One of the current hot topics of conversation and political agenda is gun ownership. The United States Constitution specifically outlines the right to bear arms in the Second Amendment. It is a basic freedom of American citizens that we are allowed to possess guns for self-defense. Yet, with mass shootings taking place all throughout the country, questions have been raised about guns. Should the parameters of the amendment be revised? Could there be better screening for the pistol permit process? What steps can we take to limit violence without stepping on basic rights?
Gun owners are highly misjudged, seen often as tough, ex-military hotheads with a rugged personality. Other times, gun owners are related back to gang activity and corner-dwelling “thugs.” In both cases, people are brought up with a fear of dangerous men with dangerous weapons. While illegal use of guns should definitely provoke caution, the law-abiding citizens with a pistol in tow shouldn’t be something to fear.
People choose to have a gun for different reasons. The most common is protection of home and family members. Adults may possess a concealed weapon because, in this day and age, we have to prepare for the unexpected. People also choose a weapon for hunting purposes. Hunting has been around since the start of mankind, and it is still a common pastime in many countries. Those with guns should not be discriminated against for choosing to protect themselves or choosing to spend time outdoors with a hobby of theirs.
I believe that, instead of outlawing guns, we should have better processes to obtain them. In New York State, a person must be 21 to apply for a pistol permit. The application takes approximately 6-8 months to process. In Alabama, an 18 year old can apply for a permit and receive it in about a month’s time. Perhaps we should focus on creating a standard law instead of having regulations vary from state to state. A longer process for less strict states would be able to provide a more thorough check into the applicant’s life. Also, the age should be a standard age at which maturity of the brain has taken place. A gun isn’t something that should be given to someone who can’t understand the immensity of its power.
Finally, the best solution would (in my opinion) be to have better mental health screening during the application process. A person who is not of sound mind should not have such a powerful weapon. It is not limiting a person’s constitutional right- it is protecting the rights of others. Parents also need to be more careful with their guns and make it less accessible to their children. I believe that these two simple actions could greatly cut down the number of mass shootings, suicides, and murder-suicides.
Unfortunately, we can’t stop gun violence. Like drugs, people will most likely always find a way to get their hands on what they want illegally. What we can do is attempt to do a better job at monitoring where these weapons end up, have a more precise and constant screening process across the country, and protect ourselves and our loved ones from the dangers of the world we live in.