are, after all, the United States of America.



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