In the wake of Sandy Hook and the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, gun control is on the mind of every parent I know. Needless to say, it's an incredibly divisive subject. Though not a lot has surprised me about the debate until now. The latest champion against anti-gun legislation is a young girl. A 15-year-old teen recently made a pro-gun plea to the state legislature in Annapolis, Maryland. But as impassioned and articulate as this young woman is, I think her view is a bit misguided.
I'm not going to lie. This has been a tough issue for me. I do believe in the Second Amendment and our right to bear arms. But no one can deny gun violence has become a plague in this country and we need to address it now. I will admit that Sarah makes many good points. Most people would agree with her that guns are not the problem, people are. That is absolutely true. But that doesn't negate the fact that it is just too easy for criminals and people with mental health issues to get their hands on guns. I wish that wasn't the case, but that is the reality of the world we live in.
As it stands now, gun laws don't do enough to stop mad men like James Holmes from getting his hands on a complete arsenal. I'm not going to pretend I know the perfect solution. Either way, someone is not going to be happy. Sarah went through many of the standard arguments pro-gun groups have made, but I think what struck most people (myself included) was her personal experience with guns.
Handling guns since about age 8, she hopes to go to college on a shooting scholarship. If the proposed bill becomes a law, it would ban the sale of 45 different semi-automatic weapons, including the AR-15 which she uses. As such, she feels as though this bill will ruin her chance of getting that scholarship. I feel for her. She loves shooting. And I have no doubt that she is a responsible young woman. But is that really a good reason to not make a change in the laws? I couldn't help but think of all those little kids who died at Sandy Hook who will never get the chance of even dreaming of going to college. Sarah also talked about the fact that most shooting deaths occur in poor neighborhoods and the proposed higher registration fees limit the ability of good people in those areas to buy guns to defend themselves. But are more guns really the answer?
Merkle and other pro-gun advocates believe that gun control will take away our Constitutional right to own weapons and defend ourselves. But I have to ask, what's so wrong with background checks for gun owners? And why do everyday citizens need access to military style weapons? Perhaps if there were less guns on the street, they wouldn't so easily fall into the hands of criminals. These new laws don’t prohibit gun use or the right to gun ownership – they just try to ensure they are in the hands of the right people for the right reason. Doesn’t that help keep everyone safer?
Watch Sarah's speech:
Do you believe we need gun control?