Another Day, Another School Shooting

I was saddened to hear about America’s latest school shooting, but I can’t say I was surprised. Another teen, another assault rifle used to murder students and teachers.

As usual, this brings up the issue of gun control. And as usual, there are plenty of voices at work to derail the conversation.

  1. This isn’t the time for politics. This is the time for mourning.

This is a convenient platitude that serves to get us nowhere. It’s too soon after Florida. Is it still too soon after Las Vegas, San Bernardino, Sandy Hook? Saying now isn’t the time implies the conversation will happen at some point, but it appears that isn’t the real intention with this excuse. I came across a post by one of the denizens of Twitter, who was touting this excuse, only to be silenced by one of the students who was hiding as the shooter made his way through her school.

Below is only one of such posts I found, I was actually looking for a post from another user when I came across this one. If you really care about the victims, not about maintaining the status quo, maybe we can try to hear them out.

2. Guns don’t kill people….

I’m sure you all know how that sentence ends. Firstly, this argument is built on a straw man foundation. It assumes that gun control laws are meant to eliminate guns completely and/or eliminate shootings completely.

The most popular gun control reforms on the table are not about taking away all guns. They are about initiating magazine limits and putting restrictions on the kind of guns people can legally acquire, with a specific focus on restricting assault rifles.

People can still have their pistols and standard rifles for hunting, self-defence or whatever hobbies involve these tools. Most people pushing for gun reform realize that shootings as a whole will not stop. That is not the goal. The goal is to cut down on the casualties in these mass shootings, where someone with a history of mental health issues can easily acquire an assault rifle and mow down a lot of people in a crowded area. James Holmes probably wouldn’t have been able to kill twelve people and injure seventy others in a theater if he was forced to use a pistol or a rifle, instead of an assault rifle with an extended magazine. These infamous mass shootings haven’t been perpetrated by people who had black market connections to get their guns, they were perpetrated by people who were able to get assault rifles legally, either by purchasing it directly or borrowing from mommy.

It is still possible to protect yourself and your home with guns such as pistols or shotguns. If those guns aren’t suitable for you, I have to ask how you managed to make so many enemies. If you simply like shooting assault rifles, ask yourself if your hobby is worth all the potential negatives that come with it, especially since the background checks currently in place apparently aren’t thorough enough.

Gun reform still protects your 2nd amendment right, but let’s try to remember the context for the 2nd amendment. It was created to give Americans the right to bear arms as independent citizens (as opposed to British subjects) and the amendment was put in place long before weapons such as the AR-15 were invented. Maybe the founding fathers meant they want everyone to be able to buy an AR-15, or maybe that isn’t what they intended.

Also, for the “the only way to stop a bad man with a gun is a good man with a gun” adherents, remember that the Florida school had an armed guard on duty. Maybe you’ll argue they should have had more armed guards on duty, which means you miss the point. In your world we would have AR-15 shootouts between shooters and guards at the schools. Why don’t we just cut out the root instead of attacking the weed that springs forth?

Trying to put reasonable gun control laws in place doesn’t have to become a partisan issue. It is a human issue.