Stricter gun control needed
In light of the recent shooting at Chardon High School in Ohio, everyone has perfectly clear 20/20 hindsight. The boy needed help and all of his Facebook posts point to his loneliness and depression. People claim that the school should have recognized his troubles earlier on and helped him overcome his issues. In the end, however, no one can ever predict such tragedies, nor identify the students who will do them. Witnesses say that the boy was targeting a specific group of kids, including a teen that his ex-girlfriend was now dating. This makes it seem like a rather pointed attack, and his actions deliberate. In this case, he would have had to have planned out where to find or purchase the handgun. While we do have a constitutional right to bear arms, in light of this tragedy and others similar to it, the argument can be made that there should be tighter regulations on how those guns are purchased and what can be done with them.
The guidelines for purchasing a new gun today are, from the point of view of the customer, that one walks into the store, picks out a gun, and comes back after the store after the proper documents have been processed/approved. The dealer must ask for a photo ID and for the purchaser to fill out form 4473, which is kept on file at the store permanently. Depending on the state, the store may ask for other personal information. Some require purchasing firearm locks, proving that the customer owns a gun safe, or requiring that the customer pass a test before they are authorized to purchase. Many of these regulations seem very levelheaded and logical, but a few requirements, such as taking mandatory gun handling and safety classes, undergoing a psych evaluation, or acknowledging any children or teens that would be in contact of the weapon, should also be considered as new policies.
These laws, however, only apply to the licensed, store-to-customer sale of new and used guns. They do not apply to the personal/private sale of a gun between two people. This is a serious issue that needs to be addressed as guns could pass from a cleared person to one who has not been approved to use it. While there are papers transferred that are involved with ownership, the same regulations and authentication necessary for/in public sales should be enacted in private sales. Some people may argue that such government regulation on private affairs would infringe upon citizens rights, not to mention be added hassle for those who are well intentioned, but as we have seen in the case of past school shootings, guns in the wrong hands, without the proper clearance, can be deadly. Think about what would have happened if it were your brother or sister who had been targeted, or our campus that had been attacked.
Rules on their use detract from the “wild West” mentality of the United States, but times have changed since the cowboy needed a gun to protect himself on the frontier and hunt his food. Nowadays, we have grocery stores and significantly less wild-animal encounters. Americans’ rights to own, carry or purchase firearms should not be taken away, it just needs to be retailored to this day and age. Using computer technology and communication, firearms could be more easily monitored: it’s as easy as putting information into the computer that can be logged by a government database. But, above all the shouting for change or against it, our most immediate thoughts and prayers should be for the families of the victims of the Chardon school shooting.