Opinion: More Guns Create More Problems

The argument for owning a gun for safety is not valid in every case.

When I was in middle school, my mother, sister, and I almost became victims of gun violence when an enraged person came into our house and pointed a legally-owned gun at our heads.

We could have died that day.

In my classes and on social media, there have been heated debates after the Parkland shooting. Some people argue their 2nd Amendment rights are at stake.

From personal experience I believe owning a gun usually doesn’t keep people safe.

A recent poll by David Hemenway, Director of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, shows, “an overwhelming share of the scientists he polled, 84 percent, said that having a gun in the home increases the risk of suicide—which corresponds to scientific evidence on the subject.

Most scientists also agreed that a gun in the home increases the risk that a woman living in that home will be a victim of homicide, 72 percent, and that a gun in the home makes it a more dangerous place, 64 percent, rather than a safer place, 5 percent.”

I think people do deserve a right to own a weapon if they choose. However, I think regulations need to be more strict on those with a record of mental illness or domestic abuse. We need common sense regulations to keep people from being murdered at such an extreme rate.

Common sense meaning a ban on automatic rifles, and national background check regulations.

Not only this, but the argument that guns will keep people safe is not a universal argument.

People who are are not armed with a gun are still killed by the police, and at times they are armed but do not present a threat like Philando Castile who told the officer he was carrying and was still shot after reaching for his wallet.

Louise Dennard with Vox wrote about being a person of color who owns guns for safety, “I choose to own guns for self-defense. But that doesn’t automatically mean I’m safer when I’m armed — especially if I am stopped by police. Being a black gun owner comes with its own sets of risks and responsibilities.”

A lot of those responsibilities require a person to not wear their gun in public or even in their own backyard like Stephon Clark allegedly had last week.

Clark was recently killed because he fit a description of man police were looking for who was stealing cars. According to police, he held his phone and was considered a threat making them fear for their lives.

The Huffington Post reported that the Sacramento Police Department said officers believed Clark had advanced toward them while holding a gun, though police only found a cellphone on him after an exhaustive search.

A database published by the Washington Post titled, “Fatal Force” showed that three out of five of the people shot and killed by police were armed with a gun, while fewer than 1 in 10 were unarmed.

Still the amount of people killed in instances, even here in Oklahoma, which could have been avoided, is high with a police force meant to protect its citizens.  

For instance Magdiel Sanchez, a deaf man who was similarly shot and killed by police in Oklahoma City while holding an alleged weapon, or Terrence Crutcher who was on drugs and was also unarmed and shot by Betty Shelby and other officers who, “feared for their lives.”

Vox reported, that racial minorities made up about 37.4 percent of the general population in the US and 46.6 percent of armed and unarmed victims, but they made up 62.7 percent of unarmed people killed by police.

The night we were almost shot, the assailant got away and then the police arrived shouting explicit language and put me in handcuffs. At that time I could have been shot by the police, and there was a real possibility, if I fought to get away I could have been. Instead I stood stunned and didn’t move out of fear.

Since that day I have wondered: Had we owned a gun for protection, would they have taken us to jail or killed us? When I see people carrying guns I become fearful because I’ve seen firsthand what they can do.

That’s why we have to ensure people like the man that night don’t own guns, and to ensure those who have firearms are trained to handle a weapon so powerful. I understand people are afraid to lose their weapons, but if equitable regulations are put in place then those who are honest gun owners won’t have to worry.

If you’re afraid politicians cannot provide fair gun regulations then in November it’s our responsibility to vote for people who will listen to their constituents. Until then we should continue to peacefully protest until change takes form.

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