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To Shoot, or Not to Shoot...

Personal Views on Gun Violence and Control

Man holding gun behind his back.

In the wake of the recent mass shooting in Florida, it’s left people searching for answers. We need solutions to a widespread issue that’s taken numerous amounts of innocent lives, and scarred many others forever. Whether you’ve been a victim or have been connected to a victim of crimes like these, we can all agree that something needs to be done about it.

Many people have different views on gun control. Some of the most common suggestions include, but are not limited to, eliminating guns, creating stricter laws, or some people even feel that more guns would help. More guns as in having more of a presence of guns in terms of defensive strategies, like law enforcement/armed guards in schools, etc. I feel the solution to this ongoing problem lies deeper than we may think.

Guns are very dangerous, but they don't fire themselves. It takes an individual to load, aim, and shoot the gun. Therefore, we need to keep the guns out of the hands of people who are not able to handle a gun responsibly. When a mass shooting of this magnitude occurs, it’s always because an individual was using the gun irresponsibly, and/or wasn’t thinking clearly and rationally (at least in the eyes of everyone else). But how would we determine whether an individual is responsible enough to handle a firearm?

As a start, we could perform psychiatric evaluations on anyone who is buying a gun or if they already own guns/weapons. Doing so will at least help to eliminate irresponsible gun ownership and hopefully prevent “accidents” from occurring in the future. Also, we need to study the presence of psychotropic medications in those said individuals. These types of medicines affect the brain, altering an individual's reality or way of thinking. There are numerous medications available to the public that alter an individual's state of mind. This may be why you hear families and friends of mass shooters always say that it was a shock, and that the individual "seemed just fine," until one day they do the unthinkable. There are numerous reasons for this, but some of the time it may just be side effects from the presence of medications, or withdrawal symptoms occurring from lack of medications.

Our country has faced many issues with the availability of prescription medications and how many of them affect the human brain, short and long term. Sometimes we aren’t fully aware of how a medication will affect an individual until years later, once sufficient amounts of research can be concluded. We don’t know how prescription drugs will affect us until it’s been taken for a long period of time. Could it be that pharmaceutical companies are creating prescription drugs that are inadvertently altering the minds of some individuals, leading them to do the most unthinkable things?

When you watch the news these days, they always seem to showcase extremely horrific events, and most people may wonder “who could do such a thing?” Well if an individual is on a psychotropic medication, it would definitely make an individual act “out of the ordinary,” especially if they are misusing it or their condition isn’t properly diagnosed. Most people may think that the cause could be street drugs, which is also very likely. But prescription medications used to treat bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, etc., are much stronger in terms of psychological effects. These types of medications need to be better controlled anyway.

In conclusion, we're obviously not going to be able to screen everyone buying or owning a gun, and it would most likely be difficult accessing medical records in regard to the HIPAA privacy act. Regardless, doing so may be a step in the right direction. Even if it prevents one more mass shooting from happening, it'll definitely be well worth it. So, instead of only blaming guns for the cause of gun violence, accidents, and mass shootings, we should dig deeper and find the root of this issue isn't just the weapons, but within the minds of the shooters themselves.

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