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.


3 thoughts on “Shots

  1. I didn’t know you were so moderate on the issue. People are definitely polarized on this one.

    I will say that I spent 6 months in Mexico, where you can go to jail for like 10 years for possession of a firearm, and there are severe punishments even for possession of a knife, as well, but many people can get guns fairly easily if they really want them–but that’s because (IMO) the Mexican government is far less organized and more relaxed than here in that sense. Also, they sell big knives on the streets of Mexico City, so it’s kinda ironic and another example of that laxity.

    I can tell you firsthand that I felt a lot safer in Mexico than on most streets of most cities in the USA because of the thought that it would be difficult for the average hoodlum to obtain a gun there, whereas it’s the easiest thing in the world in the USA to get. I literally kept my gopro attached to its selfie stick on my belt at all times with the confidence that I could use its reach to fend off the average attacker and get away if needed, whereas that just seems silly in the USA since I’d likely be outmatched and a physical response might be out of the question.

    But this said, though I personally think I’ll never keep a gun in my house while society is as free as it is, and, as a guest in Mexico, it wasn’t as relevant to me, but I could sense that I would definitely feel LESS FREE without the right to own a gun there if I were a permanent citizen. It’s sad because the government can be corrupt and abuse people when it has no fear of retaliation.

    And yet, I was surprised at the strength of the Mexican spirit. I spent 3 months in Oaxaca where there are continual protests against the government, and the government is definitely afraid of the protesters, who are even more powerful in number and influence–though they can’t have guns. So even now, the government fears the people there, but it also makes abuses that I feel it wouldn’t if the people could arm themselves. I have to say that their protests are and must be more stressful because of the lack of freedom to own guns. They must brandish moltov cocktails and destroy vehicles and harass highways and put up blockades because these are the only violent freedoms that they have. If they had guns, it would rarely come to violence because nobody wants a gun-fight, so both sides would be forced to discuss solutions to their disagreements conversationally (in absolutely most cases).

    For another specific example, the government even shot at and killed a small number of the protesters last year–could it have done this if it had feared retaliation? On the other hand, these protesters also seem to me to be a bit ridiculous and–certainly not in that way–but may need to be put in their place, as well, so you have to know both sides, but it’s certainly a slippery slope when we assume that the government (the minority) knows best in every situation against the people (the majority) when it comes to the proper use of arms.


  2. Oh, in conclusion, I agree with you that we should have more gun control, ideally, but it’s also hard to determine how much right the government has to control it because of the second amendment, so this could be a slippery slope for the government to know when to stop, and there will be back-and-forth and argument over this for a long time, as there has been for a long time, and it would certainly be a sorry state of affairs to reach full gun control (Mexico I think only did that because of the narcoviolence, which is basically an emergency situation).

    Obviously, it should be much harder to buy a gun if you’re a felon, and the specifics to that have been heavily discussed. I also liked Ben Carson’s brief remarks on possible gun control for cities–which wouldn’t technically go against the 2nd amendment because you’d always have the right to own it–just not have the right to bring it into areas in which its most likely to be used for bad purposes and most likely to cause greater damage (crowded areas), but the majority of people in this country who live in rural areas can keep the country free by having their guns–people who are also most likely to use those guns for practical purposes such as hunting, and not only defensive.


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