New gun control measures need to ensure a safer society

Sarah Karels and Molly Eldevik

Following the horrific violence seen at Sandy Hook elementary, a shooting that killed 20 children and six educators, support for gun control measures soared. Up to 60 percent of the country supported revising gun control laws, and up to 90 percent supported universal background checks. However, five months and several shootings later, support has waned substantially. Politico stated that now only 49% of the public supports new laws. Why is it that after our country experiences tragedies such as these we only keep our attention to reform in the immediate wake?

America’s guns keep getting deadlier and deadlier, yet we wonder how such widespread shootings could occur.”

— Sarah Karels and Molly Eldevik

According to Mother Jones, “25 mass shootings have occurred since 2006, and seven of them took place in 2012.” In fact, the gun violence rates of many American cities can compare to the rates of other entire nations. You’d think that this staggering violence would force measures be created to ensure safety in our country; however, these numbers are not only rising in incidence, but also in damage, while nothing is done to stop it. America’s guns keep getting deadlier and deadlier, yet we wonder how such widespread shootings could occur.

The United States clearly has the funds to address this problem. A common metaphor among gun control advocates is that of motor vehicle technology, where the US pumps millions of dollars to ensure that our cars get safer and safer in order to prevent accidents. Meanwhile, gun control has remained generally the same, if not more lax, than a decade ago. If we have the money to supplement car safety, why not delegate money to ensure safety of guns in our nation, curtailing an issue much more solvable than reckless driving.

Now while many gun advocates accept that the plague of gun violence in America is a large issue, many argue that gun control measures will do nothing to curb this problem. This could not be further from the truth, and in fact years of research seem to show just the opposite.

Gun control works to decrease gun violence by diminishing weapons’ harmful effects––whether intentional or accidental. This has already proved effective, as a study by The Atlantic reported that “firearm deaths are sig- nificantly lower in states with stricter gun control legislation. Though the sample sizes are small, we find substantial negative correlations between firearm deaths and states that ban assault weapons, require trigger locks, and mandate safe storage requirements for guns.” From this we can see that not only is gun control effective, but non-intrusive and comprehensive. Even the most vehement NRA member can understand the necessity of safe storage for firearms within the house.

Gun control laws don’t need to be all-encompassing, restrictive measures. Results are seen from the smallest of precautions.”

— Sarah Karels and Molly Eldevik

States such as Louisiana and Alaska have notably permissive gun laws and also rank the highest in gun violence incidents in our nation. Implementation of regulations doesn’t mean that owners are at risk of losing their Second Amendment rights; it will only verify that guns are put in the hands of those who will use them responsibly and safely. Beyond this, the majority of gun deaths are accidental and could be prevented by simple changes. Gun control laws don’t need to be all-encompassing, restrictive measures. Results are seen from the smallest of precautions.

The gun control battle is far from over, with states attempting (and usually failing) to pass measures to limit the inappropriate use of firearms. After Congress failed to pass gun control laws this past March, President Obama openly shamed them, and rightfully so. In the process of fearing gun control as a “threat” to our Second Amendment rights we are actively disregarding the lives unnecessarily lost at Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora, Newtown, and so on to gun violence. What citizens need to understand is this: gun control is not a be-all, end-all. If you plan to use guns legally and safely, gun control won’t affect you.