A closer look at gun control

By Colin Witman, Staff Writer

Another school shooting in Parkland, Florida at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has once again sparked the great debate of the United States: gun control.

After an incident occurs, such as the one in Florida, the first to blame are always the National Rifle Association (NRA), the politicians who represent the people and more namely, President Donald Trump.

Activists across the United States are making different claims about how more than prayer needs to occur, and change is necessary. But the variable in the question of what needs to change is the restrictions on gun ownership or mental health care.

Stats and numbers are being thrown around with how many school shootings there have been in 2018. Although there have been 18 incidents in which shots were fired on school grounds this year, according to an article from the New York Daily News, only 14 were during school hours.

Breaking those numbers down even more, of those 14 shooting incidents occurring on school properties, six of them actually caused any injury or death. Finally, within those six incidents causing injury, only two of the incidents were fatal causing the deaths of students.

As the two sides of the ongoing argument stand, one side, typically considered the liberal side, believes in either a complete ban of firearms or stricter regulations on the sales of them. On the contrary, those who are considered conservatives lean towards the right to bear arms, and believe the current regulations are fine the way they stand.

Everybody has their own individual opinion on the matter based on personal morals and values. Students at St. John Fisher College, especially freshman Julianna Maddalone, a political science major, and freshman Nicholas Bernard, a legal studies major, are no exceptions.

“I have been hunting and learning about guns and gun safety with my dad since I was 10 years old,” said Maddalone.

When people learn to use weapons responsibly and learn at a young age that a gun is not a toy, that ideally leads to safe gun owners and safe users, but others think differently.

“I believe stricter gun control is the only way to prevent future atrocities,” said Bernard. “Restricting access to weapons that make killing someone easier is the more feasible way to prevent atrocities like Sandy Hook, Vegas or Florida from happening again.”

As well as safe gun ownership, many people said that if more people had firearms, then it would be a deterrent to anyone who wanted to cause violence, knowing that they would be fired back at.

“I do not think every person should have guns but for example in the Florida shooting, if just even one teacher or staff member had a gun they could have potentially stopped the shooter,” said Maddalone. “There are obviously negatives about guns but there are also many positives.”

While many conservatives and right winged supporters feel this way, a similar argument can be made by the other side of the spectrum which involves a complete ban of the sale of firearms, or tighter regulations on the sale of weapons.

“Tighter regulations would be a step in the right direction but would not eliminate gun violence,” said Bernard. “I think in our society, some people will always try their hardest to harm other people as best they can.”

The right to bear arms is the Second Amendment in the United States Constitution allowing the citizens of the country to own firearms. Whether one interprets this differently than someone else, or feels that it needs to be changed, this is the argument at hand.

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