I wrote this editorial article for The Horizon. The Student Newspaper of Whatcom Community College in November of 1996. My views haven’t changed 16 years later.
I was on the bus this morning when a heated debate broke out behind me. I often eavesdrop on the public transit system, so my ears perked up. This particular conversation was over gun control and more specifically, Proposition 169, which is intended to prevent accidental gun deaths or injuries, but in the process curtails many individual’s “right” to bear arms by requiring registration of weapons and trigger locks. The arguments I heard on both sides were seemingly valid and it led me to wonder how some of my fellow students at Whatcom Community College view gun control and Proposition 169.
Student Views on Gun Control and Prop 169
I definitely have views of my own, (don’t worry, I’ll share them) but before I get into them here is a sampling of what WCC students had to say about Proposition 169.
Many students share the concern that guns are a large problem in our society, but surprisingly (to me) they are equally wary of legislative entanglements.
Megan Ellis said “I think its [Proposition 169] kind of good but on the other hand I think its a bunch of legislative bullshit. I’m in favor of something that limits guns but I really don’t think it will do much for safety.”
Shawn Blake agrees with Ellis about safety “From the statistics I’ve seen, the number of deaths from accidental firing is relatively low. The way that this proposition is worded, I don’t think it would prevent more than a small percentage of this already low number. I don’t think the money for all of the bureaucracy of regulating it is justified by the marginal effectiveness it would bring.”
The wording of the proposition is a cause of concern for many people. People who are in favor of gun control are voting no because of ambiguous language and terms (they say.)
Carl Baensch says “Although many view this initiative as taking away certain fundamental personal rights, I believe that gun ownership and use does need to be more strictly regulated. Unfortunately, this initiative is rather poorly written, and while it does represent a necessary shift in thought regarding gun control, the issue could be addressed in a better way.”
“Guns,” Baensch said, “are very dangerous. In the interest of public welfare, we should impose increasingly strict regulations upon the ownership of them.”
Jimi Healey uses a comparison between guns and automobiles to illustrate his concerns.
“I feel that people who care to possess a firearm should feel that possession is a responsibility and if they want a gun then they should receive their gun privileges just like one receives driving privileges ” Healey says. “ They should have to get the appropriate licenses and knowledge of safety for themselves and others.”
The following is my opinion and if you don’t like it, then shoot me.
If you don’t have a gun, you can’t shoot me. That is the basis of my belief. I no longer own any guns and the chances of me shooting you are close to zero (because I don’t have any guns to shoot you with, are you following me?)
I think guns should be criminalized. I think the reason so many criminals have guns is because we allow the manufacture and sale of so many of them in our country.( I won’t even go into the fact that we are the worlds largest arms dealer.)
Guns kill people. People kill people. People with guns kill people. I don’t see how to stop people from killing people, but it will be much harder for people with guns to kill people if they don’t have guns.
If I have a gun and you have a gun and you try to kill me with it, maybe I’ll use my gun to try to kill you, maybe we’ll kill each other, or maybe the bullets will miss and some innocent bystander will get killed. The fact of the matter is statistically if you have a gun you are more likely to die by a gun. That is true. I’ve been shot at by people with guns, they were probably card carrying NRA/militia members.
I feel that by having a gun you are limiting my freedom to exist. Your right to bear arms is not equal to my right to existence. I don’t exactly look like a upright citizen, maybe when I walk up to ask the time you will think I’m robbing you and shoot me.