tragedy1Why gun control isn’t the solution to gun violence in America

Weeks have now passed since the Clackamas Town Center and Newtown shootings and as people continue to come to terms with these tragedies, one simple question remains: why? Why would someone, without provocation, do such a terrible thing – especially to innocent children?

This hits close to home as I live only a few minutes away from the Clackamas Town Center. I was shopping there the night before the shooting and I had friends present in the mall during the attack. Like many others I’ve wondered why what drove the murderers to commit such heinous acts. We’ll never know the real reason, as both gunmen took their own lives shortly after their attacks began, but these tragedies again focus the nation’s attention on the contentious issue of gun control.

Proponents of gun control point to this instance and say it’s another example of the need for tighter restrictions on guns, specifically assault rifles. They’ll claim that guns are to blame and that were it not for the gun, no innocents would have been harmed. But is that really the case? I don’t believe so. In both aforementioned instances neither gunman legally obtained their weapon and the idea that more laws on the books would have changed either situation seems unlikely. Rather, having the weapons more securely stored may have been a game changer.

So what if we were to ban guns in the US? Well, we can look to our cousins across the Atlantic for a possible outcome. In the UK, where gun ownership is heavily restricted (except on rare circumstances for hunting) gun-related crimes have increased. Conversely, in America, as gun ownership has increased, the violent crime rate has actually decreased. Those are the facts and they don’t make the case for gun control in America any more compelling – in fact, they discourage it.

So, instead of pointing blame at the weapon, people should point blame at the person who pulled the trigger and work harder to de-glamorize gun violence in America. Additionally, our society – more specifically our media – continues to unfairly link law-abiding citizens with gun violence. This was made clear by the publication of names and addresses of gun owners by a newspaper in New York not long ago; because knowing who legally owns a weapon will somehow prevent criminal activity, right? What we should focus on is what we can do if, God forbid, any of us are ever in this situation ourselves. Here’s a helpful video that details a few things people can do that could save their life.

(Disclaimer: I am no safety expert and this video is from www.readyhoustontx.gov)