Renaissance Column

MAY 1999 | VOL. 3, NO. 5


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ANTHONY MARCIANO

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ANTHONY MARCIANO, a native of North Providence, Rhode Island, holds a masters degree in political science from Suffolk University. He has worked on various campaigns including that of current Rhode Island governor Lincoln Almond. Marciano lives in Boston, MA.

 

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  Stricter Gun Control is Not the Answer

ANTHONY MARCIANO

In the wake of the recent school shooting in Colorado, we are bound to have the question of how this can be prevented in the future.

We will no doubt hear people say that the reason that we have these shootings is that there are too many guns, and we need to have more restrictions on gun ownership. However, this "solution" ignores the fact that persons under the age of eighteen are already restricted in their ability to own and use firearms. It also ignores the fact that the number of households that own firearms is not significantly greater than it was five years ago, when schoolyard shootings were unheard of. Nonetheless, we hear the same refrain, again and again, that the United States will continue to have these shootings unless we place more restrictions on the right to own guns.

The fact is, unless we are able to devise a real solution to this problem, we will continue to see students shooting other students, regardless of whether or not we place further restrictions on gun ownership. The reason for this is simple. There are already over 100 million firearms in the United States. Restricting gun ownership is not going to do anything about the weapons that are already in the hands of those who are potential killers. People such as the two students who killed 12 of their classmates (and one faculty member) in Littleton, Colorado obviously have no regard for the laws and rules of our society.

It is, to say the least, a stretch to expect us to believe that if only there were more stringent regulations against having a gun, they would have followed these rules and refrained from shooting their fellow students. The only people who are going to be adversely affected by stricter gun control laws are people who want to obey the laws. The non-criminal gun owners will have more of their rights taken away, while criminals will continue to purchase weapons illegally, or steal them. We cannot allow the fact that there are profoundly disturbed people in our society who do terrible things with guns to lead us to enact more regulations that will hamper those who use guns for lawful purposes.

I do not pretend to know the reason why a (relatively small) number of young people have committed some terrible acts of violence in American schools in the past couple of years. Nor do I say that there is an easy answer to this problem. However, it will not help us to enact more laws restricting gun ownership. That "solution" would only lead to further inconveniencing of the vast majority of gun owners who use firearms lawfully, and would lead us to think we had "done something" to stop events like those that occurred at Columbine High School from happening again. It would not solve this tragic problem in any way.

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SOAPBOX: Will stricter gun control solve the violence in American society?

PHOTO copyright ©1999 The Associated Press (AP Photo/Eric Gay)