Creative solutions needed to curb gun violence

Friday, May 10, 2013
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Jesse Godine
Jesse Godine

Recently, the city of Saratoga Springs gained national attention on the controversial tropic of gun control.

Shortly after the Sandy Hook massacre, a local mother started an online petition against a gun show that comes to Saratoga Springs four times a year. The petition drew more than a thousand signatures. The City Council took action, passing a resolution that requested an absence of automatic and semi-automatic weapons from the show. A compromise, for this year, was reached between the gun show organizers and the City Council. But any protesters remain unhappy. They want assault rifles permanently banned in Saratoga Springs.

A source of revenue for the city, the gun show has come to the area since 1987. New York state has strict laws regarding gun purchases, but shows remain a gaping loophole.

It’s an uncomfortable topic, yet it’s hard to avoid. According to the Washington Post, “of the eleven deadliest shootings in the United States, five have happened from 2007 onward.” The Center for Disease Control and the University of Chicago Crime Lab released a study reporting that there are an average of 87 gun deaths a day in the United States, a truly staggering number.

The problem is not public awareness of the issue. Instead, it lies in the nation’s inability to reach an agreement regarding gun control.

Gun owners cite the Second Amendment, the need to protect their house and family from danger and the idea that banning certain guns will deprive law-abiding citizens of such weaponry, not criminals. But advocates of strict gun control ask, “Was the Second Amendment not created 226 years ago, in the time of muskets and county militias? Was Adam Lanza, the suspect in the Sandy Hook killings, not a law-abiding citizen until he committed murder?”

The point is gun violence is unpredictable and more of a threat every day.

In my opinion, one of the most effective ways to combat such a large-scale problem is by outlawing what actually kills people — and those are bullets. High-capacity magazines allow for mass murder because a gun-wielder is able to fire as rapidly as an American solider in Afghanistan.

I’d love to see an effective buyback program that rids the country of assault rifles, but it seems too difficult. So I take a more conservative view. Let’s ban high-capacity magazines, step back and study the effect and then decide whether further action is necessary.

No matter what approach we decide to take, we have to do something about gun violence. And we’ve already started right here in our very own community.

 

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