OPINION | Guns: An American phenomenon

KEATOR POLEMAN
Opinion Columnist

The rights and privileges outlined by our Constitution have been redefined and updated many times over the history of the United States. More often than not, these changes cause dissent among our fellow citizens. One of the most divisive of these is our right to bear arms.

A recent Pew Research poll shows nearly 50 percent of Americans view gun violence as “a very big problem” nationwide.

Recent gun-related acts force us to ask ourselves one question: What can we do to curb this violence?

As someone who grew up around guns, I understand the importance of using them safely and acting as a responsible gun owner. However, I also understand that without proper precautions, preventable attacks will continue. We must have common sense gun regulation.

While there are some who view gun regulation as a threat to take away people’s guns, there are many obstacles in place to prevent a systemic seizure. It would take a two-thirds vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate to pass an amendment for such an act to take place. However, it is highly unlikely that any politician would propose something that strict.

It is true that our constitutional rights are meant to limit the government; even so, we as citizens must also have our rights limited to a degree so our society may live in relative peace. While we have freedom of speech, for example, we cannot say or do whatever we want. It is only natural that our Second Amendment be limited in a way that pleases all sides in the debate.

USA Today reported Stephen Paddock, the Las Vegas shooter, bought 33 guns over the past year. This incident shows even those who own guns legally can commit crimes. It is essential that we have gun regulations across the nation.

By registering guns and limiting the type and number of guns one person is allowed to possess, there is the potential to prevent another widespread attack. It is obvious no law will fully prevent attacks, but it is important that we do whatever is constitutionally possible to limit them.

Law enforcement and government agencies such as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives should be held more accountable for their actions in not handling both illegal and potentially illegal gun ownership.

Gun violence has become too common to allow it to continue. We must do something to stop it.

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