The Gun Control Debate: More to it Than Meets the Eye

Nigus Getahun, J1 Staff Writer

A friend of mine once said, “People used to march to get their rights, now we march to get our rights and other people’s rights taken away.”

Gun control has been the most controversial issue by far this year, and it still is. The thing is, no matter how many guns we take away or how many laws we enforce, it won’t reduce crime, violent crime, or even, for the most part gun crime.”  If you are well-versed in the issue, you’re thinking “But I heard that  worked in Australia” or “We don’t need automatic/semi-auto rifles to defend ourselves.” Well, let me explain.  

Illinois, California, New Jersey,  and Washington, D.C have the strongest and strictest gun laws in the nation, and, interestingly, have the the most gun deaths in the nation as well, According to a 2016 CDC’ National Center for Health Statistic.

What this shows is that anyone with a motive to kill  people will find a way. A gun is an inanimate object just like knife, car, or a chair.  The United Kingdom’s gun ban is a good example. Sofia Petkar of the London based The Sun newspaper writes,Met Police records show 37, 443 recorded knife offences and 6,694 recorded gun offences across the UK in the year up to September 2017. In London, the problem was even more pronounced than the rest of the country, with 12,980 knife crimes taking place in the capital – 2,452 more than the equivalent year.” Now the London mayor is on his way of passing bans on carrying knives.

But I digress; time to get back to the real focus: Australia.  In recent months, the argument that gun control worked in Australia is simply incorrect. Yes, Australia’s gun ban, which went into effect in 1996, had barely any effect on its gun homicide rate. Before the ban, the  gun homicide rate in Australia was very, very low and already on the decline. According to a 2008 statistic from Australian Institute of Criminology, the rate was already below 2.0 per 100,000, and it was decreasing. While it is true that the nation  has experienced a decline in the homicide rate, this fails to correlate with their extreme gun control measure of buying back firearms and tightening rules on gun ownership

Another factor to consider when bringing up the safety of Australia is the  geographical factor, Australia is an island. There is no other country around it, which makes it easy to control and regulate things like drugs and guns. In the United States, there is both a northern and southern border, which – if you’ve paid attention to the news at all – has been described as porous and flooded with guns, gangs and drugs. The truth is, America is no Australia, and what is often praised about the gun laws in Australia is not entirely accurate and not applicable to the United States.

Now on to the complex discussion that is assault rifles. The common refrain from gun control advocates is, “Why would anyone need an assault rifle?” An important point of clarification is that the AR-15, the gun used in the Florida school and Las Vegas shootings, is not an assault rifle. It’s a semi-automatic like most rifles and handguns.

Assault rifles are practically illegal and are not easy to acquire in the US. According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, in order to acquire an assault rifle you need to pay a tax of $200, fill out a lengthy application to register your gun with the federal government, submit photographs, submit passport photos, get your chief law enforcement official to sign your application, then wait for the results of your background check to come back.

Sure you can go ahead and ban the AR-15, but there are literally hundreds of different weapons with similar features and purchasing requirements identical to it. How about banning bump stocks? I’m fine with that. How about extending the waiting period? I’m also fine with that. A motive to outlaw and strip citizens of their right to self preserve? That I do not agree with.

Ultimately, this goes back to my earlier point that anyone with a motive of killing someone will find a way to do so. The recent van attack in Toronto that left 10 people dead is a perfect example. After this tragedy there was no call for a ban on vans or legislation offered to regulate them more. No one refers to them as assault vans. No one argues that  the founding fathers never intended for anyone to have an “assault car”, and nowhere in the Constitution does it guarantee one’s right to own a car.