OPINION: Gun control punishes responsible citizens

Ranger Reporter

Widely discussed between friends and family today is the issue of gun control. Americans are pondering whether the federal government should have the legal right to legislate and exercise gun control over its citizens. The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects an individual’s right to bear arms.

I support our right to bear arms and think Americans need to demand sensible solutions that keep us safe while protecting our constitutional rights.

Most Americans are smart enough to understand that gun ownership comes with huge responsibilities. I do not believe everyone is qualified or responsible enough to have access to or own guns, just as all Americans are not qualified to drive a car without some restrictions and regulations.

The president has begun a much-needed conversation to prevent further national tragedies such a Sandy Hook and Virginia Tech.

The president’s executive orders call for strengthening current gun laws and taking steps on mental health and school safety.

He will call for more training for mental health professionals and school counselors and may provide federal funding for that goal.

Also mentioned are universal background checks, which include criminal and mental health background checks for all firearms sales, at stores or in private sales.

The president asked Congress to reinstate an assault weapons ban that expired in 2004 and to restrict ammunition magazines to no more than 10 rounds.

However, research has shown that banning guns is not the answer. Handguns were banned in Washington, D.C., in 1976. The ban was ruled unconstitutional in 2007.

During that Washington ban, more crime waves were reported. Since the ban was lifted, murders in the D.C. area have steadily decreased from 186 in 2008 to only 88 in 2012 – the lowest since the law was enacted in 1976.

Our rights and freedoms slowly are being regulated and removed by the government.

Unfortunately, criminals have used guns to commit brutal crimes, and while it is unfortunate and indisputable, it also is unavoidable. There always will be people who misuse their personal powers and challenge the authorities.

A gun is nothing more than a tool. Taking guns away from responsible, law-abiding citizens would be an injustice.

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