A License To Kill? The Issue of Gun Control in the United States

A License To Kill? The Issue of Gun Control in the United States

The views expressed in the opinion piece below are the author’s, and are not necessarily shared by staff and owners of LifeinQuebec.com.

A License To Kill? The Issue of Gun Control in the United States

A View from Canada, your near neighbours, and friends in the north.

By Lyndsey Rosevear

Each time there is a shooting which takes innocent lives, the debate on gun control reloads its multi-faceted chamber and points its ugly barrel down the throats of its citizens.  People react with opinions as fast as AK47 shells fall to the ground, demonstrating just how deep this issue penetrates.  As Canadians and neighbour to the majority of these armed atrocities, we are quick to hope for a solution as swift as the grave actions of the shooters.

Bushmaster_AR15In the United States while families are left in the wake and wounds are still raw from the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Connecticut (where 26 people were shot on December 14) gun control is as polarizing a topic as Democrats and Republicans in any given political debate. It is a divisive issue which runs deep.  Despite President Obama’s recent unveiling of a $500 million gun-control plan, many are skeptical the 23-point plan will pass in Congress, thus raising concerns that shooting atrocities will continue to take undeserving lives.

In the U.S. Congress, as with all over the county, there are those who do not believe gun-control is the solution to the accumulating deaths and will combat the President’s plan.  These vehemently opposed are up against an ever-growing number of Americans who entertain gun-control as the start of a solution.  Regrettably, this issue repels both sides further away from one another, stalling any hopes for a forthcoming solution.

A major hurdle in a “gun-control” strategy is the profound reverence Americans have in the Second Amendment of their Constitution. The Second Amendment, adopted in 1791, is responsible for the ingrained beliefs of the right to bear and keep arms. Unfortunately, this piece of constitution is often interpreted as the need to bear and keep arms, and is often cited as a method of personal protection.  It seems like a catch-22: People carry a gun to feel safer but by carrying a weapon they contribute to the unsafe environment they are so afraid of.  Or perhaps it is like during the Cold War-era of nuclear deterrence: One country would not launch their nuclear weapons for fear the other one would also launch their nuclear weapons thus destroying themselves if they were to attack.  Based on this psychology, it was best not to attack but to remain on guard.

Does carrying a weapon really make a person feel more safe? And what kind of society exists where one feels the need to carry a weapon in order to feel safe?  Is it this same kind of mentality that is the basis for carrying a firearm and opposing new gun-control laws? Americans should take their eyes out of the scope of their guns and look around the massacres around them.

Our reality and relationship to guns is different here in Canada. In general, Canadians do not quote passages of a constitution when one utters the topic “gun control”, nor do we buy into an idea of deterrence-type protection by concealing and carrying weapons.  As a born and bred Canadian, I associate owning a gun with hunting; and further, the people I know who own guns are people that regularly use them to hunt.

Many American hunters would agree that hunting is a great way to connect with the magnificent wilderness outdoors. It is an economical way of sourcing and securing food for a family. As a recreational sport, it is a wonderful time to bond with friends and family while sharing knowledge and storytelling.  The differing relationship makes it harder for Canadians to understand the ingrained relationship many Americans have with their guns.

Unfortunately, it is not strictly hunting weapons and hunters that are walking around out there that pose a threat to innocent lives. There are anything from handguns to military assault rifles to automatic weapons walking around with or fall into the hands of un-trained, over-confident and mentally unstable people.  These people are essentially home-grown terrorists.

Think about it.  If a terrorist is someone who commits premeditated actions against innocent targets then anyone who kills innocent people could be considered a terrorist.  Though, according to the CIA website (https://www.cia.gov/news-information/cia-the-war-on-terrorism/terrorism-faqs.html)  in order to qualify as a terrorist, you must have political motives behind the violence but I am sure that point could be argued.

In response to terrorist attacks in the United States, the President and his advisors have made swift decisions on how best to protect their citizens. Historically, there have been large-scale offensive military operations and drastic budgetary allocations in order to accomplish these goals . Why now, when the spotlight is on the United States to solve this issue, does the government not use its power, it so often assumes over other nations, to protect its very own population from itself?  The best the elected government has come up with was a 23-point plan that is surely going to be rejected in Congress before it even has a chance to be implemented. There is a solution out there that will require going deeper to the roots of the problem and tackling it full on. And just like America would take on any form of terrorism, why should this be any different?

Maybe more guns is the solution.  The outspoken National Rifle Association (NRA) highlights that armed security guards are responsible for protecting the President and how other high profile individuals use armed personnel for their safety.  Why not protect America’s children in the same way? Armed security guards roaming the hallways ready at a moment’s notice to take down a want-to-be psychopath killer who enters the school premises with a license to kill, could prevent the high numbers of innocent killed such as those in Newton Connecticut.  If schools were to be patrolled by trained armed vigils, why not offer the same kind of deterrence to shopping malls, movie theatres, and restaurants?

Maybe more guns is the answer. But maybe it’s not.

It is seemingly impossible for the United States to implement a solution with both sides continually proposing, recommending and debating but never arriving at a solution.  Whatever your position is on gun-control in the United States, the fact is: gun-related deaths continue to occur.

We are shocked. We are violated. We are repentant.  As Obama stated in his recent press conference, “this cannot go on any longer.”  I think it is going to take something more drastic than this recent proposal in order to elicit the kind of change Americans and Canadians alike can all agree on: a safer country for all.  For the love of the life, something has to be done.
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About the author:

Lyndsey_Rosevear_HeadshotLyndsey shares her time between Quebec City, British Columbia, and travelling. She holds a BA in International Relations from the University of Calgary, focusing on security and strategy and a MA in Peace and Conflict from the European Peace University in Austria, focusing on human rights. She worked in the development sector for 8 years founding a non-profit organization in Nicaragua. She is a seasonal Forest Firefighter in British Columbia and currently lives in Quebec where she is studying French.

Categories: Opinion

About Author

Lyndsey Rosevear

Lyndsey shares her time between Quebec City, British Columbia, and travelling. She holds a BA in International Relations from the University of Calgary, focusing on security and strategy and a MA in Peace and Conflict from the European Peace University in Austria, focusing on human rights. She worked in the development sector for 8 years founding a non-profit organization in Nicaragua. She is a seasonal Forest Firefighter in British Columbia and currently lives in Quebec where she is studying French.

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