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Something to Think About: Stricter Gun Laws and Buy-Back Programs are Not the Answer

Op/Ed by Michael Vaughn

 

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Lately there have been many shootings across the country, and, here in Rochester, we were tragically touched by this sort of violence earlier this year.

Indeed, it has made me wonder what has been going on in our country, with the lack of respect people have shown for life.

It has also made me wonder whether anyone is safe on our city streets, and in our schools, colleges and universities.

This tragic loss of life has had people grasping for solutions to the problem. Two solutions people have suggested have been more strict gun laws, and using gun buy-back programs to get guns off the street.

Those would be wonderful solutions, except for one problem.

The nature of a criminal is to break the law! Therefore, the only people who would be restricted by having more strict gun laws would be law-abiding citizens!

I have had conversations with more than a few people who seem to think more strict gun laws are the best way to curb gun violence, and, I have had to share with them that, after enacting those harsher gun laws, the people who would be most vulnerable to that sort of violence are the innocent people whom the laws have been trying to protect.

In addition, criminals who have obtained guns illegally would not likely be inclined to follow stricter gun laws; they have already broken the existing laws.

Here’s a thought: how much safer would a community be if a criminal thought twice about robbing or burglarizing someone because they were unsure if that person possessed a weapon?

I believe if a criminal realized someone they targeted did not have a weapon because of existing gun laws, they would be more inclined to target them.

The other thing to note is that, there has been a lot of emotion surrounding gun laws, without a lot of data to show the laws would actually curb gun violence.

For example, in July, there was a period of time in Chicago, from 4 p.m. on a Thursday, to 3:30 a.m. on a Monday, when 82 people were shot, and, of those people, 15 died!

Why is this significant? It is significant because Chicago has some of the most strict gun laws in the country. And, in a city of about three million people, there is not one gun shop, and no place to legally purchase ammunition.

So, if a place like Chicago, with its strict gun laws, has been unable to curb gun violence, why do people still insist it will work elsewhere? I would contend it is because they have been reacting emotionally to the situation.

In Rochester, there has also been a gun buy-back program, which has been like throwing a pebble into the ocean, and trying to create a tidal wave.

The issue is that, just like criminals will not obey stricter gun laws, they will also not turn in their guns! Those people who turned in their guns were probably folks who thought they could no longer own a gun, or that they could not sell them legally. These were people from the suburbs, not people from the inner city.

And, while I do not fault the intentions of those who organized the gun buy-back, I do believe that this is another emotional reaction, to an extremely large problem.

We must stop treating the symptoms of violence, and go after the cause.

If we get rid of the cause, the symptoms will go away!

As long as we have a society which is led by a president who continues to support abortion, we will continue to see disrespect for human lives. If we have a society where everyone is a victim, we will not be able to appropriately punish those who have committed the crimes, and make a strong statement that our society will not tolerate criminal behavior.

And, if we continue to support a mentality of entitlement, we will continue to raise young folks who think they can have whatever they want, even if it means hurting someone else to get it.

If we really held up the mirror, and took a hard look at our society, we would see the causes of the violence we’ve faced in our country. And, if we have been honest with ourselves, we would see that the main cause has not been the result of a gun!

If you would like to contact me, please email me at mvaughn.seniorpastor@newwineskin.org.