Staff Editorial 1/17: Taking a shot at gun control legislation

On Wednesday afternoon, President Barack Obama spoke about gun control at the White House. In his speech, he said that tougher gun laws needed to be created and enforced to keep “our children safe.”

“In the days ahead, I intend to use whatever weight this office holds to make them a reality,” he said. “If there’s even one life that can be saved, then we’ve got an obligation to try.”

In 2012, there were 16 mass shootings leaving more than 80 people dead. Some of these shootings happened in places where people shouldn’t fear for their lives – a mall, a funeral home, a movie theater and a school.

Every week, there was one new shooting to report. There was one more body to count. There was one more family broken. In the midst of the tragedy, gun advocates and members of the National Rifle Association kept saying the infamous line, “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.”

That solves nothing.

Fortunately, Florida is one of the many states that decided to hold a buyback program where people who own guns could exchange them for cash, no questions asked. In late December, the Opa-Locka gun buyback program set a record after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

More than 100 weapons were turned in. For every handgun, owners received up to $50 and for every rifle, owners received up to $100. The buyback program before that was held in June and only 58 guns were turned in.

Some gun owners are obviously starting to realize that having a gun may not be as safe as one would hope. Though owning a gun may instill a sense of power, it also instills a sense of fear. At any given moment, your gun could end up in the wrong hands. Worse, your emotions could lead you to use your gun to make the wrong move. And there is no turning back from that.

Fighting violence with violence has never been the answer. The infamous saying “two wrongs don’t make a right” holds true in all cases, including the use of guns.

In the U.S. Constitution, the Second Amendment states that everyone has the right to keep and bear arms. But the Second Amendment was also adopted in 1791, when guns took two minutes to reload and technology was practically nonexistent. In this day and age, the right to bear arms has given people the right to bear assault weapons. That was not what the Founding Fathers intended.

Obama’s message is a step in the right direction. Stricter gun laws may not stop the nut cases or the serial killers, but a restriction is better than a limitless right.

If states are moving gun owners to return their weapons, then Congress can move a country to a new state of mind – where the right to bear arms is not infringed upon, but the right to bear weapons is.

Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.