If you have been following the news, you would have heard about the recent mass shootings in the United States. Two incidents, one in Atlanta and the other in Colorado have resulted in the loss of lives of innocent citizens.
Every single time there is an incident like this, the debate around stricter gun control laws starts picking up steam. Democrats raise several issues pointing out how tighter legislation is the answer. Republicans argue that we are not addressing the root cause of the issue and trying to take the right of peaceful self-defense from law-abiding citizens.
The question on everyone’s mind in the United States at the moment is- Will Democrats Take Away Our Guns?
What are the Incidents of Mass Shooting which have triggered the debate?
The Boulder, Colorado Grocery Store Shootings-
On 22nd March 2021 (Monday), a 21-year-old opened fire at a supermarket/grocery store in Boulder, Colorado. The result- ten people lost their lives in the age group from 20 to 65.
The perpetrator, a 21-year-old, used an assault weapon to start firing indiscriminately. The authorities have confirmed that the individual has lived a majority of his entire life in the United States alone. He had been injured with a gunshot wound to the leg and will be produced.
The investigating authorities have not yet zeroed in on the reasons for the shootings. However, they say that the investigation is likely to take up a lot of time. The perpetrator has been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder.
An AR-15 style assault weapon was used in the shootings at Boulder. Colorado.
The Atlanta, Georgia Spa Shootings-
Less than a week before, on 16th March 2021, a gunman targeted three Asian run spas in Atlanta Georgia. A total of 8 people lost their lives and over five more have been seriously injured.
While the shootings can be seen as targeting the Asian American community, given the racial background of the people that lost their lives, the investigating officers have failed to confirm the same.
The aggressor has been charged once again with 8 counts of murder. This has created a panic among the Asian-American community in the country. While issues of sexual addiction have come to the fore, nothing conclusive has yet been identified.
The Response from the Democrats on the Shootings
Every time there is an incident of shooting, Democrats are quick to raise the issue of tighter gun control and correction measures. In this instance as well, the following points have been raised by the party and its representatives-
- A ban on assault-style weapons would prevent the normal public from buying them in a free and legal manner at shops and stores.
- Greater background checks and psychological tests to ascertain whether the gun owners are of sound mental temperament.
- Bans and control over larger magazine files that are commonly used in assault-style weapons.
- Starting a Buy-Back Program wherein American citizens can sell their assault rifles and weapons to the government.
- Removal of protection for gun manufacturers will ensure that they take responsibility for the use of their weapons.
President Joe Biden has stated that passing legislation like the Federal Assault Weapons Ban that expired in 2004 is necessary. He states that occurrences of shootings had come down when the ban was in place till 2004.
What are the Republicans saying on the matter?
We all know that the 2nd Amendment of the US Constitution lawfully guarantees American citizens to bear arms for self-defense purposes. To take away their guns would be tantamount to infringing on their democratic rights as enshrined in the constitution.
Republican Ted Cruz argues that rather than punish law-abiding American citizens with blanket banning, the need of the hour is to punish the perpetrators. Rep John Kennedy also argued drawing an analogy between the shootings to deaths caused by drunk driving incidents.
He pointed out that just like we cannot take away the driving license of every American to prevent drunk driving, so too a policy be made in place to punish people who abuse their gun carry rights.
While earlier debates had seen Republicans support tighter background checks and mental health assessments, they are not in favor of a Federal Assault Weapons Ban like the one that existed before 2004.
Are Stricter Laws and Regulations the Solutions to End Mass Shootings?
While people are divided on the fence, let me try to summarize the debate rationally.
There is no doubt that statistically cases of shootings and deaths have gone up. However, legislation to end gun control is likely to simply prove counterproductive.
With legal norms, there is at least data available on who owns what and the same can be monitored.
To say that no American citizen should be allowed to own a weapon is saying that you do not need the Constitution. There is a reason why our founding fathers had added the 2nd Amendment. If we are to respect all the ideals of the rest of the Constitution a case should be made to respect the 2nd Amendment as well.
The need of the hour is to identify the underlying causes that are leading to shootings. Identifying mental health concerns, ensuring more work by federal and state authorities in monitoring and assessment, and getting gun manufacturers and stores on board is what should be done.
Just like a knife can be used for ten different things, but cannot be banned, so too is a gun. It is time that the debate around banning guns after every shooting comes to an end. This is simply taking rights away from the citizens and nothing else.
The Bottom Line:
What do you think about the debate around gun control in the United States? Do you feel that banning them will make the problem go away? Or, do you think that strong constructive steps that are taken unitedly by the Democrats and the Republicans are the key to the solution?
Let us know all your thoughts in the comments section below. Feel free to add to the current debate.