Blasting gun legistation to bits

Written by: Matthew Balsinger

Over the summer we saw a tragedy take place in Colorado that reignited a deep-seated debate in our public discourse over legislation concerning guns. The tragedy of this discourse, however, is our society’s complete failure to learn and adapt in the wake of atrocities. We fail to control firearms, a seemingly sensible thing to do.

In the United States there is a romantic image of firearms and weapons. We Americans grow up around the glorification of weapons and war.  Unlike almost every other nation in the world, however, we have almost no control over weapons or who may obtain them. Though it is a federal offense to put more than 29 rounds in a magazine, I can walk into a store right now and buy a magazine off the shelf that’s capable of carrying 33 rounds. If I’m on the FBI’s No Fly List, I will not be able to board an airplane, but by god I have no problem obtaining a gun legally!  

America needs to wake up, and have a rational discussion about gun control in this country. We need to act like adults. We need to stop acting as if sensible gun control means banning all guns.  Because, frankly, the lack of discussion and control is costing people their lives.

Gun supporters always use idealistic comments like “Only bad guys will have guns if you control them,” or “Good people won’t be able to protect themselves.” This is false.  Bad guys will have less access to guns if you control them, which means many fewer bad guys will have guns in their hands.

Not to mention the fact that those we entrust to protect us have been trained to use and carry these weapons as well, and will be armed.  Which is a far cry from only bad guys having guns. If anything, it would level the field.

Countries such as Norway, Finland and the United Kingdom have had bans on these military-grade weapons for years, even decades, and yet their gun violence is considerably less extreme than ours, and they have fewer guns flowing through the streets. They have fewer homicides, fewer armed robberies and fewer accidental deaths and suicides, which suggests a strong correlation between gun control and lives saved.

Of course, guns will always be a part of our society. It’s a sad fact, but we are, and should be, morally obligated to control them as best we can. For example, we should approve an assault weapon ban with an extension to automatic rapid-firing weapons. There is absolutely no reason why any everyday citizen should have access to a machine gun, plain and simple.

All assault weapons were specifically designed, created and engineered for military purposes, which means they were designed for no other purpose than to kill, and to kill rapidly.  These weapons should never be available to anyone in the public. At the very least, there should be background checks and waiting periods before someone can acquire them.

Ultimately, my point is that guns are not what keep you safe. A strong and working society is. Your safety is better maintained by keeping a strong, regulated community than by stockpiling weapons in your basement.

Sensible gun control can prevent spur-of-the-moment purchases that lead to acts of horror, the likes of which we saw in Aurora, Colo. If it’s okay for shooting ranges to turn down memberships based on psychological stability, why in the hell is it wrong to turn down the acquisition of a firearm to the same person?