My father was a gun owner. He always instilled in me that a knowledge of guns would go much farther than a fear of them. He raised me to learn to shoot on a Browning Semi-Automatic .22 caliber long rifle and a Czech-made 9mm handgun. These are common weapons. A “22” as the .22 caliber is called has slightly more damage power than your average BB gun. A Czech-made 9mm is considered one of the best made modern handguns that one can own.
As an adult, I grew into a fascination with the military and its history, and decided to make a career out of it. In my first major internship with the United States Coast Guard at the Coast Guard Academy, I was exposed to gunner’s mates, who are in charge of caring and keeping all of the weapons for the branch. I was exposed to years of history and mechanical feats that have left their mark on me.
While many Second Amendment activists will cite the UK and Germany as places where gun reform has failed, I think we should look at home and look at our long, proud history of gun ownership. While I believe there could be reform – say stricter laws for owning a high powered assault rifle – it’s hardly fair to take away guns all together.
Approximately .00735 percent of Americans will commit a murder in their lifetime. Roughly 47 percent of Americans are gun owners – 55 percent that identify as Republican and 40 percent as Democrats. While mass shootings, like those at Ft. Hood, Texas and at schools across the country, are something to be looked at, the issue at hand is not gun ownership. The issue at hand is mental health counseling and early intervention in the life of someone who could become homicidal. When a person wants to hurt others on a large scale, like Columbine or Sandy Hook, they are going to do it whether or not their guns are legally registered, whether or not they own the guns. The key to ended murders like this is to engaged those most at risk or those showing signs in counseling of some form, in an effort to save lives.
In the case of more urban, inner-city shootings, the answer is, again, not gun control laws. Whether or not guns are legal, criminals will still have them thanks to a well-established black market. One solution is to foster confidence in the police and community leaders to open a dialogue about what the city and its youth need. This can be proven to work by Philidelphia’s PhillyRising Program, which saw a drop in crime. Involving the whole community in this program as well, and hoping for an eyes-and-ears approach from the people of the city to report crimes that would otherwise go unnoticed, to keep drug dealers and other lower-level offenders off the street, hoping to curb homicidal violence.
While the interpretation of the Second Amendement, as well as the entire Bill of Rights, may need to change over time, there is no doubt to me that Americans should have access to guns in their home. Hunting, trap and skeet shooting, and target shooting are three popular sports among all sorts of Americans, whether rural, suburban, or urban. While guns can hurt, education can help. Taking away guns will simply lead to other types of violence that can be just as deadly. Education and fostering hope can be a better solution in an effort for a safer America.