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Opinion: The solution isn’t to eliminate firearms

Under the protection of the Second Amendment, we possess the right to bear arms. However, this has been a liberty that is constantly tested with the myriad of shootings that has occurred, including the incident at Umpqua Community College on Oct. 1, 2015.

Opinion writer William Flannery believes that abolishing the Second Amendment would be counterproductive. Credit: Joel Mayorga/The Foothill Dragon Press
Opinion writer William Flannery believes that abolishing the Second Amendment would be counterproductive. Credit: Joel Mayorga/The Foothill Dragon Press

 

Under the protection of the Second Amendment, we possess the right to bear arms. However, this has been a liberty that is constantly tested with the myriad of shootings that has occurred, including the incident at Umpqua Community College on Oct. 1.

A notorious response to acts of violence of this nature has been cries to repeal the Second Amendment. While this seems unlikely, the uproar is worth the consideration. With the benefits of outlets to society, individuals have been able to share their position, examples being Facebook or a simple petition. While eliminating the tool of many deaths may seem like a solution, abolishing this right is not instrumental to ending gun violence.

The most effective course of action is to make gun laws stricter. Primarily, all states should require a firearms license to purchase and carry restricted weaponry, opposed to Alaska, Wyoming, and Arizona, which do not necessitate permits regarding guns. Due to the lengthy process of obtaining a permit (California requires a 14-hour learning course, two exams and a United States citizenship) and the values instructed, a firearm license allows for a controlled register of who possesses a weapon, along with preventing further shootings. Furthermore, we should continue to limit purchasable weapons to handguns used for self-defense, as rifles are unnecessary for this purpose.

It is asserted that such measures would be of no concern if firearms were prohibited completely, and thus we wouldn’t experience the tragedies that have imprinted on our society. Yet what those individuals fail to recognize is that repealing the Second Amendment will not make gun violence nonexistent, yet will simply encourage it. This hypothetical inevitability can be viewed with illicit drugs in our nation; a survey taken in 2014 by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration showed that 27.0 million people above the age of 11 had used an illicit drug.

The reason for the abundance of drug usage is that they are illegal, and thus trafficking of these substances are beyond the boundaries of the law. Yes, our law enforces the prohibition of illicit drugs and acts upon those who possess them, yet the acquisition of such is easy and ubiquitous as there is no process in obtaining them; there is no means of registration or government knowledge of the acquirement, allowing for them to be spread easily.

Now imagine firearms taking that position, illegally smuggled from foreign countries. An underground market for weapons that could harm others would be created, all of which is outside government monitoring. Firearms would become an invisible terror that would circulate across our nation.

Ironically, as a society that canonizes gun violence in movies and other mediums of entertainment, we have a great fear for firearms. However, this debate of restriction seems to forget that guns aren’t the only threatening weapon. Buena High School recently experienced a frightening predicament regarding a weapon rumor and most individuals would most likely assume the weapon to be a firearm. Even Superintendent of the Ventura Unified School District Michael Babb was recorded mentioning “the volume of school shootings” occurring in our nation by the Ventura County Star. Yet, according to current information, the rumored weapon was never explicitly stated as a firearm.

Whether or not it is irrelevant, the idea is that we have come to associate guns as the source of violence due to their efficiency. However acts of violence can just as easily be committed via other physical and psychological attacks. Yes, firearms are ideal for range, yet that doesn’t mean carnage can’t ensue with alternative methods.

If we wish to maintain a secure society, then we must recognize firearms not only as a tool for destruction, yet also one of enforcement. While we have the police to uphold our safety, a responsible citizen should also have the capability of defense. A firearm is an efficient way to allow those who are physically weaker to protect themselves. That being said, we also need to monitor our society to prevent mass shootings, a process that would be easier with stricter gun laws.

Repealing the Second Amendment is not a solution, and will only cause further peril. We can control these weapons and their use in society, so long as our fear of their capability remains within a reasonable extent and we understand that it is the wielder, not the weapon, that has the power to take a life.

-William Flannery