Columns, Opinion

Burke’s Bully Pulpit: On banning guns

President Trump tweeted Thursday morning he would like to push comprehensive background checks in addition to raising the age of those who are allowed to buy guns to 21. Neither of those things sound like bad ideas, and it is definitely what liberals have been calling for in the wake of the Parkland shooting. It seems as though the divide between the parties has deepened in the aftermath of this shooting, for better or for worse.

Recently, kids involved in the shooting have been ridiculed on Twitter for being “actors” and have been accused of being paid by mainstream media for their appearance on news shows.

Those claims are ridiculous, and even someone like Marco Rubio, who has been called out by a Parkland student, has debunked those claims. Seeing politicians act in a sensible way allows me to breathe a slight sigh of relief. Benjamin Kelly, an aide to Florida Republican representative Shawn Harrison, was fired for claiming such things — which also gives me hope.

Arguments comparing motor vehicles to guns are neither accurate nor fair. Vehicles are meant to transport humans from one place to another, while guns are used to kill something — albeit not necessarily another person. But these analogies are not helpful in a situation like this. I don’t think anyone wants to ban people from obtaining guns, but rather they would like to see a reasonable system of background checks in order for someone to obtain a weapon.

The bottom line is this: Buying a gun should be the hardest thing an American citizen can do. I have to wait until I am 21 years old to buy a beer at a bar. And for the most part, I cannot rent a car until I am 25 years old. Even more, most hotels do not allow people under age 21 to rent a room.

That being said, I wholeheartedly agree with President Trump’s tweet about changing the legal age to buy a gun to 21 years old. In this country, it is easier to buy a semi-automatic rifle than it is to buy a six pack of beer. Something is wrong with that sentence, and it isn’t the part about buying beer.

Recently, the NRA has been dropped by a number of its sponsors in the wake of the Parkland shooting. While that may be a good start to the problem, people shouldn’t be satisfied with just that. Caring about gun control is one thing, but banning guns from those who deserve to have them is not the answer. This isn’t Australia — banning guns will lead to criminals having a distinct upper hand over the police and the citizens alike.

What I would like to see from the president is for him to do good on his word. Pressuring lawmakers to ban bump stocks was a (late) step in the right direction. Hopefully, the likes of Stephen Paddock will never be seen again in America. However, growing up in this fine nation, I know that this will not prevent the next round of killers from instilling fear into our hearts.

The way I see it, intense background checks are the only things that we have left. It’s the last line of defense between a nation that has responsible gun owners and one that bans guns altogether. People question who will pay for the extra mental health checkups, but there is only one answer — whoever wants a gun should have to pay. I do not want to pay for a checkup for someone who wants to buy a gun. I don’t care if it’s a constitutional amendment.

Odds are, you aren’t in a well-regulated militia anyways.

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