After Oregon shooting, gun issue sparks debate: Gun control takes weapons out of hands of citizens

By: Brennan Kohls and Lane Schwickerath

A crazed gunman shot up a community college in Umpqua, Ore., on Oct. 1, igniting a decades-old debate on gun rights. After every shooting, there is always the knee-jerk reaction by gun grabbers. People will shout: “Ban assault rifles! Ban guns!” Soon you see certain types of AR-15 rifles banned, you’ll see magazine caps and new restrictions on every American’s 2nd Amendment right. As Americans, we should all believe in the U.S. Constitution as the ultimate law of the land. We cannot let people trample our right to own a firearm.

On April 19, 1775, in Lexington and Concord, Mass., farmers picked up their flintlock rifles and muskets against the tyrannical King George to fight for their freedom. Our founding fathers knew how important gun ownership was because without their firearms, we wouldn’t be living in the greatest country on earth. They thought private ownership of firearms was so important, they made it their second priority next to freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press and a right to peaceful assembly.

The 2nd Amendment states: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” The 2nd Amendment insures that we have all the other rights. People will say: “The Constitution is a dinosaur. Technology changes.” Do fundamental rights and liberties really change that much over the span of 227 years? On the technology part, flintlock muzzleloaders were the “assault weapons” back in the day. Every rifle/musket was a “military style” weapon. Saying that the Constitution is now invalid because technology changes is like saying, you don’t have freedom of speech on social media because you aren’t actually speaking it. We have also passed many laws that already restrict us on what we can do with our 2nd Amendment right.

In 1938 the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 made it so you have to be 21 to purchase a pistol. In 1986 the Firearm Owners Protection Act revised and partially repealed the Gun Control Act of 1968. This prohibited the sale to civilians of automatic firearms manufactured after the date of the law’s passage,  and required ATF approval of transfers of automatic firearms. Gun-Free School Zones Act in 1990 prohibited unauthorized individuals from knowingly possessing a firearm at a place that the individual knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, is a school zone. In 1993, the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act made it required to have background checks on most firearm purchasers, depending on seller and venue. You also have to have a permit in Iowa to purchase any gun that isn’t a “long gun,” which is any firearm under 16 inches long. The NFA is an Act to provide for the taxation of manufacturers, importers and dealers in certain firearms and machine guns, to tax the sale or other disposal of such weapons, and to restrict importation and regulate interstate transportation thereof. The NFA makes it so you can’t purchase most type II class III firearms such as grenades, bombs and artillery. We have almost complete prohibition although you can purchase machine guns, but only after going through obtaining a signature from the Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO) who is the county sheriff or city or town chief of police (not necessarily permission), pass an extensive background check to include submitting a photograph and fingerprints, fully register the firearm, receive ATF written permission before moving the firearm across state lines and pay a tax.

Unfortunately, we have had more mass shooting in schools than anyone wants to think about. That was supposed to change with the passing of the Gun-Free School Zones Act in in 1990, but it obviously hasn’t. Gun-free zones are a good idea on paper, but if you look into it further, you realize that it is also illegal to run from police, smoke marijuana, drink under the age of 21, drink while driving, smoke under the age of 18, steal anything or be abusive towards anyone. This is just a short list of all the laws and regulations out there, but this all happens anyway. So why would criminals listen to a sign standing out in the grass that reads, “Gun-Free Zone,” especially because he or she knows that all the law-abiding citizens in this area are disarmed, so if anything, it’s a target. I hope this never happens in our town but if something did we would have no good defense in our school besides Officer Leary as an immediate response, if he was in the building, and the rest of the police department as a second response if they got there. Think for a second. We go to school about a mile and a little away from the police department. That would take them about two to five minutes to get to the school. How many rounds can you fire off and how much damage could you cause in that amount of time? Too much is the answer. If Leary happened to be here, he could stop the shooting in a matter of seconds because he is the only one in our entire building that has a firearm. I personally would feel much safer if we had at least a few trained/veteran teachers with firearms somewhere at all times, which leads into our next topic of self defense.

It is unfortunate that more young adults have no idea how to handle a firearm of any sort. This is dangerous because knowledge is the key to using a firearm correctly. If someone were to break into your house and have a handgun, for example, and your family has firearms in the house, you could stop the situation rather quickly with your firearm and a cop on the phone.This does not mean you have to fire a shot. Although, if said person were to come towards you threatening your life and the life of your family members, it would be an appropriate reaction to fire before you let any of that happen. Some criminals are scared away just by you saying you have a firearm. Some are not. So if the government were to take away the right to own firearms, you would be defenseless until police arrived. By then you could be in a hostage situation or, worse, your family is harmed.

One thing that they teach in the classes to earn your concealed carry permit in the United States is that anything can be used as a weapon. Think about it. How do people get killed in prison even with all the security that they have? The inmates are going to find one way or another to do it with seemingly harmless objects. There are stories of people killing each other in prison with pencils. You could kill someone with a spoon if you tried. Even if you don’t have an object with you, your bare hands could be considered weapons. Everything has its uses, and if not used correctly, something isn’t going to go right. If you drink and drive, you run the risk of crashing and hurting yourself and or others. If you don’t use a table saw correctly, you run the risk of cutting fingers or a hand off, and if you don’t use a firearm correctly, you run the risk of injuring yourself or others.

We blame everything on the person until it comes to firearms. Your pencil didn’t make you write the wrong answer on the test. You did. The spoon didn’t make you eat too much. You chose to eat as much as you did. When there is a car accident, why don’t we blame the car? Because politicians will always politicize the shooting and try to take away your rights. A firearm by itself will not hurt anyone. Set a shotgun down and tell it to load itself and fire a shell. It won’t because it is an inanimate object and can not function without an able-bodied person physically loading it and pulling the trigger. People want more gun control but refuse to believe that the people behind the gun are the real culprits.

Almost immediately following the Oregon shooting last week, President Obama, visibly angered, called for more gun control and restrictions. The one thing that nobody thinks about when politicians call for gun control is the fact that they all have armed guards. The White House has dozens of armed Secret Service agents protecting the president, the same president who says you don’t have a right to defend yourself, your family or your property with a firearm. I think if someone has armed guards, and they call for gun control, they should make their security give up their firearms.

Gun grabbers will always bring up other countries and states that have strict gun regulation. “We know that states with the most gun laws tend to have the fewest gun deaths,” President Obama said. Two words: Chicago, Illinois. Chicago has the strictest gun regulations in the entire country, so they should have the lowest gun violence, right? Wrong. Chicago is one of the leading cities in the gun violence numbers. This year alone, 2,349 people have been killed in Chicago. Keep in mind they have some of the toughest gun control in the nation. They have a 15-round magazine limit. They banned possession of “assault weapons,” and they have to report the transfer of a firearm at least 48 hours in advance.

Taking away a law abiding citizen’s right to own a firearm doesn’t make criminals harmless. It makes the good guy helpless. If you need proof that gun control doesn’t work, then look at Chicago. When an intruder is in your house at 2 a.m., would you rather have a .45 in your hand or a cop on the phone?

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply