Opinion

Student makes sense of gun control

You look both ways when you cross the street. You stop at a red light, even if there are no cars crossing the intersection. You stay on the road and do not cross into fields or backyards. You have to pass a test and prove you are a good enough drive to be allowed behind the wheel of a vehicle.

Car manufacturers have to follow certain laws to make their product safe to prevent accidents and provide the most safety possible in case an accident occurs. All of these laws regulate the freedom you have to drive wherever you want with whatever vehicle you want. Do drivers feel that their freedom is being taken away for the sake of safety? No, they do not.

This is why I am so confused about the insistence of some guns-rights activists about opposing a database of firearms and/or firearms owners. The creation of such a list would not halt gun sales, nor would it necessarily make it harder for people to buy guns. What it would do is give authorities a quick and efficient way to fight against illegal gun dealers and track down guns used in shootings. Also, gun-owners would be able to make a clear case about exactly what firearms they have, how they use their guns, and they would also have proof they are not part of the firearms black market.

If there was a national registration of firearms, gun-owners would have a greater responsibility for their firearms, but I believe there would also be a greater level of trust. We trust that the person who cut us off on our way to church is not a crazy person out to ruin everyone’s day and cause an accident (though I know I’ve muttered some of those things in a fit of internal road-rage). We believe they took driver’s education and are worried about getting a ticket or causing an accident. We also know we can make a call to the police if someone really is driving erratically and an officer will come and address the situation or even look up the make, model and maybe even license-plate. Why would it be a bad thing to have similar expectations of each other dealing with firearms?

Is it possible that people buying guns would have to fill out more paperwork and wait longer to get their gun? Maybe. But would that be worth stopping or at least challenging the firearms black market? Would it be worth taking guns out of the hands of gang-members and criminals? This is right about where people bring up the quote about giving up freedoms for safety.

First of all, that is not necessarily true, as the example used above shows. Benjamin Franklin, the man who originally made the argument, is awesome but his statement is not an all-knowing quote of freedom and safety. I think this is obvious by the use of the quote of liberals and conservatives, depending on their personal agendas.

Second of all, a national registry does not take away any freedoms. It makes people aware and legally accountable for the responsibility gun owners already have. If you own or operate a potentially deadly piece of machinery, be it a vehicle or a firearm, you are responsible for anything that happens with that piece of machinery. You are responsible for people’s lives.