License to kill?

Pradyot Sharma


The right to own a firearm is an integral part of the U.S. Constitution guaranteed by the Second Amendment. This amendment guarantees an individual’s liberty to own a gun and also allows people to protect and defend themselves.

This right has been misused many times, as we saw this year when a mass shooting in Orlando killed more than 50 people and just last weekend when there were multiple shots fired on campus that left students in a state of panic and fear.

I was curious as to the gun regulations that were in place and was informed that the process to get a concealed-carry license involves both a background check and a license fee. However, nowhere along the way is any question asked about the applicant’s ability to use the weapon itself.

There is also a push from the market that includes the sale of military-grade assault rifles, which puts a higher responsibility on the person to decide firstly what weapon he wants and how he wants to use it. Sometimes, in the hype of purchasing a gun, we often forget that using a gun unwisely could result in someone’s death. The more sophisticated the weapon, the higher the chance of fatality.

I am not challenging your right to own a gun or your right to self-defense; but, as with all rights, owning a gun comes with a responsibility.

Gun owners are expected to be aware as to when it is appropriate to use these weapons. For example, last week the shootings occurred after a fight broke out. Disregarding the fact that there should not have been a weapon on campus, using guns put the lives of students at risk. Firing multiple shots just increases that risk.

We can justify taking a life by saying that our life was in danger, and sometimes that is true.  However, too often it could lead to an unnecessary death, and people often forget that they have to live with the consequences of their actions as well.

Before firing a gun, one should consider the fact that there are real lives at stake here. Oftentimes, in the heat of a moment, we are unable to decide wisely as to how we should tackle it. Sometimes, we are in a situation where a few words or an intervention can solve the issue.

Even if we are in a dangerous situation, we could try to avoid more conflict by not fatally hurting someone else because every life is valuable. Owning a weapon is a right and should be exercised by citizens, but it also makes you responsible as to how and when you use it.

Let us not pull out a gun without consideration. The founding fathers of this country trusted the citizens with weapons because they believed that they would use them wisely. Let us not break this trust by turning a license to own a weapon into a license to kill.

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