Op-ed: Gun control from the perspective of a moderate

In wake of yet another mass shooting, America is again divided on the idea of gun control.  Citizens rush to take sides in a seemingly never-ending struggle between Liberal and Conservative viewpoints on exactly what gun control, and the Second Amendment should mean for America.  It is very clear something needs to be done and 80% of America agrees with me.  Time and time again, however, gun control legislation in any form dies on the House floor.  Because of the frenzy in the media and on the web, people tend to take rather extreme positions on gun control.  After discussions both in AP Government and other classes, I decided to do a bit of research to try and find the facts for myself.

When making their arguments, those advocating drastic measures often cite successes in Australia, a country somewhat comparable to ours, when making their point.  Australia instituted massive reform in 1996 following the Port Arthur shootings and has experienced a drastic decrease in gun related crime.  I used this as a starting point for my research, looking through the statistics on an Australian criminology website. I found that though the gun related crime rates have gone down drastically, the rate of homicides has gone down by only about 18% in 13 years.  This is the data neither side wants to admit because it shows that gun control does have an effect, but it is not as drastic as many of the anti-gun crowd want to you believe.

So what should be done? For one, by fighting tooth and nail against gun control, the Republican Party is actually hurting itself.  Their logic is that if they oppose every piece of gun control legislation that makes its way to congress, eventually we will end up with moderate regulations.  They couldn’t be more wrong. The more they oppose common sense things like background checks, the more Americans will start to support drastic gun control measures.  Republican congressmen need to get moderate measures passed while compromise is still on the table, to ensure that more drastic measures won’t be passed later when America finally grows sick of their nonsense.  Banning an inanimate object is not the answer to stop violence, but controlling who can own guns is.  This is a people problem plain and simple.

I believe that before buying your first firearm, you should have to pass a test -- much like driving -- on basic weapons safety as well as background checks and receive a license.  This will qualify you to purchase any handgun and long arm, including semiautomatics, with a magazine capacity of 30 rounds or less.  This will make a collector’s license possible and will open up the option of fully automatic weapons and greater ammo capacities to those who pass in depth background checks and a longer safety test.   Felons and the mentally ill should be prohibited from owning any firearms.

I know others may disagree, but let's discuss the real issues rather than emotional talking points.

This op-ed reflects the opinion of the listed author(s), and does not necessarily reflect the views of the LSNews.org editorial board, its advisor, or the Lampeter-Strasburg School District. Questions or concerns should be directed to Mr. Adam Zurn, advisor of LSNews.org, via email: lspioneernews@gmail.com

--Cole Crumpler, LSNews.org Columnist

Edited: BP

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