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Gun Control

My Thoughts on Gun Control

There was recently a shooting at Mercy hospital in Chicago. I live in the suburbs, so this hit close to home. It also gave me a minor panic attack when I got an alert on my phone that there was a shooting at Chicago hospital and didn't say which one. Details are important and should be displayed on phone alerts. Anyway, as with most shootings, the topic of gun control came into play again. Living in a pro-gun house, a family member's immediate reaction was to ask me to get my concealed carry license. Believe me, with recent stories in the news, the thought has often crossed my mind. Honestly though, I don't feel safe carrying because I have seizures. I don't feel safe having guns in my house because I have seizures and a young child that lives with me. There's no reason for me, personally, to own a gun inside my house at this time. I've taken gun safety courses, I know how to operate a gun, I have my FOID card, and I love going to the shooting range. I am not a monster, I'm just someone who's explored their options and the legal ways in which to own and operate them. 

In my personal opinion, there's no great way for gun control. Banning guns would do nothing. Drugs are illegal and yet drug overdose deaths are at an all time high. It wouldn't stop people from buying guns, it would just stop law-abiding citizens from obtaining them. It would take away a sense of safety that it gives some owners. Also, I am a huge supporter of the second amendment. For those of you that don't know, (I was very surprised by the number of people that don't), the second amendment gives Americans the right to bear arms. Taking away the second amendment would be nightmarish. It would also stop law-abiding citizens from being able to protect themselves in emergency situations. Again, I'm a huge supporter of the right to bear arms, in the right situations. Guns are not just meant for protection either. Why would you stop someone who hunts from owning a firearm that they strictly use for hunting purposes? Hunting is a great sport and I believes gives us a sense of what it means to find and prepare your own food. Banning guns completely wouldn't just take away a sense of safety for law-abiding citizens, but it would also take away a sport that teaches many important life skills. My other point of this being that, at one point in time, Chicago had a hand-gun ban. In December 2012, a federal appellate court ruled that Illinois largely banning concealed carrying of firearms was unconstitutional. I must agree. Also, if you look closely at the statistics during the time of the ban, it didn't make much of a difference when it came to murders in the city. 

Ideally, we would instate more gun control. It's fairly easy to pass most requirements for a gun license. Most states require the following: a minimum age of eighteen or twenty-one, no felony convictions in any states, no domestic violence convictions, not subject of protection order, no convictions for assault or battery. While that's great that there are safety procedures in place, there really should be more requirements. We should make people have to pass a psychological test, take a gun safety course, and personally, I also think we should drug test anyone that applies for gun license. This would obviously cost a ton of money. Owning a gun is expensive enough and getting a program like this started would be great but cost entirely too much. There is a serious call for better background checks and mental stability checks when it comes to obtaining firearms. If anything, we should have to pass a psychological test and present proof that we took a gun safety course. At the bare minimum, I think that would make many people feel better. At the very least, we would know that anyone who legally possess a firearm is trained in it's safety and knows how to operate it in a safe manner. 

Obviously, this wouldn't solve all of the mass shootings in the United States. It's a nice theory and as much as I would love to think that my ideas are so bomb they could solve a major country problem, they can't and I can pretty much guarantee I'm not the first one to think of this idea. Again, looking closely at statistics, mass shootings may make headlines and be displayed all over the news, however, they only actually comprise two percent of gun deaths. Also, as I stated before, people are still going to obtain guns illegally. These implications wouldn't effect citizens who don't follow the law. However, I do believe that would help a bit. It would help us to feel more protected knowing that anyone who legally owns a gun, owns it for the right reasons. Personally, I would feel more comfortable walking around knowing that people are legally carrying with the intent to protect. I also believe that maybe more people would want to own a gun if they were better educated on the matter. Many people are afraid of guns, but if they were given a better understanding of guns, I feel that they aren't so scary. The guns themselves aren't scary. It's who is wielding the gun that is truly scary. 

Living near Chicago, many of my out-of-state friends assume that I have been shot at or held at gun point or am used to hearing gun shots all the time. I'm familiar with guns, but only in the most legal way. I'm familiar with guns because I was raised in a household where I was explained exactly why and when a gun should be used. I was explained and taught when and why I should avoid or turn in my guns; like when my seizures are at unusually high rates or when feeling depressed. I sincerely think that if people were more well-educated about gun safety it would help turn numbers. I will never forget the first time I shot a gun and the power you feel from it. After my first time at the gun range, my dad had a serious talk with me about the adrenaline rush and the power that you feel holding and shooting a firearm. That is a conversation I will never forget and comes to mind every time I even hold a gun. I very much plan to teach my daughter about gun safety and how to properly use a gun when she's old enough. I will have the exact same conversation with her that my dad had with me. The power and adrenaline is an amazing feeling. I would definitely describe it as a high, and as with anything that gives you a feeling like that, it is to be closely monitored. As with drinking, you shouldn't do it to try to make yourself feel better. You should avoid it when feeling sad or angry. One of the most important parts of safely owning a gun is making sure that you, yourself are healthy and in a good state of mind. Checking in with yourself regularly and making sure that at any sign or even brief thought of using a gun in any wrong way, you should give your guns either to a trusted family member with a gun safe, or to the local police. 

I know many people who are very against guns and see no reason for any normal citizen to own them. Obviously, I do not agree with them. I know many people who have guns, who think that everyone should own a firearm. I also disagree with them. Owning a gun is a right, yes, but it is also a privilege. I don't know that if increasing our laws on who can own a gun will decrease the number of deaths by guns, but I honestly think it's worth a shot. No pun intended.