When it comes to guns, common sense laws have been a massive point of contention in our country due to the number of shootings that we have been having. Some think common sense gun laws means less regulation and more personal accountability for their personal protection. Some others think it means banning certain kinds of guns. There are many interpretations of the second amendment that continue to reinforce numerous gun control perspectives.
To Stephen Benjamin, mayor of Columbia, South Carolina, common sense gun law became creating gun-free zones and keeping guns stores from certain areas via zoning laws. He says, “The failure of the Congress to pass policies that keep our communities and children safe means towns feel compelled to act, we don’t have to accept the carnage.”
Mayor Benjamin prevented bloodshed between the New Black Panther Party and the Ku Klux Klan back in 2015 by banning the use of firearms around the capitol building preemptively. Both groups were set to clash over the Confederate flag being removed from the capitol building.
What’s important about this is that it makes a statement: if the federal and state government doesn’t want to address gun violence, cities will. I think this is a great first step in solving gun violence in the United States.
Alamance County, where I spent my teenage years, also took it upon themselves to do something when the state wouldn’t. Following the church shooting perpetrated by Dylann Roof in 2015, the sheriff advised churches in the area to have at least one person in the congregation to have a gun in case the unspeakable happened. Common sense meant taking an active role in your protection as well as the others around you.
I think that the solution needs to be a mix of both. I don’t imagine a world where we all need to walk around with assault weapons to feel safe, nor do I want one. But in the case where someone can bring mass harm in a matter of minutes, even seconds, the logical thing to do would not be to only ban weapons that might be used in an active shooter scenario. It would be to also have a contingency plan if they somehow did acquire weapons with such force and lethality. One thing that we can be sure of is that when someone wants to hurt people, they will find a way to do it. When someone wants something that is illegal, they will typically find a way to get it. Therefore, we need to have the same level of desire to prevent harm as those who desire to inflict harm.
I do not own a gun but I often think that I should have one. I feel safe on campus but sometimes wonder; if someone were to walk in this building and open fire, who would stop them? Our campus is very open- there aren’t metal detectors and guards at every door like there are at airports for security. Nor do I really want to have that experience every time I walk into a building. However, we just trust and assume that nothing will happen. Is this responsible of us? We had an active shooter drill last semester that showed what the scenario would look like but this did not involve showing students to protect themselves, rather how federal, state and local agencies work together during these incidences.
These shooting scenarios are almost exclusively carried out by a lone gunman with numerous weapons. The gunman is always outnumbered. If we have people that are prepared for this situation and have something to defend themselves with, we can stop standing by and choose not to accept that carnage. The path to safer schools, churches, movie theaters, etc., needs to be paved with multiple solutions. Banning certain weapons and accessories, keeping firearms out of certain areas and allowing people to learn how to protect themselves are just a few of the ways we can create meaningful change.