GUN REFORM

There have been more mass shootings than days in the US so far in 2019. Will the United States ever be able to agree on and pass comprehensive gun reform? If the deaths of 20 children between the ages of six and seven years old tragically lost their lives and nothing was passed on the federal level, then what will it actually take? How many more innocent lives will be lost before something is done? I don’t have these answers,  but over the years I have been debating gun reform with people on both sides, researching and digesting dozens and dozens of articles and opinions, and I believe that I have put together something that almost everyone on both sides can agree upon.

THE MEDIA

The media needs to stop glamorizing (mass) murders and criminals. Unless they’re on the run and it’s an active investigation, just stop. Don’t post their photos or names anywhere. Give them an automated serial number created by an algorithm using the date, just like they’d get in prison. Sadly, it all comes down to money, as most things in this country do. Big events like these equal high ratings and high ratings equal fat paychecks.

1. Gun reform needs to be on the Federal level. We are only as strong as our weakest link. Chicago has some of the strictest laws in the country, but that doesn’t matter much when it’s residents can drive an hour away and purchase guns without a background check.

2. Treat guns like we do cars. A written test. A physical test. A permit. A license. Health requirements. Inspections. Background checks. Minimum age restrictions. 

3. Domestic violence ban. No-fly list ban. Multiple violent misdemeanor ban. Etc

4. If you want to own more than X amount of guns, then you’re going to need a more specialized permit and license, just like with driving 18 Wheelers and buses. An at-home visit to prove your guns are safely locked up should also take place. More than 40% of guns that were stolen and then used in a crime, the owner didn’t even know it was missing until the police brought it to their attention. That’s because the owner usually has too many guns for them to keep track of. 

5. Which brings me to my next point; if you lose a gun and don’t report it as missing before it’s used in a crime, then you forfeit all of your rights to own a gun. If you cannot own guns safely, then you don’t get to put the rest of the population in danger. 

6. Ending person to person sales. If you want to buy or sell a gun, then you need to do so at a licensed dealer, or through a licensed dealer. 

7. Lifting the ban on studying guns so that we can further figure out what more we can do to help prevent unnecessary deaths and suicides, and figure out where the leaks of illegal gun sales are.

SOCIETY

1. 98% of mass shootings are committed by men. This isn’t a mental health issue, this is mostly a men’s issue. We need to do better. We need to raise our young boys up and allow them to be emotional. Teach them ways to talk through their problems before resorting to violence. We should no longer use the saying “boys will be boys.” Of course kids will get into fights, but fighting shouldn’t be the first option. Being emotional isn’t just for girls, it’s for everyone. We’ve been empowering women for decades to be strong and telling them that they can achieve anything, well let’s do the same for our boys, but on a more emotional level. No more telling them “boys don’t cry” or “toughen up and be a man.” Women are tough as fuck too! Let’s show these boys that it’s ok to be vulnerable. 

2. If you want real change, start voting for politicians that aren’t in the pockets of the NRA. Don’t just vote in the presidential elections, vote for your local officials, get involved. Change starts within us and within our local communities. Be louder than the second amendment enthusiast. 

3. Question everything. Fact check everything. And don’t share anything on social media until you do. If Facebook isn’t going to prevent #fakenews stories from spreading, then we need to do a better job ourselves. Google the subject. Then check the sources. If you’re not sure a source is credible, then google the source. Usually, within the first handful of articles, it’ll tell you how often they’ve published false claims or had to retract articles. It really doesn’t take much effort or time to do this and the effects can be astronomical!

4. Almost everyone could use more empathy in their lives. We’ve become so desensitized as a society and so self-involved, we care more about the “I” and “me” instead of the “we” and we can’t see past our own lives and experiences to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes. 

5. We lack community. Previous generations were raised by several generations under one roof or entire neighborhoods. We’ve lost that. Both parents are now likely working full-time jobs and kids are spending a huge chunk of their time at school and with caretakers that they’re likely not related to. The times and the culture have changed drastically, so we need to figure out the best ways in which we can counteract that.

SCHOOLS

1. Stop cutting funding to after school programs, arts, and sports. These programs all help students express themselves and give them something to do after school to stay out of trouble. Sports and Theater programs teach them how to be a part of a team and it’s a great way for them to be social.

2. Introducing kids to meditation and yoga has proven to decrease fights and the number of kids going to detention daily.

3. Make class sizes smaller so that teachers can better see the warning signs. 

4. Hire more child psychiatrists and psychologists. Many schools don’t even have the funding for one that’s full time when they have enough casework for three. 

POLICE

Our police force has been failing us, disproportionately, more black men and women. US Police fatally shoot more people in days, than most other countries do in years. This can be attributed to US gun laws, police education, training (or lack thereof), and money. Other countries put their police force through a much more rigorous training program. They are instructed on the many alternatives to pulling out their guns, such as pepper spray and batons. Many are also trained in different martial arts and other physical ways to detain someone, other than shooting to kill. There should be zero tolerance when it comes to racism and sexism in our police force. We can not hire men and women to protect us when they don’t see us all as equals.

This is the version of gun control that doesn’t limit anyone from owning however many or whatever type of guns or ammo they please. This is the version that I believe everyone should be able to agree upon. If you can’t get behind a majority of these changes, then maybe it is you who is un-American, hiding behind an outdated second amendment.

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