Preventing gun violence starts with simple measures

The past few months have sparked serious debate concerning gun control policies in the United States.

This has always been an issue of concern, but recent events like the Newtown, Conn. school shooting have put the debate back in the limelight. But why has it taken so long for the government to push for change in policies? It seems it  takes a devastating tragedy, where innocent lives are lost, for action to be taken.

The right to bear arms is a right given to us through the Second Amendment. But this right is being abused, and it has become far too easy for anyone to get their hands on a firearm.

Professor Gregory Freeland of the CLU political science department made a good point in regards to the ease of obtaining  a weapon.

“Anyone can walk into a gun show and purchase multiple weapons,” said Freeland. “More strict policies need to be enforced in order to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.”

A gun show provides a venue for the sale and exchange of firearms and also gives private sellers a place to go to sell and trade  their personal collections.

The problem with these gun shows is that, in most states, the private sellers are under no legal obligation to ask purchasers whether or not they are eligible to purchase firearms.

President Barack Obama agrees that more needs to be done to stop these background-check loopholes and keep weapons out of the hands of criminals. The president’s plan against gun violence aims to ban military-style assault weapons and high capacity magazines. These are only the first steps needed to make our communities safer.

“We simply need to be more aware of our surroundings,” said Freeland. “If we pay attention to what is around us, we can take the precautionary steps to keep our communities safe.”

There is so much more we can do as a society in order to decrease gun violence, specifically large -scale shootings.

In the Newtown shooting just a few months ago, Time Magazine reported that the shooter, Adam Lanza, had Asperger’s Syndrome, a developmental disorder that affects a person’s ability to communicate and socialize with others, according to the Mayo Clinic. This newly discovered information raises the question: Could this shooting have been avoided if Lanza had received therapy?

The president believes this could have been avoided and is now working on increasing access to mental health services. According to a National Institute of Mental Health study, individuals with severe mental disorders are more likely to commit violent crimes than those with no mental health problems. Receiving help has become too costly for those who need it most.

Sophomore Dana Henjum did not hesitate to voice his opinion on the matter.

“If we are so willing to pay for the housing and welfare of criminals in our jails, then why are we not willing to pay to house people who need help in our mental institutions before they become criminals?” said Henjum.  Our tax dollars would be better spent on developing preventative measures of crime, rather than caring for criminals after their crime has been committed.

“There can always be more that can be done,” said sophomore Jacob Soriano. “In the past 20 years we have made steps of progress but are still far from perfection.”

There is no such thing as a perfect society, one free of crime. As much as we all wish it could exist, we must accept life’s imperfections, but never give up on making society as safe as we can.


Graham Jameson
Staff Writer
Published Feb. 6, 2013