More gun control would lead to fewer murders

March 2, 2011 — by Alex Ju and Ren Norris

“Guns don’t kill people, people do.” The National Rifle Association’s slogan is a famous call for relaxed control regarding arms possession. However, recent events have cast a dark light on the issue.

On Jan. 6, Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in an attack that killed six people. Locally, on Jan. 15, a murder-suicide took place outside a Peet’s Coffee and Tea shop on El Paseo de Saratoga.

These killings could have been avoided, or at least hampered, by stricter gun control. Currently the process of getting a registered weapon is relatively simple, and owning a weapon for protection is fairly common.

Jared Loughner, the shooter in the Tuscon attack, obtained his gun from Sportsman’s Warehouse on Nov. 30. Loughner had to fill out an ATF form 4473, which was used to run a National Instant Criminal System (NICS) background check. Sportsman’s Warehouse promptly approved his request and sold him a firearm.

Many citizens feel the need to protect themselves in emergencies by owning a gun, especially in areas where crime is a serious issue. However, it is unlikely that citizens would have time to access their gun in a situation such as a home invasion.

In addition, a gun at home could lead to accidents with children or teen suicides. Though it may appear safer to have a weapon available, the possession of a firearm can cause violent incidents to proliferate unnecessarily, defeating the purpose of owning a gun.

Establishing thorough background checks as well as discouraging the ownership guns for “protection” could reduce the distribution of guns, preventing dangerous situations such as spur-of-the-moment slaughters.

On the night of Jan. 15, in the El Paseo Shopping Center in Saratoga, Wayne Sanchez, age 52, shot Maurice Nasmeh, age 46, before turning the gun on himself. According to the San Jose Mercury News, Nasmeh had been a suspect in the disappearance of Sanchez’s sister in 2001, but the charges had been dropped. Sanchez saw Nasmeh by coincidence at the El Paseo Shopping Center and proceeded to go home, retrieve his gun, come back and kill Nasmeh and himself.

Though there is no excuse for this extreme action, it prompts the question that if Sanchez had not had a gun in his possession, would he still have murdered Nasmeh?

These rapid, rash, decisions to kill someone can only be carried out if a gun is available, and having stringent gun control could reduce the possibility for reckless homicide.

Increasing regulation may be seen as a violation of the Second Amendment, which states, “The right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed upon.” However, though the Constitution guarantees the right to bear arms, that right can be stripped if an individual is a danger to the safety of society. The Constitution may be the cornerstone of America, but it is not impervious to time and culture.

One small anti-gun step would be for California to pass the law requiring all purchases of handgun ammunition to be registered. While it may seem minuscule, any minor obstacle created that make it more difficult to operate or shoot a gun could discourage citizens from owning one.

While it may be true that guns are not, by themselves, responsible for deaths, making them less available could certainly make murder far less frequent and convenient.

2 views this week