By Nafina Raha
In the wake of the most recent mass shootings in Georgia, Colorado, Southern California, and Texas, the country is once again alight with the familiar and ever-present debate about “gun control” versus “gun rights.” This uniquely American debate has been raging on and off for a long time, but its continued presence after all the violence and death we have seen is enough to make one thing clear: arguing back and forth is not going to change the fact that easy access to guns is destroying our communities.
And to be quite frank, I’m sick of this debate. We all are. We’re sick of arguing for gun control. We’re sick of having to prove that human life, the lives of our children, teachers, elders, workers, is worth more than the right to carry deadly weapons. We’re sick of waking up each day and seeing a new mass shooting on the news. We’re sick of marching for our right to live.
The idea that the ability to bear weapons like guns is a “right,” one spoken of by pro-gun groups as though owning guns is a basic and fundamental necessity, is extraordinarily problematic. We shouldn’t have to keep explaining that human life is more important than someone’s ability to carry a deadly weapon.
The Second Amendment is a relic of the past. It was created over two centuries ago, during an age steeped in British colonialism and wartime sentiments. The very Founding Fathers that pro-gun groups love to laud wouldn’t have even begun to imagine the types of weapons humankind would create after their time. There is simply no conceivable reason to necessitate a regular civilian’s ownership of an assault weapon.
How can we be expected to continually argue for gun control in this debate when our opposition believes that owning deadly weapons is more fundamental and necessary than the lives of the children in our communities? How can we gather the will to continue arguing this when pro-gun groups tout that the carrying of these weapons is a constitutionally-ordained “right?”
Kids in our generation have grown up in a world where it is perfectly reasonable to go to school or the mall or the grocery store and expect a mass shooting. It has become such a given, normal, and reasonable thing to expect, that many schools have added “school shooter drills” to their fire and earthquake drills, as a means of practicing the safety measures they have in place should such an event occur.
The constant death and terror we see every day on the news, the hashtags on social media, the continual reminders from our teachers and parents to be careful when going to public places (because you never know when someone might start shooting at you) is exhausting. To constantly fear for your safety in public is exhausting.
My question is this: Why are we still having this argument after so many lives have been lost? Why are we still arguing over whether civilians should be allowed to carry deadly weapons when those very weapons have caused death after death? It seems as though the solution is extraordinarily simple: restrict access to guns.
The side of this debate arguing for gun “rights” seems to be far more concerned with themselves and their comfort in the outdated Second Amendment, while the side arguing for control and restriction is often concerned with a public good and the wellbeing of our communities.
We shouldn’t have to be terrified and constantly on our guards when going to school, the grocery store, the mall, the movie theater. We shouldn’t have to live life through a lens tinted by the fear of being shot everywhere we go. Basic logic and compassion is all you need to see that public safety and well-being is far more important than the “right” to own deadly weapons.