Friday, September 20, 2013

Navy Yard Shootings Prompt Gun Rights Revisitation

Every time that there has been a major public shooting, which seem to have been occurring more frequently in the past few years, there is always a public outcry for increased gun regulation. Most of the debate that follows focuses on the constitutionality of withholding or limiting citizens rights to purchase and own guns. Following the shooting that transpired in the Navy Yard in Washington, people are starting to reframe gun rights legislation in a new way. Because of the resistance that has been encountered in previous attempts, both sides are framing the debate in the light of mental health issues. This brings up another issue of human rights in relation to people’s mental capacity and diagnosis of mental illness, but I think that it is a good step for people to address a serious problem instead of trying to patch an issue by making guns harder for law abiding people to obtain.

While it is arguably a guaranteed American right to own and use guns depending on your interpretation of the 2nd amendment specifically, most of the debate has centered along this concept. Instead of attempting to repeal or reform the 2nd amendment, politicians have sought to put bills into law that limit people's access to firearms. Whether you agree with their stance on gun rights, I see this as more of an affront to public liberty. With politicians able to stretch the boundaries of our most fundamental guiding documents as a nation, what is to stop them from pushing the boundaries in an area where your views are contradictory to theirs. It is for this reason specifically that I support shifting the focus of gun control debates. Numerous laws have been put onto the docket in both houses of Congress, however, very few seem to take into account a commonality other than guns between many of the shooters, a distinct history of mental illness. Even so, I am hesitant to endorse this wide scale approach. Necessary people will fall into the net of the legislation and necessary people will be passed over. A complex issue deserves a complex solution, one that we are on our way to developing. We can only hope that we can help stop the violence as quickly as possible.

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1 comment:

  1. Quite a difficult question. You highlight the problem of labeling people with mental health diseases as criminals. That's like saying that someone with diabetes is going to surely rob a candy store so we shouldn't let them in. But I do think that blanket bans on arms has proven itself ineffective over the years. Having stricter regulations on who can own an arm is definitely one way to think about this problem differently. If we think about the other rights, we have the same issues. People who are in prison lose their right to vote. I would like tohear more of your suggestions.