Home Social Justice Opinion: With gun rights comes responsibility

Opinion: With gun rights comes responsibility

7 min read

We have rights in this country to purchase guns in the U.S.; there is no question. That is a constitutional right. However, with rights come responsibilities.

After another mass shooting in the U.S., this time in Oregon, the debate for gun control rages on once more, and for good reason.

When we think of gun-related deaths, we often think of intentional murder of individuals. Yeah, of course there are intentional murders of individuals, but what about the intentional murder of the self? Suicide is an issue in the U.S; people often avoid the conversation, but at what cost? And often enough, children have access to a gun in their home. If children have a history of depression, and guns are not properly stored, that can sometimes lead to deaths.

A Pediatric Academic Societies study in 2013 revealed 20 percent of children and young Americans who are at risk of suicide have said they have a gun in their home. According to the same study, 1.5 million children are housed in a home with a gun that is fully loaded and not locked. That is truly troubling for our times.

Deaths of children who are not even trying to harm themselves do not usually happen on a hunting trip with Dad. Those deaths are mostly attributed to poor storage of the firearm. Seventy percent of unintentional child gun deaths occur due to unsafe storage, according to Everytown Research’s Innocents Lost report.

I am not here to tell you to get rid of your guns. I am also not here to tell you that you do not have a right to own a firearm. What I am suggesting is three things.

First, the government needs to regulate gun storage. There should be legal ramifications to not having your gun stored in a proper manner, especially if you have a child. There should be legislation where if you own a firearm, you should be required to keep it in a biometric safe with a fingerprint pad. This would ensure the only individual who can open the safe is the individual who owns the gun. Do not worry, gun owners; I priced out the safes for you. On Amazon, you can purchase most biometric safes for less than $300. They will even give you free shipping. There is no reason this should not be happening in homes across the country.

Secondly, there should be steeper background checks in regards to gun owners. The FBI should do all background checks in every state. Big Brother already knows everything about us; they should provide a comprehensive background check on every gun owner. This should not be too much to ask. Yeah, we have rights in this country and guns are one of them, but at the same time, can a felon vote? No, so why do so many felons, as well as accused felons, own guns?

According to The Washington Post, Dylann Roof, the accused shooter in the Charleston church shooting, had felony charges pending against him before the incident took place. By federal law, no individual who has felony charges pending should be allowed to purchase firearms. Roof was able to purchase his weapon legally, and that should not be a possibility.

Lastly, there needs to be federally-regulated mental evaluations to purchase a weapon. I cannot believe that in 2015 this has still not been accomplished. We need to regulate who is in possession of firearms. If someone has suicidal thoughts or does not know right from wrong, they do not need to have possession of a firearm.

Yes, we have rights in this country. But we all need common sense in regard to who can pull a trigger according to arrest records, mental capacity and the ability to properly store dangerous creations we call guns.

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