Societal issues play a role in the gun control debate

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Societal issues play a role in the gun control debate

Politicians wishing to argue rather than listen have lead to detrimental consequences at the expense of American citizens.

Politicians wishing to argue rather than listen have lead to detrimental consequences at the expense of American citizens.

Avery Li

Politicians wishing to argue rather than listen have lead to detrimental consequences at the expense of American citizens.

Avery Li

Avery Li

Politicians wishing to argue rather than listen have lead to detrimental consequences at the expense of American citizens.

Kelly Tran

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Guns have been embedded in the culture and society of America since the founding of the United States. They are enshrined in our Bill of Rights. No one can deny that guns have become a pivotal aspect of the American identity. They have come to define our “Wild West” mentality and has become synonymous with the idea of freedom. Guns and America go together. While some would argue guns have failed people, it should be argued that government has failed people. 

The Centers for Disease Control reports that in 2017, 39,773 people died from firearm-related injuries. Roughly 23,000 of those deaths were firearm-related suicides, while 14,000 of those deaths were firearm-related homicides. The Second Amendment determines that the American peoples’ right to bear arms will not be infringed. It was built to protect people from others and more importantly, to protect people from the government. So has it failed to protect us? Some would say no. 

“I don’t think the Second Amendment has failed,” said Speech and Debate coach Mario Herrera. “I think people have failed.”

Guns are often used as a scapegoat by certain political parties to hide the structural problems that are ingrained in American culture and society. These problems include the rise of hate groups, the stigma surrounding mental health and the separation of domestic and international terrorism. Some Democrats demand that guns must be restricted to warrant people from hurting people, but when have Democrats addressed restricting guns to protect people from our own minds? 

“Mental health is a problem that we need to discuss,” said Sandy Springs City Attorney Dan Lee, who regularly deals with politics at the Georgia capitol building. “It’s a vague spectrum, and so the question becomes wherein the spectrum would you have to fall for your liberty to be affected?” 

This avoidance of the discussion of hatred, mental health and other systemic issues has fundamentally impacted how we view guns in our country. We have reaffirmed our beliefs with our political affiliations time and time again, and have deafened ourselves from hearing the other sides and the other perspectives that surrounds gun control. Our personal biases and stereotypes have blinded us from progress. Policy is about the give and take. In this case, both sides have refused to give, or even listen. In part, the government has failed us, but we have also failed ourselves. 

Our desire to speak rather than to listen has cost us lives. It has cost us valuable education on guns. It has caused us to become misinformed, biased, and ignorant. The forceful grip we have on our own stances has caused the government to fail us, has caused us to fail ourselves, and more importantly has caused us to fail each other. Our biased perceptions have caused us to fail 

“There is a philosophical, political divide in this country,” Herrera said. “You have one side that says we need as little government as possible and the other saying the government can do good. These sides don’t coexist. And since everyone is so sure they are right, there is no reason to have a discussion.”

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