By Jia M.
Maybe it’s time for both sides to come together and talk about it?
The other night, I was catching up on my TV shows. In Arrow, Oliver Queen is a millionaire playboy who becomes stranded on a deserted island and returns to his hometown as the Green Arrow to fight crime, and in the process, becomes the mayor. The subject of the latest episode was about gun rights. I was thinking, “Oh, crap, leave my TV shows alone, politics.” However, the show approached the topic exactly how I approach politics–in a moderate fashion.
The episode starts with the antagonist shooting up city hall and killing several innocent people as an act of vengeance against city council for not voting in a gun registry act. But the shooter’s family was killed by a gunman who carried an illegal firearm, so the gun registry would not have saved his family. Throughout the episode, the heroes of the show argue among themselves whether or not more gun control is needed. One character brings in statistics of the danger guns pose to society, while another character alludes to his past, saying he could have prevented his wife’s death with his gun. As the mayor, Oliver approaches the topic of gun laws by having everyone sit down to discuss it.
The episode didn’t specifically point out what laws were passed, but the point is that we all need to come together to discuss this topic. It needs to be an open dialogue with level headed people. One side can’t dominate the debate. As a current gun owner, I can sympathize with other gun owners that California gun laws can be way too strict and feel that we are infringing on people’s Second Amendment rights. On the other hand, I agree that we need to keep people safe and instill thorough background checks to keep guns away from people who shouldn’t have them to begin with.
Where do we stand now? In 2016 there were 385 mass shootings (a mass shooting consists of four or more shot and/or killed in a single event). On average there are 93 Americans killed with a gun every day. From 2015-2016, an estimated number of 3 million people were blocked from purchasing a gun because of background checks. The majority of the police force in the United Kingdom do not carry a firearm. The Netherlands has significantly fewer gun crimes compared to the U.S. The ACLU and Republicans are opposing a provision that keeps guns away from the mentally ill, while the statistics go on and on to support the case for gun control.
There are plenty of reasons why America should have stricter gun control. However, how many of you people are actually arguing for “gun control?” I’ve personally asked my peers about their views on gun control and how to approach the gun debate. Their definition of “gun control” isn’t just to regulate guns, but to eliminate the presence of guns in society. This is a dangerous and narrow-minded way of thinking.
In the summer of 2016, several gun propositions were signed in as laws. Citizens were not given an opportunity to vote on the most of these laws. With so many new laws being enacted in 2017, it was difficult for people to figure out what was legal and what was not, what guns were grandfathered in, what attachments were now considered a felony to have. Gun sales increased as a result of these new laws. I was one of those people who purchased their first firearm as a reaction to all these new laws. As a new owner, I’m overwhelmed by the constantly changing landscape of gun laws. However, I do know I have to register my rifle as an assault weapon or else it’s considered a felony to own my gun. If you look up the definition of “assault weapon” it’s a fluid definition that is catered to anyone to redefine. If a gun looks too menacing, but functions exactly like a conventional hunting rifle and cannot fire at a rapid rate whatsoever it can be legally labeled as an assault weapon. A hunting rifle can be considered as the same category as a grenade launcher.
I have heard arguments from people that we should take away all the guns. How would you take the guns away from people who obtained them illegally? You would be taking guns away from people who obtained them legally, hunt as a sport, or use guns as protection. You would ultimately leave a good chunk of Americans defenseless. In 1992, Korean store owners were able to protect their businesses from rioters during the notorious LA riots by having guns posted on the rooftop of their stores. In 2016, a woman was able to fend off three home invaders in a shootout. When used responsibly, guns can protect the livelihood of others and save lives.
Of course, you can’t have a gun conversation without mentioning the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment was created as a provision created by our forefathers so that we as Americans can defend ourselves from oppression. Generally, there isn’t too much civil unrest in the U.S.A. However, with Donald Trump as commander-in-chief, we may need those guns and a militia to defend whatever’s left of our government and rights. We have an unreliable White House feeding alternative facts to the people and a morally ambiguous immigration ban on people who are legally allowed in the U.S. Trump has also appointed some of the least qualified people to be on his cabinet. With so much obscurity in America’s future, people’s rights being revoked, and so much protesting we’re probably going to need guns to not only defend our property but our rights and way of living.
I agree we need to make society safe and keep guns away from those who can’t respect it. I also agree that we cannot infringe on the right to protect ourselves should the need arise. Let’s take a page out of the Green Arrow’s approach and have everyone sit at the table, discuss, educate and learn from one another, and agree on laws and regulations that won’t compromise on people’s rights and safety.