Opinion: Guns don’t kill people, but they make it way easier

Bruce Walton

Bruce Walton

Bruce Walton is a sophomore news major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].

I have always been for gun control, but since the Newtown shootings, it’s all I’ve been able to think about. Not only that, but more public shootings have been occurring in the last few months. There was just another shooting in Phoenix, and a 15-year-old girl who performed at President Obama’s inauguration was gunned down on the same day.

These were all unrelated shootings, each one provoked by different things: misdirected violence, mental illness and unnecessary aggression. But during this whole gun control debate, gun rights defenders have been saying that we need to take a look at violent video games and mental health to stop these public shootings.

Let me first address the violent video game argument. I have been an avid gamer for a decade. The Entertainment Software Rating Board has already done enough for rating violent video games. But if video games are to blame, then action movies and Hollywood are even more to blame. I still can’t believe we’re having this discussion in this day and age, though I don’t really expect forward thinking from old men in Congress, but they should at least understand what’s already been done.

Mental health is very important, and I do agree there needs to be much more organized and efficient mental health care for the American citizens who live among us and not in asylums. We need better identification of mental instability; it’s very difficult to act quickly on a hunch that something is wrong, but it would greatly help.

But the number-one cause for all these terrible shootings is access to guns. Shootings would not happen if there were no guns to shoot. I’m not saying we should take all of America’s guns away — I agree we need to be able to defend ourselves from robbers or dangerous wildlife — but the National Rifle Association and gun enthusiasts in Congress need to admit that guns are a very large part of the problem in this country.

Semi-automatic weapon bans are a good start, but it will never be enough. We need to know that. Just imagine how different America would be if the only guns allowed were pistols and shotguns, with more information on who owns them and what new ones are being manufactured in America.

Small steps are needed, but I know how difficult it is for Congress to pass something like that (or anything at all, for that matter). I understand, but I can’t stand it when a politician or anyone involved in this debate says gun control is not a big issue in stopping people with guns.