Focus On the Problems, Don’t Create New Ones

Attiana Collins, Editor-In-Chief

In spark of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, gun control lobbyists received the ammunition they needed to convince a majority of the country that we should do away with the second amendment. President Barack Obama’s new gun law, which would require background checks and ban all military style guns and high-capacity magazines, to reduce gun violence is unconstitutional. Gun control is not effective as it has not been shown to actually reduce the number of gun-related crimes.

See more: What’s in Obama’s Gun Control Proposal

In the early twentieth century, the only laws that restricted gun ownership and possession was state laws. After Martin Luther King Jr. and Senator Robert F. Kennedy died, Congress passed the Gun Control Act. The gun control movement didn’t become organized until the 1970s. Fear of gun crime in urban areas began to rise.

President Obama is using fear to push his anti-gun agenda. After the shooting at the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, parents are more worried than ever about their children’s safety and are supporting these new laws to protect their children. Violence in schools has fallen by half since the 1990’s. Irrational fear isn’t a enough reason to undermine the second amendment.

The leading cause for injury-related deaths amongst children is traffic accidents. In 1974, the National Maximum Speed Law was enacted and reduced the speed limits to 55 miles per hour (MPH). In 2008, an extensive study was published which analyzed the effect of speed limits and traffic fatalities between 1995 and 2005, after the National Maximum Speed Law was repealed. The study estimated that the increased speed limits cost the nation $12 billion and 12,545 lives. If the gun law is truly meant to protect the children, the government should be focusing on the laws that really affect their safety.

See more: Motor Vehicle Safety

The case for reducing the availability of firearms to law-abiding citizens, relies on two myths. The first myth is that most murderers were law-abiding citizens before they killed someone and the second is that most shootings are committed in “acts of passion” using handguns that were bought for home protection. In 2002, the U.S. Justice Department conducted a study of 272,111 felons that were released from state prison in 1994. The study showed that three years after their release 67.5 percent had been arrested for a new offense; 21.6 percent had been arrested for a new violent offense; had been charged with committing at least 2,871 new homicides, 2,444 new rapes, 3,151 sexual assaults, 2,362 kidnappings, 21,245 robberies, 54, 604 assaults, and 13,854 violent crimes. If studies show that the crimes are being committed by previously convicted felons, then these new gun laws should only affect the citizens that are abusing their second amendment rights.

A report from the United Nations in 2002, revealed that worldwide an average four percent of total health budgets was spent on mental health. Between 2009 and 2011, most states cut $1.8 billion from their budgets for mental health services, according to a report released by the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Numerous shooters in mass shootings displayed signs of possible mental health problems before the killings. If there were more investments in mental health programs, mass shooting episodes would be reduced and services would be provided to the people suffering from mental illnesses.

See more: Mass Shootings: Maybe What We Need Is a Better Mental-Health Policy

Some of the gun control policies that the President is suggesting are understandable and are for cautionary measures, but half of them are unconstitutional and don’t contribute to reducing mass shootings or the crime rate. The right to bear arms is a constitutional right, and the government does not have the right to infringe on that right under the pretense that they’re doing it to protect the children. Before they change laws that don’t contribute to helping this issue, the government needs to focus on fixing the problems that are most definitely contributing to gun violence.