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Editorial | Firing off on gun control debate: Students still don’t see eye to eye

Published: Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Updated: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 01:02

Another shooting gripped headlines this weekend: two Michigan State University students were shot multiple times Saturday resulting in the death of one and serious injuries to the other. Sadly, this is no longer news in the United States.

A child or teen dies or is injured from guns every 30 minutes; guns are the second leading cause of death among children teens ages 1 to 19 and the number one cause for African American children and teens, according to a 2013 study done by The Children’s Defense Fund. More startling statistics show that since the devastating Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in Newtown, where 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot 20 children and six adults, there have been another 9,900 related deaths from guns in the United States.

The Obama administration failed to get any gun control measures passed last year through Congress even though the numbers of innocent lives taken from guns are increasing. Even though some of these shootings and murders may seem far away from the Oxford bubble, they really aren’t. There have been 24 school shootings since Newtown, and two thirds took place on college campuses. The Miami Student Editorial Board is divided on the issue of gun control.

Our online editor Brett Milam believes there are already safeguards in place for gun control, and there may be no actual way to stop future shootings from occurring,

“We have the laws. The laws are there. The shooter at the Navy Yard acquired his gun legally and had a credible ID to get into the building. The Sandy Hook shooter used his mother’s weapons. I’m not sure how you stop those. Violent gun crime is down, but sure, there definitely appears to be a cluster of mass shootings over the last two or so years, but I’m not convinced there is a trend,” he said.

On the other side of the gun control spectrum, are those who feel guns should be completely done away with. Campus Editor Reis Thebault believes this should be the next step for the United States.

“At this point, everyone has been or knows someone who has been affected by gun violence. There is no need for guns and I am tired of hearing about something new every day, because what if it’s Miami next time? It’s scary, it’s sad and it doesn’t need to happen,” Reis said.

Some also feel the right to own a gun should not be taken away from them, but there should be more background checks in an attempt to identify those who should not own a gun. Editor-in-Chief Katie Taylor sees this as a possible solution, but far from happening any time soon.

“People have the right to own weapons. I don’t think we should take that from them. On the other hand, there are individuals who should not be able to get their hands on them. The big issue is one, identifying those people, and two, finding a way to make it impossible to obtain a weapon. If that’s even possible,” she said.

The mental health issue has been another widely-debated topic in the realm of gun control. The most typical argument has been that it’s not guns that kill people; it’s people who kill people. This usually comes down to the mentally ill who are shown in the media as having killed people, or gotten a hold of guns one way or the other. Whether or not you agree, it is still an argument relevant in the conversation.

“I think that everyone should have a right to own a gun, but if you have a mental health issue or a past violent criminal then you lose that right,” said Sports Editor Tom Downey.

Campus Editor Victoria Slater has seen a different side of the gun control debate from another country’s perspective, as her parents are originally from Australia.

“In Australia, all automatic and semi-automatic weapons were banned in 1996 for all civilians, and since, the country has not faced any mass shootings. I know if the federal illegality of all guns were proposed it would be shot down immediately with a resounding argument of unconstitutionality. However, I still think it is something we should consider,” she said.

And then there are those, like Community Editor Chris Curme, who just feel like the issue is too far gone to even try and propose a solution or take a side.

“It seems to me that if one wants to acquire a gun, he or she can, legally or illegally. So the issue is too complex for me to even imagine a clean solution,” he said.

Our news editor Emily Crane understands that telling Americans they can’t own guns isn’t going to happen, but there needs to be some sort of regulation.

“For better or for worse, it is a basic right of every citizen in this country to carry a weapon and trying to change that now is both futile and wrong,” she said. “The best thing we can do is to continue to pursue stricter regulation of who is allowed to purchase weapons and how they are allowed to do so. And let’s start at the state level since we can’t expect to see this addressed in Congress anytime soon..”

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