- Review: “Machete Kills”
- Concert Review: HAIM
- How to be best-in-state at the fair
- The spirits of Denton
- A living canvas
- UPC music series brings South Carolina singer to UNT
- Comedian Lechler ignores hecklers
- Festival Review: Austin City Limits
- Recap: Getting wet at Canned Festival
- Violist to perform at Voertman Hall recital
Taking a shot at new gun laws
I’d like to announce that I am a hypocrite. I distinctly remember posting that nobody needs guns, and that they should be banned on Facebook the day of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. But I don’t feel that way anymore – thanks to UNT’s smoking ban.
Banning smoking on a campus with a bunch of students over the age of 18, professors, construction workers and bus drivers is unjust, because some of those people smoke.
None of the aforementioned groups will be going away, especially the construction workers, because this campus is in a perpetual state of construction.
The problem with banning smoking is that there was no agreement, and groups of people are upset. The “powers that be” couldn’t come to a reasonable agreement to appease both sides, like instituting designated smoking areas.
But if you choose to attend, work or teach at this public university, you must abide by its rules.
But constructive dialogue fashioned to satisfy the needs of multiple parties is an essential part of how the U.S. is governed. An outright ban of firearms in the same vein that smoking was handled here would be undemocratic.
Among developed nations, here is how we stack up with murders involving guns. In 2011, the United Kingdom had 0.07 gun homicides per 100,000 people, as opposed to our three per 100,000 people. Canada had 0.5 deaths per 100,000 people and Australia had 0.13 per 100,000.
The thing that these nations have in common is strict gun control laws. Australians like their guns too, and they have roughly 3.5 million of them. That didn’t stop the country from instituting stricter gun laws after a mass shooting in 1996 that left thirty-five Australians dead.
After the shooting, all automatic and semi-automatic weapons were banned, plus licenses, background checks and waiting periods were taken more seriously. Since then, Australia has seen no mass shootings.
As you can see in my picture on this page, I am black. So, it goes without saying that I wouldn’t be much of a fan of the 13th Amendment being tinkered with. Since I’m a journalist, the First Amendment is my gospel.
Having those amendments stripped away would be a disaster – but if they posed a genuine threat to life, they should be changed in a way that gives power to the people and allows for two opposing viewpoints to come to a compromise.
The gun laws we have now aren’t cutting it. Guns in the U.S. caused 11,078 deaths in 2010.
It’s true, the second amendment does vaguely give citizens the right to bear arms, but the most important document written in this nation’s history reads as follows: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
The writers of this document emphasized these three things for a reason – they’re the fundamental rights that keep us breathing – and the bottom line is that our current gun laws have infringed upon them.
It is time to come to a compromise.
H. Drew Blackburn is an English senior. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.