Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Guns amok

On July 20, 2012 during a midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora, Colorado, James Eagan Holmes killed 12 people, including Jessica Ghawi, a former UTSA student, and injured 58 others. The massacre in Aurora marks the highest number of people shot in an American mass shooting.

In Oak Creek, Wisconsin, on Aug. 5, 2012 Wade Michael Page killed six people at a local Sikh temple and wounded four others, including a responding police officer. After being shot in the stomach by another officer, Page fatally shot himself in the head.

On Friday Aug. 25, 2012, outside the Empire State Building, Jeffery T. Johnson pulled a pistol on two police officers after shooting a co-worker moments earlier. Nine other innocent bystanders were also shot while officers pursued the attacker.

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.” This amendment allows politicians to hide behind large doors and refuse to acknowledge the violent outcome of lax gun-policies.

The National Rifle Association is made of 4.3 million members and has contributed an average of $2,000,000 during the last 10 years for lobbying in the House and the Senate.

Many of us, especially in Texas, firmly hold on to the right to carry firearms for safety and sport.  We are emotionally invested in what guns represent.

Two of the main arguments for gun rights are that guns are instrumental for citizens to overthrow a corrupt government, should the situation arise; and guns keep us safe. While the U.S. Government is still considered a lawful collection of institutions, the arguments for gun rights are faulty at their best.

Mass shootings are a gruesome way of reminding us that there is something drastically wrong with U.S. gun policy, while policy makers turn a blind eye. Sixty percent of homicides in the United States are perpetrated with a firearm. That is 40 times greater than the U.K. average and 15 times the German average.

Keeping tighter gun control is also economically sound, since gun-related violence costs around 100 billion dollars a year, according to research from Phillip J. Cook from Duke University.  Furthermore, lax U.S gun policy is largely to blame for arming the Mexican drug cartels; 80 percent of guns decommissioned by Mexican law enforcement officials come from the United States.

This is an urgent problem that should concern our policy makers and the American people. This is especially true for those between the ages of 20 and 24 for they are the most affected by gun violence. This age group makes up six percent of the U.S population but accounts for 19 percent of firearm-related casualties.  This demographic also accounts for 15 percent of those who commit murder. Young people are overrepresented in gun-violence statistics.

In the end, the answer is clear-the U.S needs a more comprehensive legislation regarding firearms. A major change would be the renewal of the Federal Assault Weapon Ban that restricts civilians from acquiring assault rifles, and semi-automatic shotguns, like the ones used by Holmes at the “Batman” screening.

As for now, the death of Roadrunner Jessica Ghawi and the 11 others killed should be considered tragedies of a flawed gun control policy. 

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