Doing something, anything, with the second amendment

By Paul Cruse III

There’s an old saying in my family, “Average is the worst of the best and the best of the worst, but either way you’re among the worst.” With this motto my family strives never to settle into complacency, but this slogan can be applied to more things than just a family’s generational endeavors. As it stands now, our gun laws are average.

Presently, gun laws are too strong to allow dutiful citizens the right kind of personal defense, but too weak to stop criminals and the mentally ill from obtaining weapons for the wrong reasons. There are two different remedies that can be prescribed to relieve this. We can either loosen our gun laws to the point where almost anyone can acquire firearms quickly and carry them wherever they like. Or we can tighten gun laws so that police are the only people who have them legally.

Some people think loose gun laws are the problem now. But to arm everyone would make people a lot safer, in theory. As it stands now, Illinois is one of the few states to have laws against having concealed weapons, but, according to the Justice Department, still manages to have one of the highest homicide rates in the country. If you’re going to buy a gun for self-defense, then you should be allowed to carry it. In addition to loosening gun laws, the U.S. could fund a national firearm training program.

Junior high students go through classes like Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) and sex education. These students could be taught the basics of gun safety. If you’re imagining your preteen brother or sister holding a Glock, wearing “safety” goggles and shooting at a target that looks eerily like you, don’t fear. In some gun education programs that have been floated, students would never fire or even hold real guns. They would learn about what to do when they see guns, the different types of guns, learn the physics of bullets (like how bullets can go through walls and bounce off things) and a slew of many other gun-safety related topics.

Only years later would students actually hold real firearms and practice shooting them. After they have finished their gun education, they could apply for a gun license that would be recorded in a federal database. Using this solution, everyone (with licenses and training) could obtain and carry guns. People will be able to defend themselves against criminals and the occasional mentally ill mass murderer.

The other side of the debate would be to greatly tighten gun laws. One example is the United Kingdom which only allows its citizens to own sporting guns. These guns aren’t allowed to be stored at home. Hunting rifles and shotguns must be left in lockers in clubhouses near the hunting grounds. A system like this could be plausible.

For this system to be effective, guns currently in households would have to be addressed. According to a study by the Open Society Institute, 40 percent of American homes have guns. These guns would have to be confiscated and either locked up or destroyed. The reason for this is because in 1991, the FBI found that about 40 percent of guns used in violent crimes were stolen but were once purchased legally. The purpose of laws like these are to reduce the chance of obtaining a gun illegally. If the absolute number of guns are less, then the availability of getting a gun is reduced.

As it stands now our gun laws are too moderate. To have an effect on crime we need to either loosen our gun laws or tighten them, but leaving them as is will only result in more of the same.

Paul is a junior in computer and political science and his other favorite quote is “You may never know the results of your actions, but if you take no action there will be no results…” -Ghandi