Over the break tragedies uprooted a passionate issue in this country: gun control. Anti-gun enthusiasts are calling for immediate action, whereas pro-gun enthusiasts are attempting to create a “Gun Appreciation Day.” There’s even a home page for the event.
Last November, right before the break, we published an editorial offering our two cents on weapons. In reflection — on the shootings in the Clackamas Town Center in Happy Valley, in Newtown, Conn., at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and in New York where firefighters were lured to a burning house and car only to be shot upon — we still agree with what we said.
Guns have a place and time, people have the right to own them, but crazy people will be crazy. The guns aren’t the problem; the people behind them are. So naturally, we should outlaw people — or something realistic.
It’s true, President Obama is prepared to use executive orders to apply restrictions on weapons in this country — if he has to. It’s also true the plans being discussed limit which guns are accessible to civilians, decreasing the amount a magazine holds, banning Internet sales of ammunition and mandating federal background checks. Though, like everything left up to our elected officials, nothing has been decided on a countrywide level.
Although Congress is taking their sweet-potato time, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo made a plea to the Congress on Wednesday to step it up. He’s also pushing for New York to be the first state to reform laws on gun control.
But why is it so difficult for our nation to come together and work on this very serious issue?
On Tuesday, The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart made the point that we can’t come together on this issue because gun advocates are afraid the government will extend their sticky fingers into our homes and take away our guns. Like Gov. Cuomo said, this is not about the government taking away our guns.
We own guns. We have gone shooting and hunting. We like our guns, and we don’t want anyone to take them away. These facts, however, do not inhibit our ability to see what’s in front of us. Americans need to understand there are unstable people willing to march into a shopping mall, lure firefighters to a fire or even barge into an elementary school with deadly intent.
We don’t believe taking all guns away will help — that would only lead to drawn out regulations on bows, knives or hammers. A free-for-all, however, isn’t the answer either.
We don’t have a plan of action, or a solution better than what our Congress has put out there. We do agree civilians don’t need a semi-automatic AR-15. We do agree more intensive background checks shouldn’t be fought. We do agree limiting a magazine to fewer than 10 bullets is a fair idea.
No, none of this will stop gun violence, because there will always be crazies. Just like prohibiting alcohol wouldn’t stop drunk driving. However, little things like a drinking age and a campaign to promote alcohol awareness has helped reduce drunk driving fatalities by 52 percent since 1982, according to The Century Council.