The Harbinger Online

The Gun Debate

Twenty-seven men, women and children gunned down in an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. Twelve shot dead at the Navy Yard in D.C. Four dead in another shooting at Fort Hood. These are a handful of the many mass shootings that have happened over the past two years, now including a mass shooting at a Jewish community center that took the lives of a grandfather, his grandson and a woman visiting her elderly mother, 12 minutes away from East. With all these recent shootings, the Harbinger believes the country needs to strengthen it’s gun control laws through increased background checks and closing the “gun show” loophole, a clause that allows private sellers to sell firearms without doing a background check.

This country is suffering a serious epidemic of mass shootings. In 2013, USA Today published an article reporting that over 900 people had lost their lives in mass shootings in the past seven years. In 2013, the FBI reported that, in the past seven years, there had been 146 mass shootings. In 2014, there have already been eight mass shootings.

The best way to end this epidemic is not to make it easier for anyone to get a gun, but to make sure guns only get to the safest hands. The federal government need to strengthen background checks and close the “gun show” loophole.

Strengthening background checks will keep people with mental illnesses and prior histories with violence and crime from buying guns. The measures have been looked as infringing on people’s second amendment rights, but don’t you think it’s more important to protect people’s lives than a felon’s right to own a deadly weapon? Background checks are in place, but when people like the Aurora movie theatre shooter and the Navy Yard shooter, two men with severe mental delusions, slip through the cracks, it’s obvious the system needs to be strengthened. Who would let an ex-paramilitary leader and a convicted felon, like the JCC shooter Glenn Frazier Cross, own a gun?

A big step in strengthening these checks is to close the “gun show” loophole. Without these background checks, anyone could be getting a gun, like Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, the Columbine shooters who killed 13 people and wounded 23 more before taking their own lives. The two bought their guns at a gun show without ever getting a background check. A background check that would have shown that both had been arrested and made public threats to kill people.

The phrase, “guns don’t kill people; people kill people,” gets thrown around a lot. It’s true, people do kill people. It’s the person who pulls that trigger and ends someone else’s life. But having an AR-15 that can shoot over 13 rounds a second makes it a lot easier for that person to cut down a lot of innocent people. We need to make sure people who kill people, aren’t people who can pick up guns.

We need to pass federal legislation increasing background checks and closing the loophole. The country needs these stronger laws to protect their citizens’ rights to life. Rights a grandfather, his grandson and a woman visiting her elderly mother, the JCC victims, had denied by a lunatic who never should have owned a gun.

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