By Hannah Malone
Gun control is a tricky topic. It sort of falls under that category much like religion and abortion and politics do. Both parties have a lot of good points and maybe even a lot of bad ones, but no matter how much people argue over either side, there’s no clear winner. Topics like this come down solely to individuals’ personal beliefs. Some might think it’s a violation of our “constitutional right” to put restrictions on the weapons we can own. Other people believe the opportunity to own guns is dangerous and more restrictions have to be made.
Then there are people like me. I fall sort of on the borderline between the two groups. I’ve been hunting myself and have enjoyed it thoroughly. My father is a responsible gun owner and it’s nice to have the luxury of owning multiple guns for both protection and for recreational uses. I have many great memories of my father bringing me out to camp when I was younger to go hunting with him. He taught me how to safely handle a gun, and I even practiced shooting with clay pigeons. It’s something I’ve always enjoyed and will always have wonderful memories about. But as much as I loved being able to go out for a weekend and hunt birds with my father, what’s more important to me is my safety and those of the ones I love.
Sure, a lot of parents out there might be just like my father. They can properly teach children how to handle a gun, or to not touch a gun at all. And that’s all and well, but when it comes down to it, kids may not listen, or later in life, people can take that knowledge of how to use a gun and use it for a terrible reason. It’s not necessarily the parents’ fault, and a lot of people bring up the point that it’s not the gun, but the person. A lot of people on the side of freedom to own guns offer a solution to “only sell guns to the mentally sane” – people that can pass mental health checks for example.
To that, I offer the fact that many people convicted of mass shootings did not own guns themselves but rather acquired them through relatives and other methods. A perfect example of this is the Sandy Hook shooting in which the alleged shooter, Adam Lanza, obtained his weapons indirectly through his parents. The weapons Adam Lanza used were registered under his mother and father’s names. According to a study conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice from 1992-1998 the percentage of federal inmates who obtained firearms through family members and friends was significantly higher, at 35%, than that of the percentage that obtained firearms through retail stores, 15%.
These statistics alone are quite frightening. What sickens me is the fact that more people have died over several months and a few years due to accidental and purposeful gun injuries than American soldiers in major historical wars. I love my country just as much as the next American. I care about myself as well as my family and even others that I haven’t met yet nor will ever meet in my lifetime. I simply want the best for our country. I realize banning guns in the United States is just about as realistic as banning hard drugs is. It will never happen. But for the sake of my loved ones, and my fellow Americans’ loved ones, even one small step making the tiniest bit of progress is better than no progress at all. That is the reason why I propose a tightening on gun control and the process of obtaining guns. Because like my mother has always said and what I will continue in saying, “better safe than sorry.”