The necessity of gun regulation
By Natalie Serafini, Opinions Editor
Death rarely evokes a flippant attitude, but it seems gun-related deaths and injuries have become more and more of a blasé matter. We’re inundated with a plethora of stories about shots in the dark and near misses; it’s as if with the prevalence of these violent deaths, the only way to cope is to shrug and move on. President Barack Obama’s recent push to get guns away from dangerous people will hopefully limit the deaths that have become so embedded in the news. Some Americans defend their right to bear arms based on a constitutional amendment, and they clutch that right as tightly as they do their AK-47’s and RPG’s. For myself, I’m happy if the Wild West becomes less wild.
The Second Amendment right to bear arms presents a compelling argument, but its persuasiveness all depends on interpretation. The Second Amendment states that “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” One of the more significant terms in that constitutional right is the qualification of a “well regulated militia.” A militia is a military force that is organized for the purpose of ensuring the rights of the people. It is not every Tom, Dick, and Harry who needs a machine gun in order to feel safe. Not to mention that this amendment was made in a time when weapons were not as efficient or dangerous.
This isn’t to say that banning or regulating guns will cleanse the world of violence. Violent people cause violent crimes. On the same day that the gun massacre in Newtown occurred, there was a knifing massacre in Chengping. Yet even with that admission, just comparing the massacre in Newtown to that in Chengping shows an immense difference: in Chengping, 23 people were injured; in Newtown, 28 people died. There will always be violence, but perhaps with gun regulation there won’t be as many mortalities.
In the last year, a tremendous number of places have become synonymous with tragedy. The names “Aurora” and “Newtown” will most likely remain etched in the minds of those who heard or read news of the massacres. These deaths are cushioned between countless other gun-related deaths. Craig Allen Loughrey, a seven-year-old child who accompanied his father to a gun store, died when a gun went off accidentally. New York firefighters Michael Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka died as a result of sniper, William Spengler. Over the course of one violent October weekend in Chicago, five people were killed and 24 were wounded because of guns.
What concerns me is that Canada so frequently follows in the US’s footsteps. Perhaps it’s something I’ve become more conscious of as I’ve aged, but it seems both sides have issues which are gradually becoming more and more similar. Obama’s nudge for more gun regulation is a start, but there’s still a long uphill battle in the States against enthusiastic gun owners. There’s also the fact that gunshots have become like white noise. We may not have a debatable right to bear arms, but we still have gun problems in Vancouver. I hope—if Canada continues to traipse after the US—that we don’t adopt a blasé attitude towards guns, deaths, and violent crimes.