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Gun Control: Is is time for a change?

By Megan Brandrup

Gun control in the United States has become a hot-button issue. The first major debate over gun control came after the infamous Columbine High School shootings on April 20, 1999. Two students, Eric Harris, and Dylan Klebold opened fire on campus and killed 12 of their classmates and one teacher.

Many mass shootings have taken place since 1999. A more recent case took place near Rosenburg, Oregon, on Oct. 1 of this year.  The shooting took place on the Umpqua Community College Campus during the middle of the school day. Christopher Harper-Mercer targeted students who admitted to being of the christian faith.  He killed nine people, wounded nine people, and then turned the gun on himself.

These tragedies have sparked controversy between gun owners, and non gun owners. Should gun laws become stricter and more limited? According to a 2012 Gallup poll, 42percent of households in the USA have some form of fire arm. Another Gallup poll was taken in October of 2014 asking if a change was needed in gun control laws. Forty-seven percent of Americans called for stricter gun laws, 14 percent said they think the laws need to be even less strict, 38 percent believe the laws are sufficient the way they are now, and only 1 percent had no opinion on gun laws.

In the state of Iowa, you must have a permit to use a firearm. According to you need a permit to purchase a handgun, and a permit to carry your handgun. However, no permit is needed to purchase a rifle or shotgun. Neither rifles, shotguns, nor handguns need to be registered, and you do not need a permit to carry a rifle or shotgun.

In my personal opinion, I believe it is time for stricter gun laws. Why does it take violence and death for people to finally realize guns are dangerous? I understand the United States Constitution grants us our rights as American citizens to bear arms and protect our life, liberty and pursuit of the American dream. However, I believe our founding fathers would never have even dreamed of the complexity the modern firearm has achieved. Please keep in mind in the times the constitution was written the deadliest weapon took a minute or more to reload, and the accuracy of these guns were no where near as accurate as they are today. I believe as technology evolves and becomes more sophisticated, the laws need to be updated to correspond. Utilizing your rights as a free American citizen is a luxury we all have. With this freedom, comes a greater responsibility and a call to action.

Guns have become more easily accessible to American citizens. If you go through the proper channels and background checks to acquire a firearm, then by all means, own a gun. The issue falls with less responsible gun owners. Those gun owners who do not acquire their weapons in a legal or ethical way. Another issue has to do with firearms in the home of more mentally unstable people. For example, On Dec. 14, 2012, 20 children and six adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, when a young, mentally unstable man, stole his mothers gun and went on a murderous rampage. As it turns out, the shooter, Adam Lanza, had murdered his own mother, Nancy Lanza, earlier that day in their home.

I believe in order to own a gun, a background check of everyone living in your home is required. It is your duty as an American citizen to be responsible with a deadly firearm. If you cannot insure the mental health of all of the people in your home, then you should not be allowed to own a gun. This not only protects others, but it also protects yourself. If it seems to be too much of a hassle and you do not want to go through all of these steps than you are not responsible enough to own a gun. It takes responsible citizens to change things. I believe this idea pairs well with the commonly shared term, “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” This is extremely true. That is why stricter gun laws and background check laws need to be put into place. If a person wants to own a handgun, they need to understand the massive responsibility that accompanies owning a gun. Owning a gun safe is sometimes not even enough.

I believe in the rights of American citizens. I believe people should be able to own fire arms. Stricter gun laws are needed however, to keep firearms out of the hands of unstable people who are not fit to use them responsibly. Until Americans are ready to step up and take responsibility as gun owners, the violence will continue. As long as no action is taken by congress, unstable people will continue harming others and the cycle will continue. It takes responsible citizens to make a change and help end this new theme of violence and death.