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Gun control: Students weigh in on what seems reasonable for future legislation

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Emma Daniel

Staff Writer

Nearly 13,000 people die per year from gun violence, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Consider the number 13,000.

When adding suicide statistics, the number of gun deaths goes up to roughly 32,000.

Legislators constantly extend the line of where no gun control becomes acceptable. Where is that line? When 100 people die? When 200 people die? When someone shoots up an elementary school and kills everyone inside?

Where is the line drawn?

I decided to speak to gun enthusiasts to get an idea of what people who support guns think.

Elizabeth Miller, a junior English education major from Ashford, believes in gun control, especially at gun shows.

“My boyfriend and I went to a gun show in Dothan, and the only requirement for us to enter the gun show was a driver’s license,” Miller said, adding that the only requirement to purchase a gun was to provide a gun permit and license.

Obtaining a gun can sometimes be incredibly simple.

Bailey Wood, a sophomore political science major from Trussville, said a family member did not have much trouble.

“I’ve been with my stepdad once to buy a gun, and it took him an hour,” he said. “I think we should raise the age of buying even hunting rifles to 21.

“I’m sorry you’re 16 and want to go hunt, but your dad can buy a gun for you. I don’t want to watch 16-year-olds shoot each other because they’re old enough to buy a gun.”

Even though many states have laws that prohibit anyone under 18 from purchasing a gun, it is remarkably simple to get around that law by using third-party sellers.

Jerrod Pope is a junior computer science major from Jack who grew up around guns. He received his first gun when he was around 7 years old and considers himself to be a gun person.

“I thought everyone in America had guns for many years,” Pope said. “I believe in stricter gun control than we have now.

“We should require mental health screenings from real psychiatrists, along with age limits and mandatory waiting periods based on the type of firearm. Setting those barriers would probably stop many of the mentally unstable from getting ahold of these powerful firearms.”

Under current federal law, one can be barred from buying a gun under two conditions — if they are involuntarily committed into a mental hospital or if they are declared mentally incompetent by a government body — according to CNN.

With the introduction of psychiatric evaluations, we as a nation could truly tackle the mental health issue so many claim is to blame for consistent gun violence.

Ebony Williams, a freshman political science major from Montgomery, agrees that psychiatric evaluations and more in-depth background checks could potentially help.

“I have a brother who is schizophrenic, but he was able to get a gun,” she said. “People say we need guns to protect ourselves from harm, but how do you protect yourself from harm by threatening it with harm?

“I would ask (those against stricter gun control) how they would feel if I pulled a gun on them for any reason. Just because I feel like it.”

Also, current gun laws fail to address the number of weapons a person is allowed to own.

“The over-excessive buying of guns needs to be put in place,” said Katelyn Nelson, a freshman political science major from Citronelle. “You don’t need to have 25 guns just to have them.”

According to The Washington Post, the average American gun owner owns eight guns, double the average from the 1990s.

Only three states have legislation restricting owners to purchase only one gun per month.

To those against gun control, Pope said he understands the hesitance to regulate the sale of firearms.

“This seems like a slow death to one of our country’s major rights, but it’s not,” he said. “If we start to think of gun control as safety measures instead of gun banning, we could keep guns out of the hands of those who intend to harm.”

Nelson agrees that something must be done to address the issue.

“Open your eyes!” Nelson said. “It’s a huge responsibility issue that people have.

“They’re not responsible enough.”

“I know the root of all evil is not guns, but people are using guns to commit crimes, and there are hundreds of guns that we don’t even know about that are on the street right now,” Wood said. “Confront the problem.”