Ever since the tragedy of the Newtown school shooting, the topic of gun control has been sweeping the United States into controversy. How much right does a citizen have to bear arms? What “arms” does this imply? Are we talking semiautomatics or assault weapons? Should everyone be allowed a gun, or only those who can handle one responsibly? Who is considered responsible enough?
Naturally, as acting President of the United States, Barack Obama put in his two cents on Wednesday, Jan. 16, and signed 23 executive actions that would, hopefully, prevent more gun violence in the future. Sounds great, right?
While this list of legislation may indeed prevent more gun violence, fear still tugs at the hearts of many Americans who practice the second amendment on a daily basis. For them, this is just one more step closer to taking away their rights to bear arms. For others, these 23 actions mean more protection from gun-wielding criminals.
Another important question to pose and ponder, though, is this: when have criminals actually followed the law?
It doesn’t matter how many laws the government puts in place to prevent gun violence. Criminals don’t obey laws. That is why they are called criminals. If a mind is psychologically unstable enough to make the decision to get a gun and start shooting people, there’s nothing that will change that mind. If there is a gun to be obtained, and they are determined enough to obtain it, they will get it, law or no law.
This isn’t a matter of impeding on the constitutional rights of U.S. citizens either. It’s a matter of public safety. Making it harder for criminals to obtain a weapon to kill also makes it harder for law-abiding citizens to obtain a weapon to protect. In every bank robbing scheme ever displayed on the big screen, the first thing robbers do after declaring a hold up is rid the security officer of all weapons, and rightly so. No criminal with a gun wants to go up against someone else with a gun. Smart criminals will make sure they are the only ones who can do any harm. Ridding normal citizens of the right to bear arms simply makes a criminal’s job easier, helping them to disobey the laws.
There has been, and always will be, bad people in this world. Creating more laws does not get rid of those bad people. It just gives them more laws not to follow. As Plato once said, “Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws.”
Not to say the President’s signature on the 23 orders is completely useless. Maximizing law enforcement’s efforts to prevent gun violence will definitely help and providing incentives for schools to hire resource officers is much-needed. The big question is why weren’t these actions being implemented this intensely years ago?
The only real way to begin ridding the world of violence is by giving our children the love and encouragement they need to grow into wholesomely good people. That is where it starts. Keeping an eye on and nurturing the psychological welfare of children and young adults can do wonders to their attitudes and values toward others.