Home Opinion Rights vs. Gun Control: Where do we draw the line?

Rights vs. Gun Control: Where do we draw the line?


In the 1990s, only 30 percent of Americans supported gun rights. It was a minority cause that only survived due to the influence and money of its supporters. That is no longer the case. Despite continued efforts of democratic politicians and a plethora of activists, celebrities, and talk-show hosts, despite a dramatic leftward shift on many other social issues, and despite extensive media coverage of mass shootings, gun control is substantially less popular than it was in the 1990s — and gun rights is one of the issues where the Republican Party is in touch with what many Americans seem to want.

After a mass shooting, there are always debates about the necessity of gun laws. Although media coverage of the shooting is always large and extended, the actual discussion of gun laws where it matters, in Washington, is always left on a back burner. The problem is the side that’s convinced that new laws will prevent another mass shooting like Orlando or Las Vegas and the side that believes less regulation will help prevent mass shootings. The first side argues that less gun ownership and stricter regulations will result in less shootings. While this is logical, new regulations will not prevent mass shootings because mass killers are determined and dead-set on murder. They plan carefully to execute their victims, finding the means no matter what regulations or other impediments the government places in their way. To them, their desire to kill must be satisfied. Therefore, the only effect would be on law-abiding citizens whose freedoms would be restricted. Some gun rights activists promote legislation that would allow ordinary citizens to carry concealed weapons in public. They argue that this would actually lessen the destruction and number of mass shootings. This is because they believe that armed citizens would instill fear in criminals and provide defense against criminals who do attack. This is also not the case because in the moment, few gun owners would be prepared to mount an effective defense against a shooter.

Although both arguments have some logic, both invariably fail to solve the issue of mass shootings. Other strategies to help prevent mass shootings include increasing general awareness, gun theft awareness, and increased health care for the mentally ill. I wholeheartedly support reasonable gun restrictions that will have a direct research proven effect on the amount of gun violence. Even so, murder by psychopaths as in the Las Vegas mass shooting is almost impossible to prevent through gun regulations, or other strategies, for that matter. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try nonetheless.