Safety first

David Olvera-Sanchez

(September 19, 2012) — This past summer, the devastating Aurora, CO shootings at a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises shook the country. Leaving 12 dead and 58 wounded, this senseless shooting brought to light the need for stricter gun control. Obviously, I know that not everybody with a gun is going to become a violent criminal. On the other hand, I do feel that in order for us to grow and mature as a society, we need to establish clearer boundaries about who should own firearms. Whenever discussing gun regulations, the question at the heart of the matter is why do people need guns in the first place? I understand why police officers and soldiers would need firearms, but are guns really necessary for the general public? Most people who own guns will most likely say that they need them for protection, a right afforded to them by the Second Amendment. However, I don’t think most people in Glendale – or in most metropolitan areas, for that matter – feel that their lives or property are in immediate danger. If people do feel that they need guns for protection, this speaks more to our need as a society to improve our police and safety programs. Loading up on guns isn’t the answer. However, I do realize that it would not be rational or reasonable to ban everyone from having guns. This is because there are people who justly need guns because they hunt for food or live in remote areas that are out of the bounds of police protection. These are the people who need guns, and thus should own guns if they see fit. Nevertheless, background checks and psychiatric evaluations should be federally mandated or anyone wanting to purchase a gun, which should be no problem with anyone who has a just reason for using it. Another flaw with the gun control system is that it often manages to put weapons into the wrong hands. For example, James Holmes, the suspected Aurora, CO shooter, was able to legally purchase several assault firearms and a shotgun with no trouble. Of course, that is until he went on a shooting rampage, maiming innocent people! Where were the psychiatric evaluations? Where were the interviews? Where were the restrictions? Did the state of Colorado care that it put deadly weapons into the hands of a mentally-disturbed young man? I’m sure that if psychiatric evaluations were mandatory, Holmes could have been stopped. While I do understand that there are many Americans who love to take advantage of their Second Amendment right to carry and own a firearm, the fact is that guns are dangerous and can be easily misused if put into the wrong hands. For this reason, we need to amend the laws to federally require extensive background checks and psychiatric evaluations to prevent another horrible tragedy like the Aurora shootings from occurring again. Because if a homicidal, mentally-disturbed individual like James Holmes could legally get a gun, who else can? Overall, if you are of the legal age to acquire a gun, and truly want and need a firearm, then by all means go and apply for one. Hopefully by the time our generation is of age to legally buy firearms, the laws will have caught up to the times, and passing both a background check and a psychological exam will be necessary before obtaining the firearm.