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Pro/Con: Government and guns, an eternal debate

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By Jonathan Rich

Cold, hard steel ejecting copper shells and sending hot lead down range is a thrill and a way of life for most of us Americans who choose to use our right to bare arms.

Smith and Wesson, Colt, Kimber and Remington are just a few of the companies that make up a $32 billion industry that supply me with all my firearm fixes and thousands of Americans with jobs.

I know how serious the debate on gun control is getting in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, Lone Star college shooting and the Ohio theatre shooting, but the new gun control act developed by President Obama is just outright bogus.

If these laws are passed, some of the changes to come could- among other things cause people with psychological issues could lose their right to own a gun, weapon magazines will be limited to 10 rounds as well sporting rifles being banned.

What difference would it make if they limit magazines to 10 rounds? It only takes one bullet to kill a person. It’s pointless.

I’m an Army veteran that served over 5 years as an infantry soldier with deployments in a combat zone.  I have been diagnosed with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and I’m a private gun owner.  I have never once used improper handling with my weapon, nor have I ever tried to harm an innocent person with my firearm, but if these laws are passed I will possibly lose my right to exercise the second amendment and other veteran citizens like myself will lose theirs.

This is most disturbing to me because I was allowed to patrol the streets of a different country with high power weapons and explosives while struggling with PTSD, but now that I’m out of the military, I apparently no longer have the ability to use common sense and proper weapon safety, or so my government that I served thinks.

America needs to realize it’s not guns that kill people, its stupid people with guns that kill people.  A gun is the medium and these laws only affect the masses of law abiding citizens, who just want to protect their home or shoot a deer with a .30-06.

After the laws are passed the criminals will still be just as armed as they were before, because most of them illegally acquire guns and ammunition, flying under the radar of the law and leaving us law abiding citizens to be deer in a hunter’s forest. For that I cannot stand.

If the government is so concerned about guns and safety then why did congress cut Center for Disease Control research funding on gun violence in 1996, or how about when congress banned doctors from asking patients about firearms in the home? Lets not forget how congress blocked National Institutes of Health from gun violence research in 2011.

It’s a shame that it takes several major tragedies for the government to step up for a change but it’s disheartening that most of the new laws are so outrageous. Instead of making new gun laws, how about our government focuses on properly enforcing the nearly 300 gun laws already in effect?

Let’s stop blaming guns, movies, video games and people with mental issues and blame the things that deserve it, like the selfish ignorant people shooting innocents and the improper parenting of our youth.  Let’s focus on that and allow my fellow citizens and I protect our homes, hunt with high powered rifles and keep 16 or more in the clip.

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By Josh Slowiczek

It’s Jan. 26, and the constantly-updated website in front of me states that since the horrifying day at Sandy Hook Elementary School, 1243 lives have been cut short because of a gun related injury.

It’s been 43 days, and one thousand two hundred and forty-three people have died because they were at the wrong end of a gun. The number itself, 1243, seems to desensitize us to the fact that it signifies mothers, fathers, sons and daughters, family and friends from all walks of life.

On Jan. 16, in response to this bloody sickness which seems to plague our country, President Barack Obama released a plan to decrease gun violence in the United States. In the plan were four main points, suggested solutions to the problem.

The most controversial point in Obama’s press release is the “banning [of] military-style assault weapons and high capacity magazines”, something which has gun enthusiasts reaching for their, well… their guns.

The suggested plan reinstates and elaborates the assault weapons ban which was active from 1994 to 2004. In greater depth, this ban would ideally criminalize assault weapons of all styles and make it far more difficult for weapons manufacturers to circumnavigate the law by modifying the aesthetics of a gun. In addition, clips would only be allowed to hold up to ten rounds before becoming illegal.

If enacting these laws helps decrease the possibility of one more James Holmes walking into a theater or one more Adam Lanza shooting up a school, is it not worth it? Are we as a country truly willing to confess  -as we stand over the graves of another 20 innocent children- that maybe we could have saved them if only we didn’t love our assault weapons so much?

Old habits are the hardest to break, but that didn’t stop us from leaving behind slavery and segregation, or the repression of women, minorities and the LGBT community.

In 2010, a research project by the Police Executive Research Forum found that over one-third of police departments in the country noticed a rapid rise in criminal use of assault weapons after the ban ended in 2004.

According to The Washington Post, law officials in Virginia noticed a rise of a  similar nature, as they began to seize more weapons with high-capacity magazines post-2004.

So what are we to make of this?

Maybe we should ask former Australian Prime Minister John Howard who in 1996, after a mass-shooting in Port Arthur, banned assault weapons and started a government buy-back program. Over 650,000 assault weapons were turned in.

Adam Lanza only needed one.

This problem, this fixation that we as a culture have on these weapons, needs to stop. The twisted notion that we can fight gun-violence with more guns can be disproven simply by looking at the facts.

Another of Obama’s suggestions is to increase attention and emphasis on mental health in the U.S. I couldn’t agree more.

Over the past years I’ve met more than my fair share of troubled and depressed young adults, many of whom I’m proud to call my friends. Many of whom will probably never get the help they deserve because the mental health system in the U.S is not built to support low-income, at-risk adult youths.

I’m a lucky one though. I get to talk to a counselor once a week at the school, and she helps me. And I’d be lying if I told you that the thought of turning a gun on myself never crossed my mind a year ago. Just another number, 1244.

The United States has a deadly addiction, I’ve known the symptoms, and banning assault weapons is only the first step in quelling gun violence. But it’s still a first step, and it counts for something.

It’s time to kick the habit America.

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Pro/Con: Government and guns, an eternal debate