The topic of gun control has been everywhere since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut on December 14, 2012. It seems that there are only two camps: the pro-gun folks who heavily rely on the second amendment to back up their views; and the anti-gun people who challenge the saying, “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” But is this issue really that black and white?
What happened at Sandy Hook was not just about the wrong person having a gun. The shooter was mentally ill and possibly even psychotic, acting on the delusions in his head. If gun control were all we needed as a nation to keep citizens safe, then it would have happened a long time ago.
On January 16, 2013, President Obama released a plan called “Now Is the Time,” which would tighten up gun laws and make mental health services more available. Of course, without help from his constituents, the President’s plan won’t go anywhere. If people don’t help keep criminal and mental health history databases current, then they are basically useless. It’s up to us to help keep the nation’s citizens as safe as possible.
The President’s plan is very non-accusatory. He says that most people who own guns are law-abiding and that the second amendment gives everyone the right to bear arms. However, everyone doesn’t need to exercise that right. The “Now is the Time” plan consists of four points:
- Closing background check loopholes to keep guns out of dangerous hands;
- Banning military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and taking other common sense steps to reduce gun violence;
- Making schools safer, and
- Increasing access to mental health services.
The plan addresses what needs to be changed, even if it is a day late and a dollar short. The bottom line is that responsibility for these changes rests on us, the citizens of the United States. Without our cooperation, this plan will fail. It’s not about being pro- or anti-gun. It’s about wanting a safer nation as a whole for our children and grandchildren. That is the gray area between the second amendment and “guns kill people.”
It doesn’t matter which camp each citizen is in; what matters is that we all agree that we want the best and safest lives possible for our families and ourselves. No one on their deathbed says, “I wish I had bought more guns.” The most important thing, when you come right down to it, is family. No matter what situation a person lives in, how wealthy they are, or whether they are on welfare or not, family is always at the top of the life importance list. So, let’s quit arguing about guns and do what we can to prevent another Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech or Columbine. It’s not “us vs. them;” it’s just US.