PRO/CON: Gun legislation

Gun bills to protect citizens

By Stephanie Lingenfelter
Editor in Chief

I am pro-gun control, but I’m not anti-gun. The polarization of the gun debate makes it seem like there are only two sides to the issue, but that’s not the case. Currently, a bill is being discussed in the Indiana Congress that would increase gun regulations. According to Fox 59, Sen. Max Stoops filed Bill 307 and 309. 307 would expand requirements for background checks, ban semi-automatics for anyone under 21 and ban devices that cause semi-automatics to perform like automatics. Bill 309 would require safe storage of firearms in any area easily accessible by children. Both of these bills should be passed in order to help prevent gun crimes and increase public safety.

Gun regulation would help lower the number of school shootings. BBC named 2018 the worst year for school shootings, with 113 people killed or injured. According to Psychology Today, most school shooters suffer from mental illness and shouldn’t have the ability to own a gun at all. Not because they don’t deserve their constitutional rights, but because we need to value others’ safety. According to LA Times, 59 percent of 185 school shooters between 1900 and 2017 were diagnosed with a serious mental disorder or showed signs of a mental disorder before carrying out the violent act. That’s 15 times higher than the rate of serious mental conditions found amongst adults in the United States. Only one-third of those school shooters were seeking help for their mental condition, so many weren’t getting the assistance they needed. Bill 307 increases the requirements for gun permits, so it would be less likely for someone who may be mentally disturbed to purchase a firearm. In most cases, a shooter is too young to own their own gun, so they’ll acquire a gun from a parent or other guardian. Bill 309 would enforce proper and safe storage of all firearms that could accessed by a kid, so it would be less likely for anyone under 18 to get ahold of a gun.

Anti-gun control followers like to use the phrase “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” I wholeheartedly agree with that statement, but the problem is there are people who shouldn’t have access to guns because they have violent tendencies or a mental illness that clouds their judgement and could cause them to pull the trigger, ending another’s life.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives found that between 2009 and mid-2011, over 16,000 firearms disappeared from inventory without explanation. Bill 307 would require a more extensive background check. It would also make sure all sellers are certified and have extra training so there would be less illegal gun selling and trading.

There is no need for anyone to own an automatic weapon or semi automatic weapon that behaves like an automatic. According to NBC, automatics can get up to 750 rounds a minute and the trigger doesn’t have to be continually suppressed. That’s necessary for military use, but otherwise semi-automatics are more than enough. A problem arises when people purchase add-ons that make it act as an automatic. According to USA Today, Trump administration banned bump stocks in December and is working on collecting or destroying the half million in the U.S. before the ban, but there are still other aftermarket devices that can be added. The 307 Bill would take away people’s ability to obtain these dangerous add-ons.

We have our rights and we need them, but what we don’t need is thousands of people dying every year because of the improper use of guns. The Second Amendment was added so citizens would have the means to form a militia if corruption became too imminent in the federal government, not for just anyone to be able to purchase and use a gun however they wish.

American rights restricted

By Brayden Lennart
Staff Reporter

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed,” states the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. When writing this, our founding fathers never enacted limitations of who can own a firearm. They let ships have cannons and even Thomas Jefferson owned a repeating rifle in the late 1700s. Today, we live in an America that our founding fathers wouldn’t be proud of: an America that wants to limit your rights and infringe upon what is guaranteed in the Constitution. Indiana state lawmakers have proposed Senate Bill 307 and 309, which will expand the requirement for background checks before purchasing a weapon, ban the sales of bump stocks, devices that make semi automatic firearms into fully automatic weapons, and raise the age to purchase a semi automatic firearm to 21. These proposed laws are in direct violation of every American’s Second Amendment rights. School shootings are a horrible thing. Killing innocent people is one of the worst things a person can do. The United States needs to take school safety seriously, but it comes to a point where we discover that in the name of safety, we may be doing more harm than good. We can’t expect criminals who murder viciously to care about laws. According to the Washington Post and studies from economist John R. Lott, 86 percent of public mass shootings took place in gun free zones. We can act like background checks and stricter laws will stop evil, but the people who commit these heinous acts don’t care about the law. Background checks have inconclusive evidence supporting weather or not they even decrease homicides or suicides. If they can’t get a gun legally, they will just do it illegally and still carry out their plans. If you are to arm citizens legally, criminals will be less likely to commit crimes with firearms in fear of attacking someone who is armed.

Everyone knows about the bump stock, a piece of plastic that turns semi automatic weapons into fully automatic “assault weapons.” Other than the tragedy in Vegas, there are no shootings on record with a bump stock. I personally have used a bump stock before they were made illegal, and they are a pain to use and it would be very hard to hit a target accurately. Making them illegal is just a waste of time.

Why should the age to purchase a firearm be raised to 21? In those three years from 18 until 21, does something magical happen? Our brains aren’t fully developed until 25, so what is it? If the legal age to purchase a firearm becomes 21, the government is just making it harder for law abiding citizens to get ahold of firearms to protect themselves. According to a study done by the US Bureau of Justice Statistics, 60 percent of inmates across the country who used a firearm in the crime obtained it illegally. Raising the minimum age to purchase a firearm will not stop people from obtaining firearms.

Many believe that with fewer guns, we will have less crime. This isn’t true. According to the United States Department of Justice, gun-related homicides decreased 39 percent over a course of 18 years. From 1993 to 2011, gun-related homicides dropped from 18,253 to 11,101. All of that occurred while the sales of firearms increased, according to firearm production companies’ stocks. After certain legislation was proposed in the wake of shootings, the firearm market saw a massive jump in sales.

When the people are armed, they are safer. The Second Amendment says the right to bear firearms shall not be infringed. Every gun law enacted is an infringement of the rights of the people. Senate Bill 307 and 309 are unjust and unnecessary.

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