Gun Safety Is The Best Solution
Guns are an incredibly polarizing and politicized topic. On one hand, there are the people calling for tighter gun control measures. In their argument, they cite recent mass shootings like:
- The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, 2011 – 27 killed, including 20 children
- Aurora, Colorado movie theatre shooting, 2012 – 12 killed
- The Charleston Church shooting, 2015 – 9 killed
- The shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, 2016 – 49 people killed
Advocates for gun control also point out the startling statistics on gun deaths in the United States.
- In 2010, 31,076 people were killed by guns in the United States. That is equal to 85 deaths per day, and more than 3 deaths per hour.
- During the Vietnam War (1955-1975) over 58,000 American soldiers were killed, but this is less than the number of American citizens killed by guns in an average two year period.
- 65% of all homicides involve guns.
- Over 50% of all suicides are committed with a firearm. Between 2005 and 2010, an average of 49 people per day intentionally killed themselves with a gun.
- Between 2005 and 2010, 3,800 people died from accidental shootings.
- In 8% of accidental shooting deaths, the firearm is fired by a child under the age of six.
When people with negative motives, serious mental health issues, or terroristic or hateful intent acquire guns, the results are clearly chilling. For some people, these statistics and tragic examples serve as motivation to ban guns completely.
The Other Side of the Argument
However, many guns owners are responsible. While it’s true that guns result in homicides, suicides, accidents, and mass shootings, other uses include:
- Personal protection
- Law enforcement
- Hunting, for fun and necessity
When faced with issues like a home robbery, guns present a means of safety and self-defense. Other people only use firearms for recreational purposes, and love carrying on the tradition of teaching their children how to safely handle and fire a gun. For the thousands of responsible gun-owners in the United States, firearms play an important role in their lives. They argue that banning guns entirely would harm their wellbeing and safety.
So what’s the solution?
Overall, tighter — but not totally restrictive — gun measures offer a reasonable solution. In Florida, it is not illegal to own a gun or have a concealed carry permit. However, before you can acquire a permit, certain factors are considered. They include:
- Physical health
- Mental health, including any past stays in a mental institution
- Past alcohol and substance abuse issues
- Felonies and criminal record, including domestic abuse or other instances of violent behavior
In addition, obtaining a gun permit requires training that assures that you are a safe member of the gun-owning community. The National Rifle Association (NRA) offers safety courses, as do local police departments and the Fish and Wildlife Conversation Commission. There are certain places that did not allow guns, like schools or courthouses, but once you obtain a permit, you are allowed to have a firearm.
When in possession of a gun, for whatever purposes, gun safety is also incredibly important. According to the NRA, some helpful gun safety tips include:
- Learn how to operate the gun, including how to load and unload ammunition, before even handling it
- Always point or fire the gun in a safe, clear direction. Never point a firearm at another person, even jokingly.
- Store all firearms in a safe, inaccessible place. Never leave a firearm lying out in plain sight, or anywhere where a child could reach it.
- Never let a child use your firearm. Similarly, if someone is intoxicated or under the influence of drugs, it would also be negligent to allow them to use your firearm.
- Use eye and ear protection.
- Keep you firearm clean and well maintained. Before cleaning it, remove all ammunition.
No matter your stance on guns, most people agree that mass shootings, murders, and accidental deaths should be prevented. To achieve this, everyone should focus on responsible ownership and proper safety measures.
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