Young Voters Speak Out: Each day, RR.com will spotlight politically minded youth writers from throughout the U.S. speaking their minds on Election 2012. First-time voters, student journalists and new graduates will debate the Obama vs. Romney race to the White House. Young Democrats, Republicans and ‘Undecided’ Americans are eager to play politics and choose the next Commander & Chief.
Read Samantha Schoenfeld's thoughts from a left-leaning perspective:
In wake of the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting President Obama stated, "There are going to be other days for politics. This, I think, is a day for prayer and reflection."
It's an honorable thing to say, but not the right one. I (for once) agree with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg that "soothing words are nice, but maybe it's time that the two people who want to be president of the United States stand up and tell us what they are going to do about it, because this is obviously a problem across the country." Arianna Huffington agrees: "People might say it's too early to have the gun discussion Mayor Bloomberg Wants. Actually, it's too late." The time has indeed passed to sit and comfort each other.
Gun control support has diminished. An October 2011 Gallup poll reported 73 percent of Americans don't want guns reserved for law enforcement -- the highest percentage since the 1960s. Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post wrote "that the numbers on gun control remain steady even in the aftermath of such high profile events like Columbine, Virginia Tech, and the Giffords shooting suggests that people simply don't equate these incidents of violence with the broader debate over the right role for guns in our society."
Gun love isn't historical. The Second Amendment states: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." There's no mention of private citizens' right to bear arms. It states the right to an armed protective body. Jill Lepore wrote in The New Yorker that the Black Panthers established the context of a constitutional right to have guns in the 1960s. The NRA adopted this view in the '70s.
In the 1770s guns were shouldered and reloaded after each shot. No one foresaw the future affinity for pocket-sized guns. Former Chief Justice Warren Burger said the change in the Second Amendment's interpretation was "one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word 'fraud,' on the American public by special-interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime."
So what can be done (beyond reinstating the Second Amendment's original intent)?
» Added lag time between gun purchases (one year)
» In-depth background checks with notarized reference letters from employers/teachers
» Destruction of gun-show loopholes
» Reenactment of the federal ban on assault rifles
» Elimination of the right to carry a concealed weapon
The Aurora tragedy wasn't preventable. James Holmes, the alleged shooter, legally bought his guns and ammunition. Even if he couldn't, who's to say he wouldn't have gotten them illegally? Holmes reportedly was dressed as the Joker from The Dark Knight, but there aren't any apparent motives. This was a cold, calculated act, and maybe he's just evil. But just because we can't necessarily stop senseless mass murders, they can teach us to distance ourselves from guns to prevent daily gun crimes.