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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

December 12, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

Opinion

Editorial: Lawmakers should approach gun control with caution

A series of tragic gun-related deaths has ignited the long-running debate about gun control in America.

Calls for greater gun control have resulted in 23 executive actions from President Barack Obama that require background checks prior to gun sales, more security in schools, greater access to mental health treatment and a ban on military-grade assault weapons. More locally, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed new legislation to further restrict gun sales in New York state.

While lawmakers must work to reduce gun violence, reactionary measures are not the answer. When Vice President Joe Biden introduced changes to gun control legislation earlier this month, he used the families of murdered children as political capital to help push the legislation forward. Any challenge to constitutional rights, deserved or otherwise, must be given complete and levelheaded consideration.

The Second Amendment must be modernized, and banning military-grade assault weapons is a step in the right direction. However, legislators must pass laws that are well thought out and researched rather than seeking quick fixes supported by a general public that is still in mourning and fearful of future acts of violence. New York state’s new gun restrictions have been criticized by state sheriffs who argue some regulations will be difficult to enforce, limitations to arms sales are unclear and all the stakeholders in the issue were not brought to the table when the legislation was being created.

America can’t solve its gun violence problems in one legislative shot. Guns in America must be a constant topic of discussion. Decisions that involve all major players and focus on changing both gun laws and American gun culture are critical to creating legislation that will yield lasting improvements.

The Ithacan can be reached at ithacan@ithaca.edu or via Twitter: @IthacanOnline