Have you or someone you know lost a family member or friend in a shooting? Throughout the past couple decades, we have become familiar with hearing news that someone has been shot and killed. Flip a news channel on and see how much of the news has centered around informing the public on matters concerning to crime! The topic of gun control is unavoidable.
Along with the recent shootings, those including Sandy Hook Elementary, Columbine, and the movie theater catastrophe in Aurora, Colorado, our country is wanting to implement some new policies in hopes of reducing a drastic portion of the gun violence.
On December 12, 2012, Adam Lanza, a 20 year old male, fatally shot 20 children and 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary. This is one of the more recent tragedies to take place. The gun used was a Bushmaster XM15-E2S rifle.
April 20th, 1999, seemed like a normal day for students at Columbine High School until Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold stepped foot in the school and opened fire. The two killed a total of 13 students and teachers and injured 21. Harris was equipped with a 12-gauge Savage-
Springfield 67H pump-action shotgun and a Hi-Point 995 Carbine 9 mm carbine. Klebold was equipped with a 9 mm Intratec TEC-9 semi-automatic handgun and a 12-gauge Stevens 311D double-barreled sawed-off shotgun.
In Aurora, Colorado, on July 20th, 2012, another shooting occurred from 24-year-old, James Holmes. This killing spree occurred in a movie theater for the newly released Batman movie. Twelve Batman enthusiasts were killed and at least seventy were injured. Choice of guns, an AR-15 rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun and at least one of two .40-caliber handguns police recovered at the scene.
In response to these tragic times and choice of guns, the national government is attempting to enact some kind of new law implementing a stricter gun policy. Even though I support the Constitution and the Right to Bear Arms–I am licensed and packing most of the time– I feel a stricter policy on the ownership and purchase of guns needs to be implemented in order to prevent more future tragedies.
President Obama spoke in “Murderapolis” on February 4th, 2013, to back his push for tougher national gun laws. In Minneapolis, in the 1990s, homicide rates were so high that the city picked up the nickname “Murderapolis.” The city, at the time, was begging for change and desperate for a more peaceful nickname. In response, Minneapolis enforced successful gun to violence prevention efforts and the city saw much change. Obama was so intrigued with the positive response from the efforts that he has chosen to use Minneapolis as a main example in moving forward with tougher national gun laws.
“The only way we can reduce gun violence in this country is if the American people decide it’s important,” President Obama said. Not only does Obama want support from the public, but he also has come up with a plan to action. As seen recently in many gun stores, like Sportsman’s Warehouse, assault rifles have been removed temporarily. According to the New York Times, President Obama ” renewed his call for Congress to pass a series of measures, including a ban on the manufacture and sale of new assault weapons, limits on high-capacity magazines and an expansion of the criminal background check system that currently covers only about 60 percent of gun sales.” Obama wants universal background checks that are supported by the majority of Americans. President Obama keeps reassuring people that weapons of war have no place on our streets and guns like the AR should be taken away if our country wants to help prevent future massacres.
New York Times/CBS News Survey, a whopping 93% of respondents favored better background checks. Like the M.A.I.G., the NRA has been quoted on already wanting a push for better background checks. Although it may seem expected for a group that loves guns, the NRA has been pushing that message well before the President has brought all of this to light.
As for our local government, Mia McLeod, South Carolina House of Representatives, is pushing for a stricter background check that makes sure people with mental illnesses are without the possession of guns. McLeod stated that, “With all the talk about gun control these days, it seems too many of us are “up in arms” about the slightest possible infringement upon our 2nd amendment rights, but not nearly as concerned about the mental health of those who are exercising their right to bear arms.” McLeod hopes that the push for a stricter background check will keep mentally ill individuals from taking the lives of another human being; they are not in the right state of mind to own a gun.
Regardless of the NRA’s support for better background checks, we all know the NRA still loves their guns and will not let someone take them from them. They will oppose the elimination of assault rifles and will argue against this idea, but they will not disagree still with the background checks. Our country is in a dire need for change in preventing gun violence.
Gun violence has taken more lives than anyone would want to count. While our country will always push for stricter rules and laws regarding the background check, there will always be others going against taking guns out of our hands.
In response to this article, do you feel that the background checks need to be reformed? Or, do you feel assault rifles need to be eliminated like the President desires? What role do assault rifles play in the average citizen?
J.L. Mann Cromer, Jr. Served as the only True Independent Member of the South Carolina General Assembly from 1990- 1998. Currently, he is serving in his 14th year as Reading Clerk for the S.C. House. Additionally, Bubba is a General Practice Attorney in Columbia, South Carolina, concentrating in Probate & Estate Planning, Criminal Defense and Personal Injury Law.