“The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is to give a good guy a gun”. This quote comes from Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the National Rifle Association. In LaPierre’s opinion, guns aren’t bad if you use them for the right purposes. I believe like LaPierre, that guns can be used effectively for hunting, sport and personal protection. These above examples, are guns being used for a “right purpose”. Some proposed laws against guns are being addressed in Congress in response to the recent mass shootings in school and in public areas. These proposed laws would outlaw conceal and carry permits, ammunition limits in magazines and change the fire rate toggle switch on the lower receiver of an AR-15.
Conceal and carry means exactly what it says. There is a permit available to the public so you can conceal and carry a gun on “your person” in public areas. Of course there are limits to receiving this permit and where you can actually conceal and carry a gun in public. To be able to acquire a conceal and carry permit you need to be at least 21 years old, have passed gun safety training and be able to explain to a Sherriff why you should be able to get this particular permit. Some good things about having a conceal and carry permit are: you have self-defense on you wherever you go, the class you take to get the permit doesn’t cost much and people won’t think about robbing or mugging you because you might be carrying a gun. There are limits to where you can conceal and carry in public. You can’t carry a gun into an airport, onto school property or into private businesses that prohibit guns. One last benefit of conceal and carry is that 55.5% of the time a concealed handgun is pulled the attacker backs off and leaves (www.concealedguns.procon.org, 2013). After you pass the permit class and receive your permit to conceal and carry you still need ammunition for your gun. Hurry up and buy your ammunition now because Congress wants to limit the amount of ammunition you can buy for your gun.
Congress is currently trying to put limitations on how much ammunition you can carry in one magazine. The limit for a handgun would be six to eight bullets per magazine and for rifles it would be 15 to 20 bullets per magazine (www.nytimes.com, 2013). There are certain types of ammunition that you can buy for your gun. Some examples are: hollow point, regular point, incendiary, dragon’s breath and armor piercing. Incendiary, dragon’s breath and armor piercing bullets are for military purposes only, but before 1996 you could buy armor piercing bullets legally. Bill Clinton banned the legal purchase of armor piercing bullets due to higher crime rates (www.newsweek.com). Nowadays, with crime rates still on the rise, if someone or multiple people broke into your home, 6 bullets will not be enough to protect you or your family. With all the talk on ammunition bans people are trying to buy as much ammunition that they can possibly get their hands on before it’s gone. So naturally, gun store owners are increasing the price of ammunition. Guns use a certain type of ammunition usually depending on the caliber size and make of your gun. The rate at which you fire you gun can also increase bullet usage and overall cost.
The third limit on guns is to limit the AR-15 rifle. Most people think that the AR in AR-15 stands for Assault Rifle, which it does not. The AR stands for Armalite, which was the original manufacturing company of the AR-15 (www.gunbroker.com). The part of the AR that Congress wants to control is the lower receiver (the piece that holds the trigger assembly and the fire rate toggle switch). This switch controls the rate of fire of the gun. It can be switched from semi-automatic to single shot. Congress wants to get rid of the toggle switch entirely and just have the AR-15 be semi-automatic. Some benefits to keeping the switch would be if you had a collection and you wanted the gun to look “authentic” or “military ready” then you would want the switch. Most people buy AR-15’s for their “tactical” look, taking the switch away would diminish that look and feel (www.gunbroker.com). Buying an AR-15 has never been cheap, but now they are unbelievably expensive. The old prices were, (depending where you went), around 1,000 to 1,400 dollars. Now, some sold just recently for over 2,000 dollars online (www.cheaperthandirt.com, 2013). If Congress passes this ban prices will more than likely skyrocket (www.newsweek.com, 2013).
In my opinion, guns are not bad but rather, sometimes the people that use them are. I don’t think the answer to our problems is to restrict or limit the use of guns. We need to protect our second amendment rights. Maybe what we need to do is make our procedures for purchasing a gun more clear and precise. Currently when purchasing a gun you fill out a question packet about yourself. Then you give the clerk your driver’s license and he/she checks your license against police records to see if you’ve had any felonies. If nothing shows up you are cleared to buy the firearm. If something does appear, then you will not be walking out of the store with a gun. In response to the recent mass shooting in a Colorado movie theater, why did we let someone who was mentally unstable and violent get their hands on not just one gun, but many guns? Maybe along with a felony check somehow your driver’s license would be able to link with your medical records and provide the gun store owner with a complete and accurate mental health background check. This check would provide the gun owner with a complete look at someone’s sanity and their ability to hurt themselves or someone else with a gun. President Obama has recently declared executive orders in the past months on gun control. The President actually wants to allow access to medical records so before someone buys a gun, the government can check mental health records
Recently, the Colorado shooter who rampaged a movie theater in 2012 had visited his college psychologist. His mental health records from his therapist indicated that he was capable of violence toward himself and society. None of this was reported to the police or to the gun store owner where he bought his guns a few days before the shooting (www.msnbc.com, 2012). Having had this mental health information beforehand, the gun owner could have prevented these guns from being sold and lives from being lost (www.msnbc.com, 2013).
Also in the news, the lives of children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, were lost to another murderer who had a long history of mental illness. He walked into the Elementary School where no teacher had been provided gun safety/security training and where no armed security guard patrolled the hallways. This shooter was able to walk directly into a classroom and kill an entire kindergarten class (www.cnn.com, 2012). President Obama recently declared an Executive Order in favor of teachers having gun safety/security training. This training would help teachers in case of a shooting situation. Allowing the Executive Order to pass will provide teachers with the training that could possibly prevent another incident like Connecticut from happening again. Had this training been instituted earlier, maybe Connecticut could have been prevented all together. Hopefully, the President will eventually declare an Executive Order for armed security guards in school. Although President Obama wants to provide gun safety/security training for teachers, an armed security guard in school would be a better option because teachers will never be carrying loaded weapons. The armed security guard could constantly be patrolling school hallways and checking exits and entrances at the school. He/she would provide the safety students and staff need so desperately at the school. If people know a security guard with a loaded weapon was guarding the school, chances are slim a shooter would even enter and cause harm. The National Rifle Association (NRA) recently announced that it was in favor of hiring armed security guards to patrol schools (www.nra.org, 2013). The NRA believes that a gun can protect lives in the hands of a good person, i.e., a security guard that has completed a background check.
So overall, in my opinion, guns aren’t bad; it’s the people who choose to harm innocent people with guns that are bad. If used for the right purpose and responsibly, guns can be entertaining and even relaxing for some. I feel that guns aren’t bad if used for the right purposes like hunting or sport. I have shared some proposals on gun restrictions Congress has proposed in response to the recent mass shootings. People need to voice their opinions more often for what they believe in. They need to voice their opinion whether for or against guns, directly to their Congressman. That’s what this country is based on, voicing our opinions and having the right to do so. I quote Pastor Martin Niemoller “First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me” (www.ushmm.org, 2013). If you don’t speak out against controlling firearms, no one else will, you must speak for yourself and your beliefs. If you don’t think gun control will affect you, sooner or later, it will. Give gun control and Congress’ latest proposals more than a fleeting thought today and decide where your opinion lies – either for or against gun control. Then I recommend you give your Congressman a call and tell him what you think. You must decide, “What is my opinion on gun control?”