Petzold: What to do with gun violence

Columnist Megan Petzold suggests a few ways gun control can be managed. 

Megan Petzold

On Feb. 20, a person entered a gun range and store called Jefferson Gun Outlet and began shooting. One article states, “armed citizens were credited with limiting fatalities in a shooting in Louisiana on Saturday that left three people dead, including the suspect, according to authorities … three individuals were pronounced dead on the scene, and two more were transported to a local hospital for treatment. The two transported victims are in stable conditions.”

The thing I would like to focus on, besides the fact that there were two innocent lives taken and two injured, is that it could and would have been much worse if there wasn’t someone on the premise who was armed to subdue the gunman. 

In general, over the last year, there has been so much going on in the world. There have been over 300,000 people killed due to COVID-19 as of Dec. 14th, 2020. However, during 2020, one article states that “more than 41,500 people died by gun violence this year nationwide, which is a record, according to the independent data collection and research group Gun Violence Archive. That included more than 23,000 people who died by suicide. Annual firearm deaths have never exceeded 40,000 since at least 1981, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While most of them do not include mass shootings, public shootings or otherwise, there has still been an incredible amount of gun violence for a world that is trying to struggle through a pandemic. 

I don’t expect the world to become pure and rid of evil all at once, and I especially am not stating that I wish all guns to be taken away. As we can see in the Jefferson Gun Outlet shooting, it was someone who was legally carrying a gun that prevented the shooter from hurting more people than they did. However, something else we can take from the Jefferson Gun Outlet shooting and the gun violence statistics stated above is that guns are far too accessible to everyone, especially those who want to use the guns they obtain to harm others. 

First of all, I think there should be one federal set of laws to obtain guns, not different laws that vary by each state. I’d think it would be more beneficial to the masses to have one set of rules because I believe it will be better for everyone to understand instead of trying to hunt for their state’s laws and possibly getting confused or frustrated in the process. Secondly, and most importantly, I think there needs to be a better/more strict screening process for those who can obtain a gun and gun license. I think that there could be a better handle on gun violence if the screening system is slightly better. That way, people who want a gun for regular purposes, such as hunting or safety, can get their gun, but those who want a gun to cause others harm will have a difficult time obtaining one. Along with that, getting illegal guns off the streets and into legal custody will also help this cause. 

Following those few possible guidelines might help lower gun violence statistics and possibly make the U.S. safer.