Demand for stricter gun laws keeps Americans divided when dealing with gun ownership laws

Victoria Miller, Opinions Editor

Gun control has been a very hot topic in recent years. With shootings in shopping malls, movie theaters, universities and schools, many Americans are asking for laws that will implement some new form of gun control. The problem with these laws is the potential for infringing on our second amendment rights, and that is why America is torn over the question of gun control.

The most recent shooting tragedy that has Americans talking about gun control happened Aug. 26 when a reporter and cameraman were shot and killed on live television by a former coworker. The father of the slain reporter, Andy Parker, can be seen on various media outlets, directly asking the president and the nation in general to do “something about crazy people getting guns.” This is where my mind begins to fill with feelings and questions of unease.

Parker wants something done about crazy people getting guns presumably by stricter and more extensive background checks, but what does this really mean? In this case, the shooter passed a background check when he legally purchased the gun he used to kill this reporter and cameraman because he had no criminal record.

So what will be the defining points on what makes someone crazy? Will this categorization of crazy only be reserved for anyone who has a clear psychotic diagnosis and outstanding incidents on their record to match it? Or does the range of this category extend to someone who occasionally sees a psychologist for signs of depression and anxiety? How about returning veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. Should they be considered crazy an unable to protect themselves with a firearm because they have a mental disorder?

Also, are these extensive background checks even constitutional? The right to protect ourselves with firearms is one of our most basic rights. Some think it’s necessary to give up our rights in order to be protected by law, but we have these rights so we can protect ourselves. In England, guns are banned completely. Instead of this law having the desired effect of reducing homicides and other crimes, it only increased the amount of crimes and homicides happening with other weapons, such as knives.

Another problem with preventing a larger group of Americans from purchasing firearms is the fact that guns are available illegally as well. Won’t this only give business to gangs and cartels? If someone is determined to get their hands on a firearm, they will eventually.

In the Sandy Hook shooting (arguably the most tragic shooting case in recent times) the shooter, Adam Lanza, stole his mother’s guns. Lanza’s mother legally purchased these guns. Lanza sidestepped the law, and there will always be people who sidestep the law. So these suggested laws of more intensive background checks would have no effect with similar cases.

Until the new criteria for who will qualify for gun ownership is clarified, these unnerving questions will continue to circulate in the minds of Americans scared for the existence of their rights, like myself.