Bowers: Important gun control legislation unfortunately impeded by the Second Amendment
In the past couple of weeks, there have been numerous stories in the news about the shift in public opinion on gun control. These current stories seem largely to do with the recent mass shooting in Colorado, followed by Presidential and Congressional candidates making no hard stance on this issue.
However, even before this event, public opinion had already been shifting away from tighter gun control.
According to a poll released earlier last week by the PEW Research Center, since 1993, the percentage of people who support gun control has decreased, while the percentage of those who want to protect the rights of Americans to own guns has increased — to the point where the percentages are roughly 50/50 on the issue.
Also in the same poll, and oddly enough, more Americans are seeing shooting sprees as more of an isolated incident than reflecting broader problems in this society, especially when this current opinion is compared to those following the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre.
Yet, there is still something very wrong with a country and its laws that, according to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, allow 32 people a day to be killed by guns.
Think about that: 32 people a day. And an overwhelming number of gun violence deaths occur because of handguns, according to statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice.
In a fairly recent story in The Atlantic, a research team found that, overall, “firearm deaths are significantly lower in states with stricter gun control legislation,” and there was “substantial negative correlations between firearm deaths and states that ban assault weapons, require trigger locks, and mandate safe storage requirements for guns.”
This conclusion is a step in the right direction, but gun-control policies are still inhibited.
People are getting their guns, making sure their self, family and property are protected. Self-defense. The local police may not be around when things get rough — regardless of how frequent or not.
I get that.
But based on all the data earlier noted, the government can’t sufficiently control who gets guns or not, largely I believe, because the Second Amendment is in the way.
For example, in the Washington, D.C., area, which for years had rampant deaths caused by handguns, the district passed laws heavily regulating them. (Yet, as The Washington Post reported in 2007, these laws didn’t stretch into the States of Virginia and Maryland; many of the deaths occurring in D.C. during this law’s implementation came from guns brought illegally into the city from these states. The council that passed these regulations “wanted other jurisdictions, especially neighboring states, to follow the lead of the nation’s capital by enacting similar gun restrictions, cutting the flow of firearms into the city from surrounding areas.”)
This is what any good society strives for. Yet, the U.S. Supreme Court largely struck down these regulations as, according to the court, they violated the Second Amendment.
So, if the government is not able to act as it needs to to keep its society safe due to an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, what do you do?
Something needs to break here in the States, and I think it is getting rid of the Second Amendment, as I believe it is keeping the American society from flourishing – and being safe – in a way that it needs to be.
This is not to say guns for hunting, sport and such will be completely done away with. But the government, working with its citizens, would be able to make sure those who do need guns have them – and this, I feel, can only happen if the government is adequately able to regulate this possession without the Second Amendment in the way.
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