Gun fight: Recent shootings reopen U.S. gun debate

Is more gun control the answer?


America is up in arms. The gun control debate currently has a hold on the American public as it is one of the most pressing topics the United States faces at the moment.

Senior Cody Bredman does not believe more restrictions on guns is the right option. “I don’t believe that there needs to be anymore restrictions on guns. It is up to the owner of a gun to have control of it, like having it locked in a safe and making sure it is unloaded at all times. Our gun control laws do what they are there for already. The shooter in the Newtown shootings did try to buy a rifle for the shootings but was denied,” Bredman said.

Unlike Bredman, senior Will Boelts said he thinks gun laws aren’t strict enough. “I think that stricter gun laws could only help the current situation,” Boelts said. “Unless we’re OK with the current amount of gun violence, then it’s definitely the right time to change something,” Boelts said. Social studies teacher Robert Schmidt said he believes background checks are a reasonable way to lower gun violence and make it more of a challenge for the wrong people to obtain weapons. “To me, background checks do not do anything to hurt the second amendment of the constitution.  I think we can respect the second amendment, but I still think we can have more extensive background checks to make it pretty difficult to own a firearm in this country, if you’re willing to jump through the hoops and that makes sense,” Schmidt said.

While Bredman does not believe guns should be more restricted, he does agree that background checks are reasonable. “I believe they are completely necessary for all gun purchases from stores. It is a great way to at least make it harder for convicted felons to get a hold of guns,” Bredman said. Bredman sees potential downfalls of more gun restrictions and said alternative solutions should be explored to prevent school shootings. “I think the potential problems are obvious. More lives lost in senseless shootings. I don’t think we need pour money and time into gun control. People can kill with anything: poison, knives, bats, whatever you want. We need to invest time and research into identifying mentally disturbed kids in our school systems and get them the help they need before it comes to killing innocent people. I think there should be mental screenings in schools just like there is for hearing and eyesight. I think we should also invest our time and money into education of how to properly handle guns and introduce them into a kid’s life if they so choose to,” Bredman said.

In addition to gun control and background checks, Boelts also believes the central issue of the gun violence problem in the United States lies with mental illness. “Even if the law did go through, a person could still manage to kill or injure 10+ people. It’s sad that we have to use the number of people a person could kill to regulate magazine size. The root of the problem lies in mental illness,” Boelts said.

“I believe that every single gun sale should require a thorough background check, paying especially close attention to psychiatric and criminal records. As the recent news has proven, the system we have right now is highly ineffective,”

Senior Will boelts

Bredman also said more effort needs to be put into treating mental illness. “I think the best solution is more programs in our school system to detect kids who are mentally disturbed as early as possible and get them the help they need as soon as possible. People kill people. Guns don’t kill people. We need to fix the source of the problem the same way the government has turned to educating on drugs and alcohol instead of just trying to take it away,” Bredman said.

Schmidt also said now is the time for America to make a change. “Now’s the time when we need to have a national discussion, because if you really do your homework on this topic, last year in Great Britain they had like 15 handgun deaths, where in the United States we had almost 15,000,” Schmidt said. “You can use any stats you want, but the bottom line is we just have a heck of a lot more accidents with guns, and we have a heck of a lot more gun deaths in this country, regardless of what stats you quote,”Schmidt said.

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