Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Gun Violence Reflection

Conner Lewis
Period 8 AP US History

Tom Mauser Presentation

     Colorado Ceasefire activist Tom Mauser's presentation of gun violence and regulation was both well founded and researched. He mostly focused on the issues of gun sale regulation and how far gun rights should and actually do extend to the American people.
     The most important points of Mr. Mauser's talk primarily revolved around the ease at which one can acquire a gun without going through a background check, despite legislation requiring potential gun owners to pass a background check when purchasing a firearm. This is the result of a loophole within the legislation, making background checks only mandatory if buying from a licensed gun dealer, such as gun stores. Checks are not required when buying from unlicensed sellers at events such as gun shows or when buying from neighbors and over the internet. I saw this as the most important point in Mauser's argument because it acknowledged the fact that although steps have been made towards gun regulation, they have been made half-heartedly, and Mauser also brought up that although it is impossible to catch people planning to commit a crime with a gun for the first time, we can still take steps to prevent known criminals from obtaining firearms. Mauser also brought up the strong point that even though criminals could still easily acquire guns either over the internet or through the black market, it is fatalistic and wrong to just give up on all regulation altogether, as this regulation could prevent at least some portion of criminals from acquiring firearms.
     One thing that surprised me from Mr. Mauser's presentation was his acknowledgment that different groups of people own and desire guns for different reasons, and also the logical way he presented his arguments against certain groups. He did well to avoid the "holier than thou" approach which many people on his side obtain, rather pointing out logical solutions and answers to issues related to guns. He acknowledged that groups such as hunters own firearms as a hobby, and have owned them for many years, and noted that we should not ban all guns, and prevent people such as hunters from pursuing their hobby, simply because others use guns in either illegal or irresponsible ways. It also surprised me that he addressed that it is ludicrous to assume the US government could take away all guns from its citizens, primarily due to the sheer amount of guns in the US.
     One thing that I wish he had addressed a bit more was how many gun deaths were classified as gang violence. The reason for this is that although a gun certainly makes many crimes easier and leads to easier violence, I believe that gang violence is caused not by guns but by the underlying socio-economic climate of the community and that attempting to regulate guns across the country will not reduce violence in these communities by any noticeable amount due to the accessibility of firearms not being the cause nor being necessary for violence in these areas.
     One point that made me think of gun control in a new way which Mr. Mauser brought up was how polar the two sides seem on the issue. Most people can only hear and see the side that is entirely pro-guns and deregulation or the side that is so anti-gun they want them essentially banned. Mr. Mauser addressed how he and many others are more moderate, not wishing for guns to be banned but rather for guns to be regulated a bit more. This made me reconsider how much guns have become a partisan issue, and much like many other partisan issues, has evolved into such a polar conflict that nearly no action is taken with regards to it due to the extreme levels of disagreement.
     I was very impressed by Mr. Mauser's presentation and considered it both intelligent and sensible. He took a moderate stance which mostly goes unheard in both our legislatures and our media, and as a result proposed many new solutions and ideas which I at least had never really heard or considered. Although I may disagree with some points of his, it is hard to argue that he did not introduce very smart insights into the field of gun control and regulation.

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