Gun Control, Please.

December 17, 2012 · 32 comments

I can’t think about the devastating tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School without tearing up. Working in a school makes the shooting so real, and I absolutely cannot imagine what I would do if I were in the situation. The stories of teachers my age giving their lives to shield their students gives me the chills.

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The day of the shooting was the day after my surgery, so I was pretty out of it and a little delayed in my mourning. My heart goes out to all affected by the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

But now, I’d like to take action. What can I do to help this? What can be done to ensure this doesn’t keep happening? Maybe I can be a part of a (hopeful) change.

I realize we all have our different political views. Many conservatives I know urged their Facebook friends to not politicize this tragedy, but to be honest, I don’t know how else to prevent this from happening.

[Read this: Nine Facts About Guns And Mass Shootings in the United States]

Now, I’m going to quote an e-mail I received.

“As a citizen and constituent of this great country, I am asking that you take a firm stand and make a positive change by restricting access to guns and saving lives. I don’t have a gun. I don’t want a gun. I don’t need a gun. [Sometimes,] guns always wind up in the hands of people [who choose to] use them irresponsibly and dangerously.”

I personally feel there are plenty of other ways to defend myself

(WHADDAUP, WASP SPRAY?).

Yeah. I have a can of wasp spray beside my bed. It’s the high-range pepper spray. Guns terrify me, and I see no reason for my crazy self to own one. I’ll learn to be a knife thrower. I’ll add “learning to defensively shoot a bow and arrow” to my 2013 Resolutions.

I hear the argument “Guns don’t kill; people kill” all the time, but I believe a lot of tragedies could be prevented if we worked harder to keep guns out of the wrong hands.

If you feel me, I encourage you to sign this petition and join the movement for a reevaluation of our gun control laws in the U.S.:

http://signon.org/sign/gun-control-now-1?source=s.em.mt&r_by=6560479

And if you don’t, we can still be friends. I have lots of friends who are anti-gun control, too, I promise. But I hope the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut has perhaps made you reevaluate the the way you think about gun control. Did you see that Joe Scarborough, a conservative Republican who received the NRA’s highest ratings over four terms in Congress, has changed his mind on gun control?

Just do me a favor. Think about it.

I know this isn’t just about gun control. But this could be a way to prevent this from happening in the future. Therefore, in my opinion, it’s something worth talking about.

 

EDITED TO ADD: I completely agree that mental health and the way we make treatment accessible to these people is just as important as gun control — quite possibly more so. I should have originally noted this. If there was a petition I could sign for that, I most definitely would. I do, however, feel that gun control can still help prevent things like this from happening, which is why I passed on this link for the petition.

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 alyssa - life a la wife December 17, 2012 at 2:35 pm

I’m conservative but I am on the same page as you. That’s why I think some people say don’t politicize this.
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2 Amy December 17, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Thanks for sharing this info. I’m an elementary school teacher, and have spent hours thinking about how this event would effect my school. It’s just so devastating.

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3 julie December 17, 2012 at 2:44 pm

thank you for not being afraid to take a stand on this.

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4 mm December 17, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Is “gun control” the answer? It may be part of the answer, but I do not believe it is the complete answer.

While in theory I agree that perhaps it should be more difficult for people to obtain guns, I cringe at the blanket term “gun control”, or anything that limits my personal, constitutionally guaranteed rights. I would need to know more details about what that means to the legislators before I could express my full support. The number one weapon used in homicides is a baseball bat, but nobody is clamoring for controlling the sale and use of baseball bats… I also believe that people who want to kill people are going to find a way to do it, although perhaps not on such a grand “massacre” scale.

I personally think that an even more important discussion is one around effective, more accessible treatment for mental illness. Here is a thought-provoking article on this topic (at least for me) that I have read over the weekend: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/16/i-am-adam-lanzas-mother-mental-illness-conversation_n_2311009.html

I’ve also seen arguments this past weekend over what role media hype plays in the mindset of these people – people who want to achieve fame or notoriety in the process. While I don’t know if that is true, it is definitely an interesting point of view.

To frame the context of my opinion, I currently live in Alaska – the only state where you can still buy guns in Wal-Mart and carry them openly anywhere. I often see people in the grocery store, gas station, etc… with a gun on their hip. Prior to moving to Alaska we did not own guns (even though we are Texans ;) ). We now have 3. I have learned to shoot them responsibly, with accuracy, and really enjoy target shooting, skeet shooting and biathlons. It is also very important for personal safety from wildlife here. People where I live regularly encounter bears on the hiking trails near my house, and wandering down the streets in our neighborhoods. Even then, shooting at an animal would be a LAST resort to save a human life… As a gun owner, I feel it is my responsibility to safely handle and securely store my weapons as well as keep them out of the hands of people who would misuse them. It would be my responsibility to teach my (future) children to respect guns AND even more importantly, human life. There are WAY more responsible gun owners than otherwise…and I don’t necessarily think punishing those people is going to be an effective means to stopping these types of incidents. But I do think there needs to continue to be various discussions on how these atrocities can be prevented.
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5 Sana December 17, 2012 at 2:56 pm

Sigh. I think regardless of political views, we can all come together and realize that unless we make some changes terrible things like this will continue to happen.

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6 Jessie December 17, 2012 at 3:24 pm

I loved this, Alyssa and I signed the petition! I agree with you 100% :)
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7 Becki December 17, 2012 at 3:42 pm

I lean conservative on many issues but also tend to be very moderate on other issues. Regarding gun control, I agree with those that are for stronger laws and more restrictions. However, I do not think it’s fair to call out “conservatives” as you have done here. I do not have a gun nor would I ever want one. Perhaps, you shouldn’t be so quick to assume that conservative-mined people disagree with your position. Honestly, it’s a little bit offensive.

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8 Theresa December 17, 2012 at 4:31 pm

I agree it is something that needs to be thought about/discussed. However, does it really need to be brought up 3 days after a horrific massacre? To me, that’s disrespectful. Why can’t we all be allowed time to mourn and grieve before having these issues thrown in our faces?

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9 Kaitlyn @Keeping Up with Kaitlyn December 17, 2012 at 4:45 pm

I appreciate your viewpoint and the other peoples comments and viewpoints as well. Gun control is a touchy topic and I think you addressed it in a manner that was not judgmental or accusatory.

As the daughter & sister of police officers my views on this are very different. While I do believe there need to be some laws on gun control, I don’t believe taking guns away completely is the right answer either. I will say that I agree with the statement that “guns do not kill people, people kill people.” The Newtown shooting was a horrible, devastating tragedy and I won’t wish anything like that on my worst enemy.

I think that the bigger issue here is about mental illness and the need for increased help and treatment. Regardless, it will be interesting to see what legislation arises from this.
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10 Brandi December 17, 2012 at 4:49 pm

Thanks for this. I think gun control is a good place to start though I hope that the issue of mental health is explored as well. I dont think there is any need for semi automatic assault rifles (meant for killing people) and I’d hope that gun enthusiasts would agree. We need to do something and I believe this is a good place to start. I also dont think that we should completely get rid of guns because there are responsible owners but I also dont think that you should be able to walk into KMart and buy one. Arming everyone is not the answer. Even highly trained police officers have killed innocent people in the chaos. We need real change.

This was an interesting video from Joe Scarborough: http://politicalwire.com/archives/2012/12/17/scarborough_makes_compelling_case_for_change.html

And this is coming from someone who went to Virginia Tech. When are things going to change?
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11 Emily @ Perfection Isn't Happy December 17, 2012 at 5:13 pm

Guns scare me too. I work in an elementary school, so going to work today was very strange and sad. We had a morning meeting about how to talk about the situation with the students. It’s just terrible.
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12 Hannah J December 17, 2012 at 5:30 pm

Timothy McVeigh didn’t need a gun to kill 168 people, including 19 children. If someone wants to harm others for whatever reason, they will find a way. Gun control is not the answer. Guns (and other weapons for that matter) will always end up in the hands of the wrong people whether they acquire them legally or not. Last Friday, 22 children were slashed with a knife by a man in China (which has extremely strict gun laws). None of the children were killed but have they suffered and been traumatized? Yes. It doesn’t take a gun to inflict harm on people. Nothing will change unless we help those suffering from mental illness BEFORE they act and stop treating them like outcasts. Until we decide to take mental health seriously, these horrendous things are going to keep happening no matter how many guns, Bibles, or prisons we add or subtract.

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13 Melissa December 17, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Thank you for writing this. I think it’s important to not be afraid to take a stand on this issue, and to be willing to compromise with others to make our everyday trips a little bit safer. Just days before this there was a shooting at a mall I go to all the time (in Oregon), and it terrifies me that it is so easy for individuals to get military-grade weapons. Hopefully we can work together to improve this situation.
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14 Brittany (healthy slice of life) December 17, 2012 at 6:28 pm

I love you and think it is important to open discussion on how to prevent future tragedies. You’ve done a great job at expressing your point I view. I don’t happen to agree that gun control is the answer, for many reasons, but I love that people are coming together to talk about important issues, like guns, mental health and the future of our country.
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15 Amber K December 17, 2012 at 7:50 pm

I think the problem with everyone talking about gun control is that so few also mention that we need to start paying attention to the mental health of ourselves and our loved ones. We need to put into place affordable mental health options for those that need it. And we need to get rid of the stigma surrounding mental health issues so that people aren’t afraid to get help in the first place.
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16 Dorsa @ Running Thoughts December 18, 2012 at 9:11 am

I agree with you on this 100%. After being involved in the shootings at Virginia Tech my senior year of college.. This really hits close to home, and I am sick of it… I also want to add that I have a bone to pick with the media… I know we want to all be informed on what’s going on, but reporters need boundaries.. they should not be interviewing six year olds for information.

I know that when we were grieving, all we wanted was the media to go away and let us grieve with our friends and family. I had a few cameras shoved in my face during that time and I know that for me personally it was too much.

okay sorry I will step off my soap box now.
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17 Corey @ When We Wander December 18, 2012 at 9:49 am

Hi Alyssa,

Thanks for bringing attention to this. I live in Newtown. And I attended Sandy Hook Elementary. If you, or anyone, is interested in making donations, this page …

https://www.facebook.com/NewtownMemorialFund?ref=stream

is a good place to start. As for all the talks of gun control and all that, I really haven’t had a moment to think about it all. My town’s priority is comforting the families, and each other right now.

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18 Sarah December 19, 2012 at 12:48 pm

I would just like to quietly say that I too am a conservative. I cherish my second amendment rights. While I personally don’t own a gun (under 18 LOL), it gives me great comfort knowing that in the case of an emergency, it is my right. Please note that 80% of guns used in such crimes are STOLEN- which means that the users are not the legal owners. Also in this case, the murderer stole it from his mother! I feel that it is unfair that law abiding citizens who own guns and use them responsibly are always antagonized by our media. My neighbors, family, friends, all own guns. Not one of them would use it but to protect their family- isn’t that fair? In terms of gun control, I would be more than willing to have more extensive background checks. But I think this issue goes far beyond guns, but into the very heart of our society. We are no longer the America we used to be. Our families are less stable, our society more immoral. We no longer have the principles we used to have. When we have dysfunction like this, how can we not expect the worst to happen? Children are no longer taught what is right and are influenced by the garbage they see on line and on TV. Sure, lets talk about guns…but how about going to the real cause? I only hope that we as a nation will see our immorality. Just think, we had WAY less of these problems back when we espoused traditional values. Just my two cents :)

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19 Alli December 19, 2012 at 3:03 pm

I come from a gun owning family and I enjoy going to the range every once in a while and going shooting, but I FIRMLY believe that more needs to be done to control the distribution of guns to those who should not be in possession. In addition, assault rifles are not necessary. No one needs an assault rifle for protection. You can leave them available at a range for rental for shooting there, but there is no reason anyone needs to own one.

Thanks for posting this, Alyssa!

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20 Meredith December 24, 2012 at 9:07 pm

I am so happy that you took a stance on this. I agree with you 100% that mental health is a huge issue (I am a psychology major, after all). I think that there definitely has to be stricter gun control laws. I will compromise with those that feel they have the right to have guns: if having a gun in your house will make you feel safe, then you should be able to own one. But no one needs an a military level firearm in their house; the goal of the gun should be to protect yourself until police can arrive, not kill someone. As for the argument that people kill people…yes they do, but they can kill a lot more and faster with guns. Having stricter gun control laws will not limit people’s constitutional rights.

Thanks, Alyssa!

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