Updated: Nov 2, 2018
By Kacey Henriques
This article was retrieved from Volume 15 Issue 5.
President Donald Trump once said "I'm the biggest fan of the Second Amendment. Many of you are. I'm a big fan of the NRA.”
Talk of gun control is at an all-time high following the recent Parkland shooting. People call for gun control, but where are their calls coming from? Is it fair for anti-gun individuals to call for amendments to something that they aren’t educated about? Many of these anti-gun individuals have never held a gun, been to a shooting range or know the proper way to handle firearms; which brings up the question of whether their opinions come from a place of education or ignorance.
Opinions are stronger than they've ever been. Questions of the second amendment's necessity are at an all-time high, and no one is afraid to express how they feel about it. President Donald Trump is tweeting about it every other day and there are walkouts calling for gun reform happening in schools nationwide. Everyone wants to know… what's the truth behind guns?
There are two places nationally where guns aren't allowed; all federal buildings and all schools. There are two major differences between these places, federal buildings, such as courthouses, have armed guards as well as metal detectors while most schools have neither. The 1990 Gun-Free School Zone Act made it known that there were very few people allowed on school grounds who were armed. This act made schools a prime target for shootings because shooters knew it would be unlikely for anyone else to be armed on school grounds. This brings up the question of whether teachers should be armed. Clearly, not all teachers would be expected to carry, but should those with a preexisting License to Carry (LTC) be allowed to? Or even those teachers with a military background?
Don B. Kates, author of the article “Ignorance: The basis of anti-gun mythology” in Handguns Magazine is quoted saying “If you are grossly ignorant about a subject, you are much more likely to believe falsehoods that even a rudimentary knowledge of that subject would expose as false”, meaning that those who aren’t knowledgeable on a topic will tend to believe false information. Sergeant Couto is a firm believer that “Knowledge is power”, therefore being educated about guns is simply beneficial for all people who seek to form an opinion. According to Sergeant Couto of Westport, guns are commonly found on the side of the road, where kids could easily find them. Therefore, being able to safely handle a gun is a skill used to protect people from harm.
America is currently divided over the conversation regarding guns with assault rifles being targeted. There are numerous stigmas surrounding "assault rifles". Many think that banning the purchase of assault rifles will fix all of the problems with gun violence, but what these people don't realize is that there are a number of similar guns, not classified as assault rifles, which can do the same amount of damage as an AR-15.
The majority of Americans have heard of an AR-15, but how many Americans have heard of the Ruger Mini 14? The AR-15 is the symbol of the anti-gun movement, yet there are dozens of guns which fly under the radar and are very similar in their features. In California, the legal magazine (a chamber for holding a supply of cartridges to be fed automatically to the breach of a gun) for an AR-15 is 10 rounds. However, the legal magazine for a Ruger Mini 14 is 30 rounds, both guns use the same .223 caliber bullets. This being said, why is it ethical to ban one over the other? In fact, the Ruger Mini 14 is specifically exempt from recent assault rifle bans, because it has a wooden stock that doesn't move, no pistol grip, and no threaded barrel, all features that dub a gun an assault rifle.
The federal ban defines an assault rifle as "any centerfire semi-automatic with a detachable magazine and at least two assault rifle features". The FBI's definition of an assault rifle is essentially a fully automatic machine gun. There are some discrepancies here, which is where the "look over function" argument comes into play. A local federally licensed gun collector for over 40 years who wished to remain anonymous claims "An assault rifle is no different than a semi-automatic hunting rifle than the way it looks. They both have detachable magazines, they both have centerfire rifles. Banning something on how it looks and not necessarily how it operates and it's just wrong". This is the mentality that many pro-gun advocates have.
Guns affect lives every day, both positively and negatively. The important thing to remember regarding guns, like Sergeant Couto said, is that "Knowledge is power". Being educated about guns is beneficial, not just for gun enthusiasts but also for individuals against guns. Guns have been a part of history for hundreds of years, and according to a local gun expert "Guns are what built this country, the gun, the plow, the ax, it's just another tool". Guns have been a crucial part of every war America has been involved in and have helped us become a dominant country. They have always been a part of our society and will continue to be in one form or another. Thousands of Americans are passionate about shooting sports, and the overall culture surrounding guns, which deserve to be recognized.
Being educated about a subject is one of the most powerful tools that you can possess, which is true for anything regardless of opinions. It doesn't matter if you're pro-gun or anti-gun, being educated about them is beneficial for all.