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Editorial: Aim for better

Saving ammunition means saving lives

Artwork+by+Alonzo+Lepper.
Artwork by Alonzo Lepper.

Artwork by Alonzo Lepper.

Artwork by Alonzo Lepper.

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It doesn’t matter. None of it.

Excessive force, black on black, white on white or one teen versus thousands: If one round is fired all of humanity is lost.

In the wake of the recent Parkland shooting, a massive uproar of students and adults alike has sparked national rallying for gun control. Sadly, this isn’t a new problem.

Arguably the second most important thing to Americans, hence the Second Amendment, is the right to bear arms. Citizens should be allowed to protect themselves, they should be allowed to hunt and they should have the freedom to purchase whatever tickles their fancy.

But a problem arises when a simple act of protection turns into a profitable aggression.

All across America, people are faced with numerous acts of gun violence. What few people tend to realize is that gun violence is not only when schools are turned into a shooting range but also when a neighborhood becomes target practice.

In multiple cities throughout the nation gun violence has become the norm. Kids grow up listening to the popping of gunshots throughout the nights coupled with the pleas for justice the next day. All thanks to a weapon that has the capability to hinder lives within a fraction of a second.

According to the NPR, in 2016 the United States had a violent gun death rate of 3.85 out of 100,000 people but compared to other highly developed countries the difference is vast. For instance Japan maintained a 0.04 rate and the United Kingdom had a rate of 0.07, both drastically smaller numbers compared to the United States.

It seems as if the 10 o’clock news contains two to three, if not more, instances involving or pertaining to a gun. Those are only the stories they choose to air or even cover.

Gun are embedded into everyday life, creating what seems like more harm than good.

It’s time to make a change.

Obtaining a gun nowadays is complicated, but that is only the case in two of the legal ways.

If a person decides to purchase a gun through a gun store or pawn shop, the shop owner is required by law to perform a background check. But there are other outlets that allow this check to be bypassed.

If a background check goes without a verdict from the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) within three days the sale can proceed. Meaning, because the background check isn’t complete sellers can ignore that aspect of the law completely.

Meanwhile, if a background check is not completed fully for a job, a person cannot work until it is fully completed.

But it doesn’t end there. Gun shows and private sellers are host to gun sales unregulated by background checks and other time-penalizing aspects. If the seller and the buyer live within the same state a background check isn’t required.

The last and final loophole is the trading or selling between friends and family members. Yes, 15 year olds cannot legally own a gun, but they can be gifted a gun purchased by their parents or given one with the permission of their parents.

This is where plenty of Americans are missing the dangers of such weapons. Teaching kids gun safety is important if there is going to be one inside the house, but knowing about a gun and having one are two wildly different scenarios.

Just like a pet, guns come with responsibilities. Or rather should. Unlike a furry friend, guns empower and allow kids with developing impressionable minds, to explore the elusive, tempting side of that power.

That is why it is imperative that legal and civil precautions are set in place so a gun doesn’t end up in hands that use them to hurt others.

Yes, it is true. Not every gun owner is out to kill others, but that doesn’t mean there are not a few who still seek to. In order to protect all children, gun owners and gun enthusiasts alike should be willing to allow the implementation of precautions to make it a bit harder for those unfit to acquire weapons.

When buses full of children were obliterated by trains, changes were made. When drugs were proved to liquidate the brain, changes were made. Even though American lives are being lost every day to preventable crimes, still no changes are made.

To ensure that any individual trying to obtain a gun is suitable to own and use one, the government needs to issue gun licenses and require each person to go through a renewal process every few years. During the application and renewal process mental and background checks should be required and, similar to the drivers education program, applicants should have to proceed through trainings on different “classes” of guns.

Members of Congress need to take action to change the course of this country and start to protect their people.

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