Opinion

It’s time to get the guns off the streets

Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Colorado – these are the sites of three fatal school shootings that have occurred in just the past two weeks. The Bush administration has called for a school violence summit to discuss federal action to help prevent such tragedies, but the implications of recent events reach farther than many people realize – rampages of late, such as Columbine, and those that occur outside of schools are transpiring more frequently because of easy access to guns and the regularity of gun ownership.

What can put a stop to the rise of gun violence? Gun control – granted, some people do not believe that there is a correlation between gun ownership and gun violence. However, the very function of a gun is to wound or kill, whether in the hands of a criminal, hunter, or victim in self-defense. Guns cause bloodshed.

Gun rights advocates insist that guns are a means of self-defense against governmental tyranny, foreign invasion, and criminals. The threat of governmental tyranny and foreign invasion may have been legitimate reasons for wide-spread possession of guns centuries ago, when the Second Amendment was first fashioned, but a lot has changed since then. Would U.S. citizens personally combat foreigners if an invasion took place in this day and age? No, that task would belong to our military. As far as I’m concerned, the Second Amendment is essentially null and void. In addition, I believe that the Constitution was meant to be an evolving document, and it’s about time to make a necessary change.

In terms of people protecting themselves against criminals, yes, gun control could make law-abiding citizens vulnerable to assault by lawbreakers, but the main aim of gun control is to eventually thwart delinquents’ ability to obtain guns at all. Obviously, this would not happen right away, but how about alternative ways of protecting one’s self? Self-defense classes, a house alarm system, and pepper spray are all effective methods that do not employ a firearm. Moreover, there is nothing wrong with allowing the police to handle situations in which one’s personal safety is threatened.

Basically, gun control is a start. It has no guarantees, but it’s a step in the right direction. The latest gun laws in Greenleaf, Idaho, on the other hand, exhibit a leap in the wrong direction. City Councilman Steve Jett recently proposed that all Greenleaf households keep and maintain guns to deter the crime that may arise from the imposing growth of nearby Boise. What Mr. Jett needs to realize is that increasing the amount of guns in Greenleaf will only make the city more dangerous.

In the past, there has been an increase in background checks and registration for the sale of guns. There also was an assault weapons ban that lasted from 1994-2004. Desperate times have called for desperate measures. To make stronger procedures a reality, all gun control supporters must make their voices heard. Our opinions have long been disregarded because of the huge influence that gun rights groups wield on the political arena via hefty campaign contributions, but it’s time to for us to step up!

Victoria Genuardi is a freshman majoring in communications. She may be contacted at v.genuardi@umiami.edu.

October 24, 2006

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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