Columnist: We need more common sense in gun control debate

By: Chris Zimmer – Columnist, Senior

The so-called “gun control issue” is one of the most debated subjects right now, whether you’re talking about fighting terrorism, public health or even commerce. Recent tragedies have polarized our country, and we are forced to pick a side. Should we continue protecting our rights to own and carry firearms, or pass legislature in favor of restricting it? We first need a dose of common sense before even discussing it.

So many outlandish things have been said from the current Democrat and Republican potential presidential candidates. Here are my top five favorite claims in no particular order.

jebbushGov. Jeb Bush claimed three months ago that 99.999% of current gun owners should keep their guns in defense of the Second Amendment being applicable to all citizens.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 1 out of every 5 adults living in the U.S. experience a mental illness in a given year, and 1 out of every 25 have episodes which substantially interfere or limits major life activities. It also says 20 million citizens have substance disorders. Here’s my question for Bush: Do we really want someone with severe depression to be able to
                                                        purchase their ticket to suicide? Do we really a drug addict to be able to own or
                                                        carry a gun?

hilHillary Clinton has flip-flopped on a plethora of issues over the years, but she reaffirmed her stance on not protecting firearm manufacturers from law suits in October.

This issue finds its roots in the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which President George W. Bush signed into law in October 2005. The law protects firearm dealers and manufactures from being held liable for crimes committed with their products, and also holds them accountable for defective products and negligence. We can’t scapegoat those who work in the firearms industry. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms and ammunition industry employed more than 260,000 people who had a $43 billion total economic impact, which happened to generate $5.8 billion in tax revenue. If we were allowed to file lawsuits, then businesses would be forced to buy more insurance in order to keep a budget and not decrease their total revenue. Clinton forgets the economic benefits of the Second Amendment, which seems weird because her paycheck depends on it, along with all those working government jobs.

marcoSen. Marco Rubio, in September, came out with his belief that criminals will ignore gun laws because they’re criminals.

I really have no idea what Sen. Rubio’s logic is on this one. The bottom line is the fact that if we start closing loopholes at gun shows and private dealers, any potential purchaser is going to have to fill out the Form 4473 FBI background check from a Federal Firearms License before they purchase a firearm, a law which is already in place.

                                                        Ignoring this solution is just making it worse.

sandersSen. Bernie Sanders is trying to make the argument for regional gun control by saying guns in Vermont are for hunting, but guns in Los Angeles [sic] are for killing.

I see the point Sanders is trying to make, but he is wrong here. Yes, guns are a part of our culture of sports, but people who live in urban areas need to be allowed to protect themselves as well. According to, the metropolitan areas of L.A., Chicago and New York City are the parts of our country with the most gun-related homicides, being largely gang-related. Someone riding the subway home or taking a walk in their neighborhood should be able to defend themselves, as well as their homes. You can’t blame the responsible gun owners for a small fraction of criminals.

trumpDonald Trump immediately addressed this issue when he kicked off his campaign this summer, by saying in an interview with AmmoLand Shooting Sports News, “Gun control does not reduce crime. It has consistently failed to stop violence.”

The truth of the matter, Mr. Trump, is that we don’t know if gun control would work because we haven’t really implemented it. It’s hard to make predictions of the outcome of legislature, but at least the issue is in the spotlight. Someone who is for gun control just connects the dots between current events such as mass shootings and causes of the tragedy. Just because you’re trying to make it harder for someone to get a gun doesn’t mean you can’t be patriotic, or not be able to adequately to defend yourself or your home.

On the flip side, we can’t predict if an increase in gun owners and carriers lowers crime, but it really does make me wonder: What if the students living in Irving Commons were legal gun owners? Could they have defended themselves from being the victims of an aggravated burglary? Could a female protect herself from the threat of sexual assault walking home late one night from the library? What about the mass shootings at Virginia Tech in 2007 and Umpqua Community College this fall? Could they have been stopped? I would tend to think so, and so do states such as Texas.

A bill signed into the law this summer will allow students and faculty members at public and private universities to carry concealed handguns into classrooms and residence halls and takes effect next August.

No matter what side you’re on in regards to the issue of our Second Amendment rights, you have to look at both the big picture as well as read between the lines. We all need some common sense whether you’re watching live TV coverage of a tragedy, reading statistics or listening to politicians speak. You have to take everything with a grain of salt, do a little research and make a stance.

Graphics by Online Editor-in-Chief Amanda Dee. Photo of former Gov. Jeb Bush speaking at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland by Gage Skidmore. Photo of Hillary Clinton in Hampton, North Carolina by Marc Nozell. Photo of Sen. Bernie Sanders at NYC Fundraiser by Michael Vadon. Photo of Sen. Marco Rubio at the 2013 Values Votes Summit by Jamelle Bouie. Photo of Donald Trump speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C. by Gage Skidmore.

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