Opinion: Guns are hurting America

Tyler McNeil

Staff Writer

The gun debate often lacks common sense. Public safety turns into a fear of a Marxist transition in government. The loss of lives takes a back seat the loss of magazines. Gun advocates become saddened less by casualties than by legislation aimed to prevent casualties.

A sting of paranoia hits Americans when they see their second amendment rights regulated by the government.

The second amendment was introduced in a different time of American history. Hunting is no longer a means of survival and colonization of the west eventually lowered the threat of tribal attacks. Gaming is still popular, but the kind of assault weapon issued in Afghanistan is unnecessary to use on a 5- day hunting trip around the Great Sacandaga Lake.

In 2008, 67 percent of murders in the United States were committed with firearms. According to the FBI, 358 murders were reported involving a rifle, 6,009 murders were reported involving a handgun and 1,939 were reported with an unspecified firearm.

In some cities, gun regulation laws have become a model for the rest of the nation. In Chicago, the city’s average murder rate has decreased by 17 percent since the handgun ban took effect.

A 2004 review by the National Research Council concluded, “higher rates of household firearms ownership are associated with higher rates of gun suicide, that illegal diversions from legitimate commerce are important sources of crime guns and guns used in suicide, that firearms are used defensively many times per day, and that some types of targeted police interventions may effectively lower gun crime and violence.”

Geneva Declaration reported in 2009 that firearms were used in a 60 percent of all homicides globally.

New York State was the first state to react to the Newtown, Conn. shootings, passing the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act (SAFE Act) on Jan. 15, 2013.

The SAFE Act was not intended to prohibit firearms from responsible gun owners but to make sure firearms would not end up in the wrong hands. The act includes stronger mental health evaluations to prevent another Adam Lanza, James Holmes or Jared Loughner from causing another tragedy.

Those applying for a firearms license must be approved through mental health examinations to determine if they are “likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to self or others.”

“Gun shows” promote a western-style sense of masculinity that comes with having the trigger on your finger. There thousands of gun shows in the United States every year. From October 2003 through September 2006, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms made 121 arrests and 83 convictions from 202 operations at 195 gun shows.

Gun ownership has been ingrained into American culture like Apple Pie and similar to Apple Pie, it’s unhealthy. Even houses of worship are participating in the spread of firearms.

Clergymen are public figures and role models in any community regardless of where your faith may be or what political affiliations you have. Making a political statement in a faith driven arena is a corruption of power.

In a public setting, such as a church where all of “God’s people” are welcomed, clergymen should put their political views aside and be sensitive to their audience.

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