Eye for an eye: anti-gun control

Flying+high+above+Portage+Northern%2C+the+American+flag+is+a+symbol+of+freedoms+that+blood+has+been+shed+over.+Restrictions+on+the+ownership+of+firearms+have+been+put+in+place+by+President+Obama%27s+administration%2C+but+how+far+is+too+far+before+the+Second+Amendment+and+American+rights+are+infringed+upon%3F

Connor Dunlop

Flying high above Portage Northern, the American flag is a symbol of freedoms that blood has been shed over. Restrictions on the ownership of firearms have been put in place by President Obama’s administration, but how far is too far before the Second Amendment and American rights are infringed upon?

Lydia Huitt, Life & Style Editor and Website Manager

We have all seen countless tweets and Instagram posts of fellow Huskies taking day trips to the windy city of Chicago, but has it ever crossed our minds that they may not return home? On April 17, 2015 an unassuming Uber driver made it possible for hundreds to make it back to their loving families unharmed. According to Breitbart News, the driver, who remains nameless, was sitting in his car when he saw gunman Everardo Custodio open fire on a crowded street corner in Chicago. The driver immediately began firing at Custodio, landing three shots, thus stopping the deadly gunfire. This is just one of countless examples of everyday citizens exercising their rights and saving the lives of others.

The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America blatantly states, “…the right of the people to keep and bear firearms shall not be infringed;” however, according to the White House.gov on January 4, 2016, the Obama Administration is putting into place extensive restrictions as to who is allowed to buy and sell firearms. These laws affect all citizens, especially those with a criminal record or mental illness. Though it seems obvious, felons convicted of violent crimes should have to endure extensive background checks to own a weapon. The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence reports, “A large majority of people with mental disorders will never engage in violence against others.” Because the government has no sure fire (no pun intended) way to predict which mentally ill citizens are a threat to their own or anyone else’s safety, everyone with a current or past mental health problem will face much adversity if they attempt to exercise their right to self-defense in buying a firearm.

A large majority of people with mental disorders will never engage in violence against others”

— Coalition to Stop Gun Violence

Gabrielle Coleman (11) expressed her own concern for the process of choosing who may buy or sell a gun; she said, “There’s no way to tell who would do the shootings.” To add to the already precarious situation, in January, President Obama enacted a law which allows doctors to turn over any patient whom they suspect to be mentally ill and own a firearm. In other words, a potentially bias doctor could be the one deciding if one gets to exercise their right to the Second Amendment.

The only people who should be making judgments on mental health should be professionals trained specifically in matters of mental health, as well as have had extensive experience with their patients and know them well enough to determine if they are a threat to anyone’s safety. For the most thorough results, doctors should begin studying their patients when they are children. Coleman said, “There’s no way to tell who would do the shooting, unless like you’re in elementary school and they do more closely monitoring for social disorders.” It should be mandatory that teachers and doctors who specialize in mental disorders work together to watch for students who display warning signs of future violence.

Some argue that because of all the shootings happening– like the one right here in Kalamazoo on February 22– the government is justified in increasing gun control laws.  Abby Hensley (12) said, “I mean, of course, I think gun control laws should be put more in place, especially when an individual goes to purchase a gun… There are too many innocent people getting killed.” It is obvious that with stricter gun control laws, there would be fewer mass shootings. However, there would be fewer guns, not only in the hands of dangerous criminals but also harmless citizens that are well within their rights to buy or sell firearms. Coleman also said, “Like if they’re doing the shootings, they already don’t care about the law.” Extensive gun laws make the possibility of armed murderers, who have no problem stealing and lying to obtain weapons, and defenseless citizens far too high.

The United States is known as the land of the free for a reason, and removing rights of citizens starts a slippery slope that leads to the removal of more freedoms. However, regardless of gun control laws, we need to do our part to prevent shootings, especially in the school. We have all heard the stereotype of the kid who sits in the back of the class with their hood up, talks to no one, and shoots up a school; we need to make that stereotype disappear by reaching out to others, no matter how they look or act. Make those around you feel so loved that rather than harming others, they want to spread that love to others– guns or no guns.