Measured response to gun reform

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By: Dylan Brennan, Columnist 

School shootings are a very personal subject for me. My own high school came close to one with the perpetrator being caught just before he was about to commit the act. He said that he could have done it at any moment in the past few months. In 2012, a student shot up my cousin’s school, Perry Hall High School, injuring one fellow student.

We live in a generation where we are so numb to school shootings due to our overexposure, or perhaps even personal experience, with the subject. I cannot tell you how proud I am of all those who marched in Washington recently demanding change. I would’ve gone myself, had I not been working in a candy store a week before Easter Sunday.

Yet, people are getting the wrong message. People like former Justice John Paul Stevens are arguing to abolish the Second Amendment. I would never, under any circumstance, move to abolish it. I would march separately to defend the Second Amendment, despite my willingness to march for gun reform.

Just because something is broken does not mean you throw it away. If the government is not going the way you want it to, you push to reform it, not tear it down to start anew. There is perhaps a reason that the right to own a gun is written in the Second Amendment as it is very similar to the First Amendment. It gives people power to fight on equal footing. Just as the First Amendment allows all speech to be protected, so that you may challenge and rebut anything you wish, the Second Amendment allows personal defense from those who seek harm. If someone who wants to kill you has a gun, you have the right to own a gun as a way to protect yourself as well. Just as the First Amendment has been used for evil, its benefits are too great to eliminate it. We must treat the Second Amendment in the same light.

However, I am not a puritan on this. Just as certain speech is limited on the grounds of threats and such, the Second Amendment must be tempered too. I don’t want a society where everyone has assault rifles and bump stocks. I readily wish them to be either relegated to shooting ranges or banned altogether. The way we see gun laws now is broken, and should be fixed. But as I said, we cannot give up on something so important just because it is difficult. And I am so glad that Parkland students and people around the country are not going to give up this time. The great writer Robert Heinlein once said “An armed society is a polite society.” Perhaps that is a crass statement in today’s culture, but in the future and with enough reform, it may be what the Second Amendment will accomplish.

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