By Ryan Blocker
In the wake of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut, there has been much debate in the media about guns and gun control. It is almost impossible to avoid hearing or reading some mention of it. President Obama, once noticeably mute on the issue, has now made reforming gun laws a priority in his political agenda. Although many in the media appear willing to debate this issue, I have found this matter sometimes leads to difficult conversations.
I wholeheartedly support strict gun control. I resent those who refer to me as “anti-gun”. Supporting sensible gun legislation makes me no more “anti-gun” than supporting adherence to the speed limit makes me “anti-vehicle.” I personally do not wish to own guns. The presence of a gun has never made me feel safe. I do not believe guns are tools for defense. A gun, by its design, is an offensive weapon. I do, however, respect that there are those who wish to do so for various reasons.
When I mention my belief in increased gun regulation to my “pro-gun/anti gun control” friends, I am often met with severe hostility. Many of them insist that owning a gun is a necessity, and any attempt to limit access to guns is unpatriotic. I am still baffled by this argument.
A gun is a weapon designed for killing and injuring people or animals. Period. There should be more checkpoints to prevent people who are not capable of handling the responsibility of these weapons from having access to them. After the infamous terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001, airlines increased their security practices. This was not because the airlines wanted to discourage people from flying. It was for the sake of public safety. The security checkpoint at the airport has become an inconvenience that we all are willing to tolerate. We accept these practices because without them, people could be harmed.
The same can be said about medicine. Flu shots, prostate exams, and mammograms are inconvenient and uncomfortable. However, these procedures have been known to reduce the spread of the flu, prostate cancer, and breast cancer. These methods are not foolproof and do not guarantee the total elimination of the diseases they aim to prevent, but that does not mean that they are without merit. Our desire to be safe outweighs our discomfort with the preventative measures. Is this not true of gun control?
It would be unreasonable and impracticable to outlaw the ownership of all guns. It is unlikely that any policy restricting gun ownership would keep guns out of the hands of all criminals. The truth is there is more we could be doing to prevent violent gun crime.
It is almost as easy to purchase a gun as it is to buy a gallon of milk. We do not need civilians to have assault rifles or other weapons meant for the battlefield. Contrary to what some may believe, we do not need an armed student body at Furman. If we can have enough concern and foresight to get a flu shot, we can also have enough concern and foresight to address the issue of gun control.