In less than 24 hours, 29 people have been shot dead, and dozens have been injured in two mass shootings, with one mass shooting occurring in El Paso, Texas in a Walmart, and another in Dayton, Ohio, in a night club. These incidents have revived the gun control debate and have politicians and the people of America questioning what will be done, and most importantly, when will it be done.
Some politicians and Americans claim that gun control will not change anything, instead it will just infringe on the second amendment. They use examples like the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting that also occurred this week in California, a state with one of the strictest gun laws in the nation, where 3 died after 19-year-old Santino William Legan opened fire. Many more would have died but, just like in the Dayton Shooting today, the suspect was shot dead in less than a minute. Other shootings in California include the San Bernardino shooting where 16 died. Many reiterate that despite California having one of the strictest gun laws, people still died from mass shootings. Other’s say gun control policy will fix this mass shooting crisis and use examples of mass shootings like yesterdays in El Paso, Texas, one of the most lenient states in gun control, and a state where 4 of the deadliest mass shootings have occurred. We also have states like Arizona, a state that is also considered one of the most lenient states in gun control, yet there has not been a public mass shooting in Arizona since 2011. These variations have caused people to question whether gun control is the correct route, or if we should focus on other things like mental health, racism, etc but what people do not realize is that gun control is more than gun control.
Gun control has been associated with the infringement of the second amendment by controlling the sale and distribution of guns to the American People. While gun control policy is meant to regulate the sale and distribution of guns, it is meant to do that for some, not all the people of America. One example of a very famous gun control policy is the Gun Control Act, an act that partially still stands. One portion of this policy that still stands is the prohibition of sales of destructive devices like bombs, mines, grenades and similar devices to specific groups including felons and the mentally ill. Another gun control policy that was in place but was later considered unconstitutional was parts of the Brady Act. The Brady Act required to complete background checks on prospective handgun buyers for specific groups like convicted felons and those charged with domestic violence. This was later overturned after Country Sheriffs Printz and Mack from Montana and Arizona claimed it was unconstitutional, or overbearing for officers to do.
Gun control is not controlling the gun of your regular U.S citizen who has no criminal record and is mentally stable, it is controlling the gun sale to those who are mentally unfit and have and track record that suggests that putting a gun in their hands may pose a bigger risk to society than a gain. In order to do this though, all gun buyers have to be screened for the best interest of the country. This is not infringing on their second amendment right, this is the ethical thing to do as an American. But many Americans have become very fixated on the phrase “GUN CONTROL” when looking at gun control policy and have paired it with the infringement of their gun rights. So fixed people have become that many have lost the bigger picture of the purpose of gun control policy. The purpose of gun control policy is not to infringe on second amendment rights, is it to keep the American people safe. In the shooting that occurred in El Paso, 20 lives could have been saved if we had federally passed gun control policy that restricted assault weapons, had mental health screening in place, had to have guns registered like we have to have cars registered and if politicians of higher power did not abuse of their power in office. 20 lives could have been saved if we put aside the phrase “GUN CONTROL”, and focused on the real purpose of gun control policy, to keep the American people safe.