Monday, August 6, 2012

The Price of Bearing Arms: the Abused Amendment

It was the night many had been waiting for. Finally, the time had come for the midnight premiere of the most awaited film of the year, The Dark Knight Rises. What was supposed to be a fun night with family and friends, quickly turned into a nightmare. James Holmes opened fire in a theater in Colorado, killing 12 people and injuring many more. Those 12 people included a six year old girl, an 18 year old high schooler, a 26 year old veteran, and many more. 

Now let's fast forward to about 16 days later. Let's go to Wisconsin to a Sikh Temple, where people are spending time worshiping together. An unidentified man walks in and starts shooting with a gun at every man wearing a turban. Seven died.

Does anyone else notice the problem? It is too easy to access a weapon to kill. Too easy. And by weapon, we would specifically like to mention the gun. Now before some of you go haywire on how that's an American right, for those who may not know, let's have a little American history review.

The second Amendment of the Constitution 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."

There are pros to this amendment. It allows Americans to obtain a gun for recreational activities, or the most argued, for self-defense. But laws regarding guns are too lenient. The fewer guns there are, the less probability there will be for such shootings to occur. Do you really need a fancy gun to keep around the house to protect your kids in case there's another guy with a fancy gun that wants to steal your television? What if we just took the fancy gun out of the picture?

Now, we completely understand the need for guns back when the Constitution was written. The people who came over to this country were pioneers who faced countless dangers in foreign terrories long after the first Europeans stepped foot onto the Americas. In fact, if this were 1789, we would fully support gun laws. However, times have changed. Simply put, guns cause more trouble than they are worth. As I, Naz, have grown older, I've learned that the US, while a great country, is painfully stuck in its traditional ways. Often times, it seems we put our sheer egos and the rights of what we consider to be American over things that make logical sense. So we are not delusional in our thinking that guns will be abolished in the US anytime soon. However, we do propose several solutions into how to better control them.

Primarily, we need to stop acting like guns are no big deal. There are people who use guns everyday for recreational purposes, but that does not change the fact that their primary function is to do physical harm. Due to their nature, we propose the government set up a physical and psychological test that determines who, if anyone, gets to use guns. Nearly every couple of months, we hear stories of mothers killing their children, often using guns. Where did they get the guns? Either the guns were already in their possession or they bought them. It's horrendous these women, who are obviously mentally deranged, can just obtain a gun like it's nothing. Obviously, if someone truly wants to kill their children, they will find other ways to do it. However, that does not mean we shouldn't take out guns as an option. That's like never cleaning your bathroom because it'll simply get dirty again. Remember what I said about logic over emotions? 

Secondly, we propose that there should be control over what kinds of guns people have access to. A father who is not a gun expert, but wants one in case he ever has to protect his family, should not need to buy a big fancy rifle for simply that purpose. In case of self-defense, a "big" gun really is not necessary. However, if someone lives in a more wooded area where there might be a threat of larger animals, or if someone hunts every hunting season, then they can buy a gun that better suits their needs. Another aspect that should be taken into account is financial status. Now you may think I, Hera, might be shallow to think this but think about this logically. Someone who owns a giant mansion and whose wealth is not a secret will probably have a greater chance of being robbed or attacked. I mean, think about. How many home invasion movies have you seen where the victim was NOT rich? Exactly. Financial status should be taken into account when a gun is being sold. 

Being science students, we would't allow ourselves to merely make all these statements without the fancy proof to back it up. In 1994, President Clinton signed a law into action that prevented the use of certain assault weapons such as the ones James Holmes used in the Batman shooting. In addition, guns that could shoot more than 10 rounds at a time were also banned. To put this into perspective, Holmes shot nearly a 100 rounds--without reloading-- during the Colorado massacre. The Brady Campaign did a study in the 90s when this law was put into action and found a 66% drop in assault weapons used in crimes. Not only that, there were 60,000 fewer weapons sold than there would have been if the law wasn't in place.

In 2004, this law was allowed to expire. Whatever one's views on guns may be, it cannot be denied that if the law Clinton had signed had still been in action, Holmes would not have been able to buy an assault weapon that did as much damage as it did. There is no doubt in our minds Holmes could have still bought a gun if he wanted to; however if the proper laws had been in place, he might have not caused as much agony as he did.     

Whether you read this article because you were curious or wanted to read something you agreed with or simply make fun of us for being idiots, we leave you with a final thought. The reason a lot of gun law supporters seem to still support guns after these two traumatic incidents is because they fall into the thinking of "Oh I would never do that" or "My family member has a gun and they would never do that!" or "The person who did these acts was a lunatic! Not everyone who owns a gun will do that!" Well, perhaps they are right but consider this: the Batman shooter and Sikh temple shooter probably did not go through their lives thinking they were going to brutally murder people. They were someone's child, brother, uncle, etc. Unfortunately, despite what psychology can offer us, people are sometimes  unpredictable. Our changing culture, mixed with our intense desire to stay true to the "American way", creates a huge juxtaposition within all of our psyche. It's ultimately a breeding ground for uncertainty. We cannot sit back any longer and passively wait for the next psychological bomb to explode. Like it or not, both of these shooters, and the ones that will come after them are by-products of our society. In a sense, we created them and now we must put aside our egos and take responsibility for them, or suffer the abhorrent consequences. 

We kindly ask you to discuss your thoughts.




  1. So...many...things...must...argue...I'll try and keep the politics out of it and be as scientific and practical as I can.

    1. Criminals do not give 2 shits about the law. They will get whatever gun they want whenever they want despite any legislation saying otherwise, just like drugs and underage alcohol. Taking guns away legally removes guns from people who are truly trying to gain some personal power/recreation/self-defense.

    2. People don't just need guns for defense of home/items/family, they need it for power over the government. If you want a gun for just simple self-defense, any old handgun with a 10-round magazine would work perfectly. Government overreach is at an all time high, so it's reasonable for people to think that the government could turn against them and far overstep their authority. Hell, Obama has already used a drone strike to kill an American citizen with no trial. I'm not saying the guy was good, I'm just saying what if I go against America's ideals and Obama or the CIA or FBI decides that I am a danger to America. People need to feel some sort of protection and empowerment over their government to keep the balance of power in check. That also would go for a government checking system. They would have way too much power determining who could defend themselves from the government or not. I wouldn't really expect liberals like you guys to understand this, but please try and see it from my and many others' point of view.

    3. I don't think the financial thing really makes sense. I bet the larger percentage of robberies are just places that robbers can easily access like first story rooms with unlocked or easily broken into doors. They will either know that there are a few valuables inside like a TV or jewelry and just take whatever petty thing they can. I think being very wealthy would greatly reduce your risk of being robbed because you probably live in a better area and have better security/police.

    4. I would not take The Brady Campaign's research to heart so easily. They have to be extremely biased because of their connection to the Brady Bill and the Assault Weapon Ban. There is just way too much bias there for me to justify and accept their findings as valid. There has to be more independent research for this.

    5. I'm a reasonable person so of course I support reasonable gun controls. Things like no guns for convicted felons or confirmed psychos or whatever, yeah, that's totally reasonable. But giving up all our guns will: 1. take away yet another power for people to fight against an ever-growing government, and 2. not reduce the general gun violence.

    You may not agree, and I may be a bit biased, but I'm trying to be as reasonable and unbiased as I can be. Please just take it into account.

    1. Chad,

      Obviously, we are aware criminals will always get guns if they really want them. However, that's not an excuse not to have stricter regulations on them. That's like saying we should just make heroine legal because people will find a way to get it anyway. Not doing anything won't solve anything.

      The Brady Campaign is indeed an anti-gun organization and so there may be some bias to their findings. However, everything I've checked online hasn't indicated to me that they are completely corrupt in their findings. I found a lot of pro gun people throwing dirt at them for obvious reasons, but no real evidence of wrong doings. Like you said, however, independent studies would be ideal.

      Though your second point seems very ridiculous to me (this isn't a country like Syria where our government officials are out to get us), I can understand why some people would want to protect themselves from the government. If they want guns that badly, they need to properly prove they are able to handle the responsibility of doing so.

      Call me crazy, but I don't think someone's 'peace of mind' is worth the risk to someone else's life. Again, I can't emphasize with people who think our government is out to get us, but I do see their point of view. That being said, I cannot and will not ever see the need for anyone to have a gun like the ones pictured next to the Holmes in this post. This is a society, not a military zone.

      Like we said in the post, we don't see guns being abolished anytime soon in the US. We do, however, hope our government takes actions against making them so easily available.


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We're Hera and Naz. Both of us are full time biology majors at the lovely University of Southern Indiana. When we're not out doing nerdy school stuff, we enjoy shopping, drinking slushies, and of course, writing on this awesome blog.

'What Makes the World Go Round' was started in August of 2011 to be a catch-all for our thoughts. We try and update as much as we can, depending on how hectic our lives. So bear with us. :) Please feel free to browse (by clicking on the cloud tabs above), comment and/or subscribe. We love hearing what you have to say!

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