The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Stricter gun control laws ensure greater safety for all in the nation

3 min read
By KATIE REDMILES Matthew McQuinn decided to go to the movies with his girlfriend, Samantha Yowler, while her big brother, Nick Yowler, tagged along.


Matthew McQuinn decided to go to the movies with his girlfriend, Samantha Yowler, while her big brother, Nick Yowler, tagged along. McQuinn died that night after diving in front of both Yowlers to shield them from gunfire, as the Huffington Post reported following the mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado last July.

Seven-year-old Grace McDonnell went to school on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, as she knew she was supposed to do. Friday is the best day of the week for grade school kids because it means the weekend is approaching fast. But the weekend never came for McDonnell, as she was shot and killed on that day in the tragic Sandy Hook shooting.

In the wake of the horrific mass shootings that occurred in 2012, including the movie theater shooting, and the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, President Barrack Obama has proposed immense measures to prevent more horrific tragedies from occurring.

His proposal addresses four main categories, as he outlined in his address on Jan. 16, 2013, which Sam Stein and John Rudolf of the Huffington Post explained as “law enforcement, availability of dangerous firearms and ammunition, school safety and mental health.”

Stein and Rudolf highlight just some of the measures that would be enacted if Obama’s proposal passes through congress and goes into action. These main points include putting more cops on the streets, better research on why gun violence occurs, more mental health professionals available to schools, universal background checks and new emergency measures and training for educational institutions and houses of worship. He also plans to improve and reestablish the Assault Weapon Ban of 1994. The goal for all of Obama’s actions, he says, is to save lives, even just one.

Yet, the National Rifle Association (NRA) and gun owners have declared war on Obama’s policies, their main argument being the second amendment and the fact that gun owners should not have to be punished for the acts of a select few imbalanced criminals.

They are right. It is not fair for people to be punished for the wrong doings of others. Then again, they would be right if this was, in fact, punishment. Common sense, however, points in the direction of the proposal being logical, practical and much needed. There is no reason for any common citizen to own a military-style assault weapon. Those weapons are made for one reason only, and that is to kill mass numbers in a short amount of time. Defending oneself against a burglar or hunting deer does not require that type of heavy fire.

The real issue that the NRA is fighting, though it is hardly recognized as such, is fear. There is a culture in this country that dwells in fear. A fear of losing something that was once theirs, and a fear of someone having power over them, mainly the government. Guns equal power; that is indisputable. Thus, when the neighbor down the street has a machine gun hanging on his basement wall, he feels that he has more power than most. Then, when the government tells him they are eliminating any further manufacturing of said gun, he feels his power is being violated and undermined.

The second amendment states, “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” The action being proposed does not take away from anyone’s right to bear arms. It just alters that right to fit the climate of the day.

The Constitution also states that it is the government and people’s responsibility to “ensure domestic tranquility….promote the general welfare….secure the blessings of liberty.”

So it is up to the American people, all of them, to decide what is more important to them: having AK-47s hanging in their basements, or coming a few steps closer to securing domestic tranquility and the lives of those who live in liberty.