Lawmakers need to do more to restrict other kinds of guns and ammunition, as well as more strict background checks.
The new law, which goes into effect next year, will limit high-capacity magazines to 10 rounds, expand the assault weapons ban in the state, expand background check programs and place restrictions on guns that will do little to stop violence.
In limiting high-capacity magazines, lawmakers argued, shooter Adam Lanza would have had fewer bullets — causing him to reload more often. Therefore, each of those breaks in time to reload could have been a potential opportunity for someone to disarm him during the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, Gov. Dannel Malloy told NPR.
During the Sandy Hook shooting, Lanza reloaded his Bushmaster AR-15 (a civilian version of the military M16, the gun carried by American soldiers in the Vietnam War) a total of six times, according to Businessweek. Lanza already had to reload, and he still killed 20 children. A few more reloads would not have done much good.
Expanding a ban on assault weapons, though a step in the right direction, is not enough to stop killers. According to The Atlantic, mass murders use assault weapons in 40 percent of rampages, but assault weapons constitute less than 2 percent of total gun crime in the U.S. Placing bans on assault rifles will do little to stop gun crime. Furthermore, 75 percent of rampages involve handguns, yet the Connecticut laws have not placed limits on those types of firearms, even though handguns also make up 72 percent of gun violence.
Placing tougher background checks to screen for those suffering from a mental illness is similarly flawed. According to complete records of all 62 mass shootings from 1982-2012, only two of the shooters were previously diagnosed with a mental illness and/or had any sort of psychological issue. The new laws would not screen out a majority of the shooters in these incidents. This law will do little to deter the mentally ill from perpetrating gun crime.
Overall, the new law is designed to prevent more mass killings, but in reality it does less to prevent the overall amount of American gun crime. In that 1982-2012 period, massacres caused the deaths of 513 individuals. Guns kill more than 30,000 Americans every year.
Making the rare massacre a bit less deadly does not address the overall problem of gun violence in this nation — the new law is simply not enough.
Dan Morgan-Russell is a freshman majoring in international relations global business.
Instead of focusing on banning weapons, lawmakers should try to implement gun safety education.
It’s been said time and time again: Guns don’t kill people, people kill people — and it’s much easier for a person to commit such a crime with a gun. People kill people with knives. People kill people with cars. One can limit the number of magazines and bullets available for purchase, but that won’t necessarily stop the killing.
Instead of attempting to deprive American citizens of their Second Amendment right, the United States government should focus on the importance of education. Many were horrified when ABC News reported that Texas parents had begun to host birthday parties at a family-friendly gun range. And yes, at first it might sound strange; however, by educating children about guns at a young age, they will have the chance to realize just how dangerous guns can be and learn to respect them appropriately.
Adolescents are often in front of a screen shooting at people through a video game or watching someone take down a school. And while video games and news media aren’t the only factors to blame, one must admit that it plays a huge role.
On April 9, a 6-year-old Toms River boy died after his 4-year-old playmate grabbed a loaded gun, presumably from one of his parents’ belongings, and shot him, according to CBS News. How did the boy know where the gun was? Why did he think it was a play toy? By removing the “fun” from gun violence, the country might just have a chance to combat it.
In addition, mental illness isn’t as big of a factor, compared to bad education. The government cannot stigmatize mental illness to the point of saying that anyone with a gun will commit mass murder. There are plenty of those living with a mental illness or disorder who have the capability of not doing so.
Obviously, the munitions store where the 4-year-old’s mother or father bought the gun didn’t think to do a detailed check of their young child.
Lawmakers can’t take away the people’s right to protect themselves without addressing the main issue: People use guns improperly because our country does not value gun safety education.
This issue is one that is currently dividing the country. It seems as if Republicans will rightly refuse to back down on their Second Amendment wishes and Democrats will always demand more stringent laws. Both sides need to compromise — and by pushing the need for gun education at a young age, both parties just might be appeased.
Sheridan Watson is a junior majoring in critical studies. She is also the Editorial Director of the Daily Trojan.