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What must be done to create stricter gun control

By Prakriti Adhikari
On May 8, 2018

Time and again, some tragic news of mass shootings and gun violence strikes the nation. News headlines tell of the number of dead and injured, and news feeds in social media overloads with comments on whether or not stricter gun control measures should be adopted. Tragedies such as the latest mass shooting in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida make people question the second amendment that grants Americans the right to possess guns. While some people believe guns are required for self-defense, stricter gun control measures should be adopted to create a utopian world that every citizen is dreaming of. 

Guns are easily available in America. According to gun.laws.com, in Louisiana, the only necessary requirement for the purchase of gun is “a valid driver’s license which can prove the buyer meets the federal age limits: 21 for handguns and 18 for shotguns or rifles.” In a country where one requires a license to drive a vehicle and a legal permit by the State Barber Board to open a barber shop, there is no such law on requiring a license to own a life-threatening weapon like an assault gun. As a result, there is a rapid proliferation of guns and an increase in the count of mass shootings across the country. Guns are no joke. They are lethal and have the potential to take lives. Therefore, stricter gun control measures must be adopted in the country to ensure people’s safety.

Gun control measures do not just include setting an age bar for the ownership of guns. There must also be preliminary health monitoring to ensure that the owner of guns is mentally sound to use guns. Criminal records should also be checked to ensure that guns are not handed to those who are looking for an opportunity to kill people. Teaching a gun owner proper ways to handle guns and safe ways for its storage could be another measure taken. Having stricter gun control measures does not necessarily mean banning guns, but policies must be strict enough that innocent people and young children do not lose their lives. Playing a blame game after a tragedy is not the solution to stop future incidents. Proper decisions about whom to hand guns is.

The only places where guns are not allowed are on school campuses and properties that specifically prohibit guns. Hospitals and places of worship mostly do not allow guns. In our university, students are not allowed to have guns on campus. The Student Handbook clearly states that “possession or the use of guns or firearms and knives with blades longer than five inches on university property” is subject to violation of school rule. Despite such regulation, we recently had an unfortunate case of gunshots near the University Center on Feb. 23. Fortunately, there were no deaths. In such cases of violence, who do we blame? The minority of irresponsible gun users? Or the legislation? No matter who we put the blame on, the harm is done, and even a single life lost is a great loss for the country. The children who lost their lives in the Florida shooting could have been the future doctors who could have saved lives of millions by discovering medicines to disease, or they could have grown to be leaders of the country had they survived. In the end, the country bears the loss, and that loss can never be recovered.

A long distance needs to be walked to create the utopian society everyone is dreaming of. Such a world cannot be created where people are freely allowed to carry and use guns, creating terror and fear. To stop repetition of violent activities such as the Florida shooting and other gun shootings across the country, the government must be cautious as to decide who to grant access to the use of weapons, risking the idea of creation of utopia to dystopia. Even if it takes small steps like having childproof locks, making sure the owner knows how to use guns, checking criminal and psychiatric history, enforcing gun control policies definitely makes huge differences in the long run. After all, every individual’s life is precious and worth living.

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