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The Elephant In The Room: Gun Control and A Little Bit of Mental Illness

todayOctober 19, 2015 7

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Kalie Souknary
Web Content Contributor

*KTSW consists of and respects varying opinions within its staff. Opinion articles do not reflect the opinion of KTSW as a whole.

shooting range
Photo by Emily Parma

As many of you know, there have been quite a few school shootings lately. We know this is an issue in the U.S. and yet no one really wants to talk about it. Well, today I was forced to, but that honestly wasn’t a bad thing seeing as how it led to a topic I could cover. This morning in my Business Law class, my professor split us up on two sides of the room. One side was the “Pro Second Amendment” side and the other was the “Pro Gun Control” side. Well, we live in Texas, so naturally the majority of us were on the right side of the room, the pro second amendment side. The rest, the seven people for gun control, were on the left side.

The first problem right off the bat was that there was no in between. There was no way we could choose a medium, it was just one or the other. So I chose the Pro Second Amendment side, but my left-leaning views left me conflicted because as someone who like compromise, I could argue for both sides… and so could a lot of others on my side of the room.

Our job was to come up with a legislation for our argument on why we choose pro second amendment or why we choose stricter gun control laws. And this is where my side of the room had a hard time. But these were our points.

1.) Mental Illness

When people say mental illness isn’t taken seriously enough, the whole room can agree. Mental illness isn’t covered by insurance and is not taken near seriously enough in the U.S. We believe that when pursuing a concealed handgun license, you should be forced to have your mental history checked for history of mental illness. However, this does violate the fundamental right of privacy, so at what point do we tell our citizens, “You need to choose what’s more important then- your right to privacy or your right to own a gun?” The only issue we saw was what qualifies as “mentally ill” and how ill would you have to be denied the right to own a gun?

2.) Open Carry

Open carry was a huge issue in this argument. Some people who were for gun control said that no one needs a gun. But here’s the problem: criminals don’t follow laws. Whether they’re allowed to have a gun or not, if they want one, they will find one. There’s plenty of black markets that will sell to you illegally. So here is the issue:

a.) If we ban guns, who will protect innocent people from the people who STILL have guns? (ie. small children, like the ones from Newtown Elementary)

When I walk into a courthouse, there are always metal detectors that I have to walk through in order to continue into the office areas. Obviously this is to protect the officials and figures of the city, so why don’t we have this in every school? Every building? Every entrance? (This brings me to Item 3, Cost of Security.)

b.) Whether we ban guns or we allow open carry, nothing is stopping a criminal from walking up to, let’s say, a campus and shooting it up.

So to put things in perspective, let’s say that we have Bob, the criminal. He wants to go to a campus and shoot it up. There’s Campus A and Campus B. Campus A is unarmed and vulnerable. They do not allow campus carry. Campus B is armed and ready for any intruder. Which campus does Bob go into? Campus A, where his chances of someone shooting back are less likely? Or Campus B, where if he even dares to intrude, he has a better chance of being shot for his efforts of killing innocent people? I feel that although we had a valid argument for this one, a good point that the other team made was “How would authorities be able to tell which guy was the shooter if everyone has a gun?” This was something we couldn’t counter argue right off our feet.

3.) Cost of Security

A big point that was made when we brought up metal detectors for schools was who would be paying for the cost of security. Again, we would have to choose: Is money more important than our safety? Our suggestion was a taxation on every citizen. Whether you’re pro second amendment or pro gun control, this wouldn’t be a bad idea. Regular everyday citizens are just as important as city officials and should be treated as so. And if we are so pro second amendment, we should be willing to accept the responsibility that comes with it.

4.) The process of receiving a Concealed Handgun License (CHL).

The process of receiving a CHL is so easy, it only takes an afternoon. Neither side of the room agreed that it was enough time to learn the ins and outs of owning and using a gun. We believe that the process of getting your CHL should be the length of getting your drivers’ license. If we can all think back, getting your drivers license was so hard. You have to go through a class, get your permit, and then finally be tested for your license. Guns can be just as dangerous as cars, so why is the process so much shorter? Why don’t we have required classes and steps to receiving a gun?

Clearly there are many technicalities that would need to be looked at in order for something to change, whether you’re pro second amendment or you’re pro gun control. What we need to do for sure is stop ignoring the fact that we have a problem and that all starts with us, so register to vote today!

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