As an idealist, I prefer no guns, the world will be a safer place without it. However, as a person living in the U.S.A. where guns are owned by millions of people, it would be difficult and impossible to ban guns entirely. How will they collect guns from every gun owner? It’s simply unrealistic. And just as what happened with the 1920’s Alcohol Prohibition, banning guns will only make gun sales in the black market more profitable, and ultimately will worsen the situation. In addition, it will be very difficult to amend the “right to bear arms” in the Constitution, as already explained above by rabb. In poll studies done in America, when asked whether “you support gun ownership”, the majority will say “yes”, that it is their “right to bear arms” on the basis of self protection/self-defense (other reasons would be for hunting and sports related gun activities). (Source: "Up in Arms" by Nancy Gibbs
). Moreover, the NRA lobbyists are very influential in legislation making, as far as gun related policies are concerned.
I think it’s too late in America to ban guns, since it’s all over the place. Wether they are legalized or banned, I’m sure that criminals will always find a way to obtain guns. I’m not sure if gun control will really do much. The other extreme solution to this is to “arm every citizen”, so that we get the scenario of everyone vs. the criminal (although I doubt this will work, either. It will probably make the situation worse). (Source: "Up in Arms" by Nancy Gibbs
I think the best way is to impose some sort of gun control, but not absolute gun control. For example, eliminate as best as possible all assault firearms. I believe the guns used by the Virgina Tech gunman were semi-automatic. I’m not an expert on guns, but from what I’ve heard, they are extremely dangerous weapons that can shoot maybe multiple bullets within seconds (as in time). These guns are unnecessary, and you certainly don’t need this powerful weapon if all you want to do is hunt.
I think the government should exert a lot of their energy in going after the organized crime gun-trade, such as gang communities. The majority of gun related violence in America and homicide, as shown in studies, derive from gang activities. (Source: “Gun Violence in the United States”
I’m not sure if this is a possible solution, but in war, one tactic that is usually used when crippling an enemy is by “crippling” their economy. Why not “cripple” the gang communities economy? This will eventually weaken their power, they’ll be forced to comply with authorities.
The next step would be to offer incentives outside gang life. Help out the economy of high-crime neighborhoods, improve their education, monitor gang rivalry and ensure that they don’t “fight” each other. Oust the top members of each gang from power, by putting them in confinement (aka prison). Lengthen jail sentences for crime, so that criminals who are in prison are less likely to come back to the streets so easily.
Tackling the problem of gang violence in America is only a fraction, but an important one. Crime rates will drop, gun possession and it’s circulation in the black market will drop, and it will overall benefit the whole nation. There will be less gun owners breaking the law, and in turn, the majority of gun owners in America will be law-abiding citizens.
Another problem in America is our infatuation with violence in our culture. Let’s take serious steps to tone this down. I recognize the importance of “free speech”, but with free speech there is a consequence. I’m not suggesting that there ought to be absolute “censorship” in this country, but the least we can do is regulate it a little bit so that children will not be exposed to it at such a young age. Let’s shift more focus on positive things, as opposed to violent-content material in our art (which includes music, movies, radio and television, etc.). These are small steps that involves sacrifice of “free speech”, but in the long run it will decrease violence in America.
I also heard that a possible factor that could have provoked the gunman was the drug called Prozac (Source: Fox News Article
). There have been studies done since it’s release in the market, that this anti-depressant drug have “troubling side-effects” that includes the increased violent behavior. In fact, there have been a lawsuit in the late 80’s about this, but Prozac apparently won the case. (Source: Prozac Article
Although a lot of legal drugs are usually beneficial, there are also some that aren’t “honest” products. In other words, they don’t perform as well as they claim, and in some cases, the side effects are even more “troubling” than its benefits. These drugs make money, and so I think of them as really “shady” business oriented products. I think Prozac ought to be closely examined, as in further clinical testing, so that it will be confirmed whether this drug’s benefits outweighs its harm, otherwise they should be outlawed.
But back to guns. As much as I prefer no guns, which is an unrealistic “idealist” concept, let’s be honest with ourselves for a moment. If you were in a similar situation as the Virginia Tech incident, wouldn’t you have wished you had a gun to protect yourself with, and possibly take down the gunman, if you had the chance?
I know I would.
In sum, I think the best we can do, at least in America, is impose some sort of gun control, try to limit gang activity in high crime neighborhoods, lengthen jail sentences so that it will “deter” criminals from committing crime, decrease violent content material in the media, and lastly, review drugs such as Prozac more closely.