Editorial | An End to the Violence: Gun Control and Mental Health

By Nooreen Moinuddin

The disturbing news we received on December 14th this past year, shocked, sobered and confused many of us all over the country. We all tuned in to our TV, radio, computers and smart phones as we heard the Newtown, Connecticut victims mourning the loss of their sons, daughters, siblings, teachers and friends. In a short time, the mood quickly changed from sadness to anger, when people began to dig deeper, realizing that one of the underlying factors of the attack was something politicians have been buzzing about for months: gun control.

According to the Washington Post, “of the 12 deadliest shootings in United States history, six have taken place since 2007.” This is an incredibly devastating trend that needs to be put to an end. However, after endless drills and other precautionary measures, it is prevalent that gun control has truly become the issue at hand. There is, however, a difference between a ban on guns completely, and a better regulated and enforced system.

President Obama addressed Newtown when he said, “Since I have been president, this is the fourth time we have come together to comfort a grieving community torn apart by mass shootings, fourth time we’ve hugged survivors, fourth time we’ve consoled the families of victims. Surely we can do better than this.” The country is holding its breath and praying that he will use his Executive power to put a new preventative gun policy into place.

The gun control system in America needs to be more regulated and enforced. Yes, by the Second Amendment, Americans do have a right to bear arms. However, this is conditional. Mental health and background checks are extremely necessary before selling guns to individuals. According to PBS, Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, stated that, “40 percent of all gun sales in our nation aren’t subject to background checks.” He also discussed other long-term solutions such as better-funded university counseling centers and better access to mental health treatment. According to CNN, some scientists look at gun violence as a psychosocial disease. Instead of banning guns completely, we are drawing attention to the wrong subject rather than implementing a total gun ban. The country needs to promote psychological and psychosocial help.

Overall, blaming the inanimate object of a gun in the injuries and deaths of countless victims is useless. Guns are not tools to ruthlessly murder one another. These issues must be addressed before diving into “banning guns forever.” The age old quote “guns don’t kill people; people kill people,” is exactly what this situation deals with. If you are putting a gun into the hand of a mentally unstable person, then the gun IS killing someone. After all of the gun related tragedies that have occurred in these past few years, people need to stop pleading their Second Amendment rights. They need to realize that it is necessary for America to put strict rules and regulations into place, and that no one is losing their rights. In the long run, it will benefit and protect us, our families and friends. Individual responsibility and effective long-term solutions need to go into action to end these violent acts.