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Respecting the Rights to Bear Arms and to Not Bear Arms


In the gun control debate, many people wrongly characterize the argument as complete uninhibited access to gun versus a complete gun ban.  Interestingly enough, neither side in the debate is pushing for such extremes. Although some politicians make favor the extreme options, they realize that compromise is the only way to make gun control politically feasible in such a partisan world.


In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, President Obama has promised to push for stricter gun control legislation. He has tried to temper his plan to make it politically viable, even if that does not make it politically popular.  He is pushing for improving background checks by making them mandatory and increasing the scope of things the cover.  He is also interested in banning assault weapons and extra-large sized magazines.  Finally, he is interested in beefing up the gun tracing capabilities to help make solving crimes easier and more efficient.  President Obama’s approach to new gun control is targeted and specific.  It works on some points that conservatives agree on, such as making background checks mandatory while is supported by 85% of America.  But it also works on some points, like limiting magazine size and assault rifles that are extremely controversial and strongly opposed by the NRA and other gun rights activists. 


Despite his attempt at moderation, many Republicans and other gun control opponents are furious with his proposals. First, they argue that are unnecessary and won’t make the world any safer.  The expanded background checks will link guns to lists that are flawed.  The flawed lists could mean guns still get into the hands of criminals, terrorists, and other potential gunmen.  Also, expanding those lists would not have stopped most of the mass shooters from obtaining guns in the first place. They also point out that killing sprees are not motivated by magazine size.  But even more problematic than a straw man solution, gun control opponents are concerned about the limitation of individual rights. Background checks based off of faulty lists could mean people who deserve the right to bear arms may be denied.  Limiting magazine size or denying assault rifles means individuals who such weaponry for recreational purposes will be prevented from doing so.  Gun control opponents have a lot of reasons to be worried about the newest wave of gun control legislation.  They are trying to mobilize their supporters, get their opinions heard, and make sure that Obama’s gun control legislation is not successful. 


It is clear to see why the gun control debate is such a hotly contested issue.  Although the debate is often misconstrued, the real issue at hand is a philosophical one: Should we attempt to limit the rights of gun owners in order to promote greater safety?  Your individual answer may be influenced by your view of guns themselves, your ideas on the role and size of government, and if you prioritize civil liberties or safety. It is yet to be seen if President Obama’s latest push for new gun control legislation will be a success or not.


Story by Huffington Post