HUNTER SAVERY ’20
In the wake of the Parkland shooting, there has been sustained discussion about the issue of gun violence in America, particularly school shootings. Unlike previous movements arising after mass shootings, this one has maintained momentum and stayed in the news, in spite of the best efforts of the NRA and lesser right wing demons. The movement that came out of the Parkland massacre is student-led, unusual for these tragedies, and perhaps that is why it has been so successful. Major companies are dropping affiliation with the NRA and Dick’s Sporting Good’s has even ended sales of assault weapons. NRA supporters have tried to obfuscate the issue behind the Parkland shooting, and mass shootings in general, by highlighting the failure of the FBI in preventing the attack or by claiming the students, who survived a shooting that left many of their classmates dead, are partisan actors funded by George Soros. Americans must not be fooled by this, nor should they accept the bargains politicians are willing to broker. Increased background checks are a fine idea, so is an assault weapons ban, but if mass killings are to end in America we must accept that gun ownership is not a human right. As long as the Second Amendment is enshrined in the Constitution, innocent Americans will die. The only way to put this issue to rest is to repeal the Second Amendment.
Many gun rights advocates have argued that banning or restricting the sale of weapons will not prevent the use of guns. Criminals will get guns anyway if they want them. That argument is absurd, if banning things was useless, then nothing would be illegal. Very often the same politicians who refuse to restrict the sales of assault weapons are the same politicians who support the war on drugs. Marijuana did not kill 13,286 people in the United States in 2015, firearms did. Why is heroin illegal? Why are cigarettes heavily taxed? They are a danger to public health, and while this may come as a surprise, guns are too. Unfortunately, guns are not illegal, in fact people view it as their fundamental right to own a gun, as if it were handed down from God himself. Guns are, by their very essence, more dangerous than any drug, because a gun poses not only a risk to its owner, but to everyone around them. Guns are designed to kill, do not let anyone say otherwise. The simple fact is that gun ownership does not deter crime, in fact having more guns available is related to higher crime rates, as Stanford University researchers concluded in 2014.
The point of this article is not to advocate for the removal of guns from every home in America, though that would without a doubt impede future carnage. Rather, gun ownership should not be a right of citizenship, but a privilege, like car ownership. No American has the basic right to a car. That is why everyone must take be issued a driver’s license by the state, that can be revoked upon misconduct. As long as the Second Amendment remains in place, there will always be roadblocks to restrictions, so America cannot leave the interpretation of gun laws up to the Supreme Court. A repeal of the Second Amendment will set the record straight once and for all. Gun ownership should be an earned privilege with tight restrictions.
In America no one can own a nuclear weapon. It would be incredibly dangerous and it would be understood that no one is capable of responsibly owning such a thing. Yet, just about any American can own a military grade assault weapon. Every gun lover from coast to coast will call this a false equivalency, they will say that an AR-15 cannot kill nearly as many people as a nuclear weapon, and of course that is true. However, in October a man in Las Vegas killed 58 people and injured a staggering 851 people with legal guns. If that is not mass destruction, then what is? What number makes one acceptable and the other not? How many people must die?
In the past decade, America has sat and watched children killed in the schools where they learn, mass carnage unthinkable to previous generations and anyone from another country, but this is mundane for America. The NRA has continued to line the pockets of politicians across the nation and more Americans can buy deadly weapons than ever before. Blame the media, blame mental illness, blame whoever or whatever, but that stops nothing. America needs to cut to the heart of the problem, there need to be less guns, and the only way achieve that with finality is if the Second Amendment is repealed.