Lions and Tigers and Guns, Oh My


Photo by Becky Weber

JP Wilson, Staff Writer

With terrible tragedies like the shooting in Las Vegas, people often wonder if the U.S. should almost completely take away guns like so many European countries have.

The purpose of this article is to share my opinion about our second amendment rights with future voters and gun owners, like yourself. The first amendment, which includes things like the freedom of speech, the freedom of the press, and the freedom to petition the government, contains the protected rights of the people to peacefully protest and change the government. The second amendment grants people of the United States with a possibility to forcibly oppose the government if the need were to arise. What we need in the U.S. is enforcement of the thousands of gun laws already in place, and we need to teach gun owners to safely store and respect their guns.

Our founding fathers gave us the right to own firearms because they knew that when the government feared the people, it acted as yet another check to keep the government in its place. The people of the United States are obviously much more important than the government, but they lose far too much of their power if guns are restricted further. “I serve in the military because I don’t believe in foreign forces taking away your rights, ” said Sergeant Instructor Gale, who teaches the JLTC class at Bingham, “I hold to my second amendment because I don’t believe in domestic forces taking away your rights either.”

The government will walk all over the people if we let them. We have to have an armed population to keep the government inside its boundaries. America does not need fewer guns. The real issue is that there are over 20,000 gun laws in the United States, but many of these laws are not enforced.

According to CNN, the shooter that executed the shooting in a small church in Sutherland Springs, Texas was dishonorably discharged from the Air Force after assaulting his wife and son, and therefore should not have been able to purchase the gun that was used in the shooting. But the Air Force neglected to input that information into the federal database for background checks on gun purchasers, according to the Air Force. If more care was taken in updating the database for background checks, twenty-six lives could have been saved.

In an interview with CNN, President Barack Obama (while still in office) said, “One of the most frustrating things that I hear is when people say, ‘Why don’t you just enforce the laws that are on the books?’ And those very same members of Congress then cut budgets to make it impossible to enforce the law.” If we invest more money into enforcing the laws already in place, instead of spending millions of dollars in Congress to pass even more laws, thousands of lives can be saved.

Not all of the reform to prevent gun deaths can happen in the government; firearm policies for homes need to be instituted by the heads of the household to keep the families of gun owners safe. The carelessness of gun owners is causing thousands of people every year to be accidentally shot.

According to the New York Times, more than two-thirds of the time someone is fatally shot in the US, that person is committing suicide. A large amount of these people committing suicide are high school age, and younger, but if more precaution was taken in the storage of these firearms some of these suicides might not have happened.

Weapons are far too often stored in the open and loaded. This ease of availability of loaded weapons leads to thousands of accidental deaths, and tens of thousands of suicides every year. According to the Gun Violence Archive of the United States, almost a third of accidental shootings that lead to a death is the result of a child under the age of 12 finding a loaded gun inside their own home. It is extremely important that for the preservation of the Union and for the safety of the citizens of the United States, that the millions of gun owners in the US learn how to respect and store their weapons properly.

The mass amounts of gun laws not being enforced is largely up to the government to fix, but the huge amounts of in-home shootings are up to Americans to fix. I encourage every gun owner to make sure they educate themselves and those in their household about proper handling, storage, and maintenance of their guns. Just like any other tool, a gun is extremely dangerous if you don’t know how to operate it or how to maintain it.

Even if a person does not want to exercise their right to bear arms; it is important that they allow law-abiding citizens to bear arms so that they can defend their rights and themselves.