Gun Control Fizzles
by Liam White on Friday, April 26th, 2013
A trending print advertisement is circulating around social networking sites. The ad depicts two young girls seated in a school library, each with an object in her lap. The girl to the left holds a copy of the classic fairy tale “Little Red Riding Hood,” while the girl on the right handles an assault weapon more than half her size. Viewers are then asked to “guess which child is holding something that’s been banned in America to protect them.” The answer, disturbingly, is the girl clutching the harmless children’s story, as the wine bottle in Red’s basket is too unsettling for American parents to accept. Deadly weapons, it seems, pose less of a threat to parents than an image of alcohol.
Last week’s events in the Boston area were a potent reminder of the prevalence of sudden violence in this country. Just five months removed from the Newtown tragedy, more Americans have lost their lives, partially because access to weapons is insufficiently regulated. We are quick to commend the strength of those who suffer from these atrocities. Parents of the Newtown victims have thrown the first pitch at professional baseball games and eaten lunch with the President. Dozens of tributes have been created to honor the victims of the marathon bombings. These gestures, however, are little consolation for the undeserved loss of so many lives.
Working to pass bills that would tighten regulations on gun control, Barack Obama has insisted that measures must be put in effect to prevent future acts of violence. While the entire country condemns the actions of men like Adam Lanza and the Tsarnaev brothers, and a consensus appears to have developed behind certain gun control measures, the political system has not responded. Many on the right feel that their civil liberties are at risk, as the regulations contradict the “right to bear arms” that the founding fathers guaranteed to future generations.
The incredibly watered-down bill, which requests only mandatory background checks, made it to the Senate floor for a vote. However, despite more than 9 out of 10 Americans and 54 of the 100 Senators agreeing on the most basic step, that background checks on weapons should be mandatory, a truly shameless filibuster by the Senate Republicans, as well as 3 red-state Democrats, prevented any action from taking place. Though Obama has promised that “this is only the beginning of the fight,” we still have a long way to go until we can feasibly accomplish any sort of gun regulation whatsoever.
The disagreement about gun regulation is in a sense a difference of opinion about American identity. Some truly believe that our right to own guns emphasizes the unconditional freedom this country offers. However, if gun violence continues to damage the moral fabric of the United States, then perhaps revision of our weapon ownership policy is necessary for that freedom to survive.
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