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Editorial: A change in attitude is the next step in the gun control debate

By Editorial Board
On February 7, 2013

  • Men’s basketball coach Jim Calhoun fixes his tie during a timeout during UConn’s Jan. 22 game against Tennessee. Jim Anderson/The Daily Campus

It has been about four months since the terrible tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown that left 28 people dead. That day, President Obama gave a tearful speech to the country in which he said that there had been far too many of these kinds of tragedies in our country and that something would need to be done.
Unfortunately, the president did not specify what the cause of these "tragedies" was. As a result, there has been an effort by Second Amendment advocates to steer public discourse away from the issue of guns. In the wake of Sandy Hook, the U.S. has engaged in a new, very important debate on gun control. For the first time in years, new regulation and change might be possible for American gun culture. However, that effort is being diminished in the public eye as people try and find alternative scapegoats.
According to various pro-gun advocates, video games, violent movies and the mental healthcare system are the root of these tragedies. This is an irresponsible and unnecessary distraction from an otherwise very important issue. Guns regulation and safety has been a problem in our culture for years and if Sandy Hook is not allowed to be the wake-up call for the country, then what will be?
What needs to happen is a shift in American's attitude toward guns. There is nothing wrong with the Second Amendment. Responsible citizens should own guns if they wish to make that their hobby or sport, or to feel secure in their homes. However, pro-gun advocates are looking to turn the debate away from guns because they are worried that if the current tide in the gun-control debate continues the way that it is going, then they will finally lose the big fight.
The problem is not with the idea of citizens owning guns. It is the idea that no one feels safe unless they are armed at all times. The more guns floating around in people's day-to-day lives, the more chance that those weapons will be turned to in times of stress or accidentally misused.
Americans are getting on board with the idea of gun safety and regulation, especially when weapons are in the hands of citizens. This is a debate for change that the country has desperately needed for quite some time. Sensible gun policy appears to be on our horizon. If we allow these other random issues to play a distraction, we will have succeeded in learning nothing from Sandy Hook and will find ourselves revisiting this debate years from now, possibly after another horrific tragedy. 

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