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Responsibility instead of right

By Richard Auchus
On February 12, 2013

It has been the most heated argument of the year: Shootings in schools, magnums in malls and bullets in buses. The furor resulting from the recent tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School has resulted in a myriad of intense political debates.

As the recent events show, places where guns are forbidden are easy targets for mass shootings. Even the Fort Hood shooting in Nov. 2009 was committed in an area where soldiers were not allowed to ctarry weapons. A bill already exists in the House of Representatives to eliminate the Gun Free School Zones Act of 1990.

Other measures to control firearms have already been implemented. New York state recently passed a strengthened assault weapons ban. President Obama also signed Executive Orders to improve the tracing of firearms and to improve reporting to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

However, gun control does not dictate crime rates. In Japan, where guns are tightly monitored, only a handful of people are murdered with guns each year. Yet in a place like Brazil, where gun laws are also very strict, violence is rampant.

Perhaps it would help to stop looking at this as a political issue. Angry talking heads on the news rant about how basic background checks are "unconstitutional" or are an attack from the current administration. This extreme attitude only creates more controversy in an already partisan political climate.

However, the current system of background checks using the NICS is effective. It has effectively denied firearms to people because of their past criminal records. That seems less a government attack than a reasonable precaution.

We should think of owning a gun not as a right but rather a responsibility. We need to think about the country and its people, not just ourselves.

The Second Amendment was put in place for a reason and by no means do I think that giving up guns will make us safer. The good guys need to be able to defend themselves and criminals  do not exactly follow the law. It is our constitutional right to own a firearm but it's also our responsibility to do so with caution, care and reason.

The complexity of the issue adds to the difficulty of finding a resolution.  I'm not going to act like I know the solution because I don't.

 Too many of us think we do while there is still an eclipsing degree of uncertainty. However, when it comes to matters of owning a lethal weapon, nobody can afford to be wrong.

The NRA says that guns don't kill people; people kill people and I agree. It's people - you, me, we, the people, of the United States of America, who need to get things figured out.

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