Are Gun Laws Enough?

Ramie Ruble, Opinions Editor

Ever since the Aurora, Colorado midnight movie massacre, gun control laws have been a hot topic with politicians and survivors of the massacre.  While some are vying for more gun control laws, others defend the Second Amendment right to bear arms.  Some say that all Concealed Handgun Licenses need to be revoked in an effort to protect citizens while others disagree.  Presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Barack Obama have to exercise extreme caution in displaying their beliefs for more or less gun control in a neck to neck race for the Presidency as any wrong move can cost them the election.

“Certainly, nobody wants to see a violent incident like the Aurora shooting. But revoking CHLs and banning handguns would not solve the problem because the only people that would heed such a ban are law abiding citizens, the exact ones you would presumably be trying to protect. A criminal who is willing to murder is also willing to ignore a CHL requirement and use an illegal gun in the process. The Aurora shooter, for instance, took the guns in through the back door and had boobytrapped his apartment with illegal explosives that are already tightly-controlled. There are millions and millions of guns already in circulation that will never come out of circulation and provide a ready-made pool for use in future crimes. To see that such changes would do nothing, you need only look at the recent shooting in New York City, a place where guns are effectively banned. And yet we had a murder committed with a gun and several innocent bystanders shot. Great Britain has very strict gun-control laws (handguns effectively illegal and shotguns very controlled and limited to gun clubs), and yet London gun-crime has been rising over recent years. Further, it doesn’t take much to actually make yourself a crude gun. Criminals in Britain have modified the starter’s pistol for track meets to fire a live round and used it in a crime,” Dave Roberts, a Steiner Ranch resident, gun owner, NRA member, and CHL holder said.

Currently, there are forty-one states that allow you to carry arms openly, and many states offer Concealed Handgun Licenses available to private citizens who meet all the necessary requirements, these requirements include being over the age of twenty-one, unless they are a member of the armed forces, have a clean criminal history, not be under a protective order, not be chemically dependent, not be of unsound mind, not be delinquent in paying fines and fees, be eligible to purchase a handgun through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, and be able to complete the required training.  Even though the requirements are already pretty strict, some feel they need to be stricter.

“The requirements absolutely need to be stricter. Maybe a better background check? They might want to ratchet that up a bit,” Mrs. Hudson, World History AP teacher, said.

Others, however, feel that the gun requirements are already strict enough, and prevent those who should be ineligible for gun ownership from getting a hold of guns.

“If a person is mentally unstable, he is already ineligible for gun ownership, whether an “assault weapon” or not. He’s also ineligible for a CHL. I don’t know of a single mass attack committed by a CHL holder. Further, “assault weapons” (a highly ambiguous term pushed by the anti-gun lobby to make guns should more scary and military-oriented) make up on a very small percentage of crimes (low single digits). There is also a big issue here in terms of constitutional rights and due process. While nobody wants mentally unstable people to have access to firearms, what should the procedure be? In this country, we have a doctrine of innocent until proven guilty. Everybody, for instance, is allowed to own guns until such time as they demonstrate that they are unable to do so (felony, adjudicated mentally unstable, etc.). You cannot proactively strip people of rights and then enact a testing procedure where the state stands as the arbiter of whether they can get those rights back,” Roberts said.