Posted: Thursday, January 31, 2013 4:03:44 PM
In the wake of the Newtown Shooting, everyone has taken up an opinion on gun control, gun rights, how to remember those that died, and most importantly, where does the country go from here? While it seems that everyone around me seems to feel like they have the perfect answer, I am more conflicted. While I lean more towards control than gun rights, the question of how much control can the government have comes to mind. In my mind, this tragedy has not only shed light on the control or rights issue, but also on the more significant issue of mental health. In my idea of where the country goes from here I will address both issues.
Most of us know someone who has a gun in their home, whether it be a rifle they use for recreational hunting or an assault weapon that they feel they need to have to protect themselves and their loved ones. In my house, we don’t have either and I often think of how I would feel knowing that my dad had a gun in the table drawer “just in case”. Would I feel protected or threatened? This idea is where I can base my opinion of gun control. Many people feel that having any type of weapon in their home is a right, and they should be allowed to buy any gun they chose without government interjection, I disagree. While I think that people should be allowed to have rifles used for hunting and recreational use, I think that the peoples access to firearms should be eliminated. In most all cases of public shootings, a firearm was the weapon of choice. Why would a person need a firearm in their home? People argue that they need it in an event that they would have to protect themselves and their family, but isn’t that what we have created the police force for? While the NRA has recently argued that not allowing citizens the right to purchase and own a firearm is in violation of the second amendment, I personally believe that we must keep in mind the overall safety of the public and that this would be a great step to better protect communities.
A more important issue to me than gun control, is the issue of obvious mental illness or defect among these public shooting offenders. While many solutions to this problem have been discussed following recent events, I think that the most practical is to put people wishing to buy assault weapons through a simple mental evaluation and a more thorough background check. Those with nothing to hide should have no objections, and those found to be mentally ill will be able to receive the care they need. While of course, some people will be able to slip through the cracks of the screening and will be able to purchase a firearm when it might not be in everyone’s best interest, a mental evaluation could be an excellent addition to the screening and gun control process.
After the Newtown tragedy, this country was faced with many decisions to make and many people think they have to perfect way to make them all. I feel that stricter gun control, the elimination of firearms available for general purchase, and a mental evaluation are key pieces to the seemingly unsolvable puzzle of gun control and rights in the United States.