Ignorance and Incompetence: The Two Sides of the Gun Debate

By Aaron Eisen

Protesters hold sign at the Guns Across America rally in Atlanta, GA, January 19, 2013. Source: REUTERS/Tami Chappell

Protesters hold sign at the Guns Across America rally in Atlanta, GA, January 19, 2013. Source: REUTERS/Tami Chappell

In the wake of the tragic and horrific shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida on Wednesday, Democrats and Republicans are, once again, at each other's throats over guns. Liberals are already demonizing gun owners, blaming the NRA, and calling for gun control; a solution that will, at best, have no effect on the situation, and at worst, exacerbate the problem. On the other hand, as a conservative, I’m disgusted with Republicans’ inability to offer an alternative course of action. The American people should not have to choose between ignorance and incompetence when lives are at stake.

Increased gun control is certainly not the answer. There are in fact laws against murder, not to mention massacre, on the books already. It’s obvious that someone with the resolve to slaughter the innocent would have the resolve to illegally obtain a gun. Law-abiding citizens don’t commit mass shootings, they are victims of it. Rather than disarming Americans, allow them to defend themselves.

This point brings me to my criticism of the GOP. While thoughts and prayers are always welcomed during times of tragedy and help the healing process, legislators have a special responsibility to find solutions. Offering an optional concealed-carry and firearm education program to faculty and staff, in addition to abolishing useless “gun-free zones” would be an excellent start. I’m by no means calling for the militarization of our schools, but this plan would work effectively as both a preventive measure and a last resort.

After the assassination of JFK and attempt on President Reagan, the U.S. increased security measures for presidents and their families with armed secret service agents. Celebrities take similar precautions through use of bodyguards. So why is it such a radical concept that we as students deserve the same protections?

Let’s not forget Stephen Willeford, the hero who stopped the Texas Church shooter from taking more innocent lives last November by exchanging gunfire with him and helping police make their apprehension. Or the case of Amanda Collins, a woman with a concealed carry permit, who was unable to bring her 9mm Glock onto a University of Nevada campus due to its “gun-free zone” policy. Amanda was defenseless that night when James Biela attacked and raped her. Biela went on to murder Brianna Denison, a 19-year-old girl who Amanda Collins later stated, "having been the first victim, that Brianna Denison would still be alive, had I been able to defend myself that night."

The only time gun control works is when it's used by dictators. Hitler, Mao, and Stalin all confiscated civilian firearms before slaughtering millions. The second amendment is essentially all that stands between us and government tyranny. Critics argue that our Founding Fathers were referring to muskets and not military-grade weaponry, yet in the 1700s muskets were military-grade weaponry. If you think that government tyranny can't happen in America, ask yourself why. Because of our Constitution? The same Constitution that’s under siege by attempts to gradually repeal our second amendment right to bear arms? If conservatives do not come up with a solution, Americans will begin to believe Democrats are right, and that is an outcome our nation cannot afford.

I understand why Americans are frustrated with the GOP. Democrats may be offering a terrible solution, but Republicans have no solution at all. It baffles me that ‘conservatives’ in Congress are doing nothing to save innocent lives and to defend the second amendment. Gun owners have resided in America for two centuries, yet mass-shootings have only been a major issue for the past three decades. It is our country’s moral responsibility to address the mental health problem in our country, educate Americans on how to spot and report warnings of instability, and hold the FBI accountable when they fail to heed our warnings.

Arming law-abiding citizens is not the aspect part of the solution, but I am confident in this conservative alternative to gun-control. I do, however, remain pessimistic that Congress will change its ways.