Denver Shooting Brings Upthe Same Old Puzzle:Should Guns Be Controlled?

In terms of “gun control,” Democrats and Republicans each have their respective difficulties and are afraid to speak up.

On July 20, tragedy struck Aurora County in the American city of Denver, CO: a gunman started shooting in a cinema at the premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises” after tossing tear bombs, killing 12 people and injuring 58.

Only 10 hours after the incident, some started to criticize Obama for doing nothing about gun control since he took office more than three years ago, demanding that the two presidential candidates, Obama and Romney, clarify their stances on gun control at once.

However, although both candidates made clear their positions on the shooting in less than four hours after the incident occurred, they both went around the topic of gun control, for it is indeed a “hot potato.”

America is a country full of pioneer spirit and cowboy traditions. The Second Amendment to the Constitution clearly states, “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” The National Rifle Association of America and gun rights supporters often take this item as their arguing amulet, emphasizing “freedom is more precious than security”* and “holding guns for self-defense is man’s natural rights.”* In contrast, gun control supporters argue that this amendment has long been out of date, saying that gun control is good for social stability and reducing crimes. The two sides are well-matched, each with their own backing. In the past two decades, vicious gun crimes have almost always triggered the heated debate between “pro-gun control” and “pro-gun rights,” yet have always failed to make any difference as the focus shifts away –this time, presumably, will have no luck at jumping out of the box either.

The Democrats are often inclined to be pro-gun control. Obama himself has actively advocated for gun control when he was in Congress; yet, since he took office, he has fallen short of his words. In this Denver case, being responsible for the nation’s administration, the president can neither shake his duty off, nor make a big noise about it. As for the Republican Party, historically, not only have they succeeded in coming up with pro-gun rights groups, but they also created the elder and younger Bush presidents, in addition to others who are closely related to NRA but still too afraid to speak up on the issue.

Another question worth asking: Is gun control really the solution?

California is the first state in America to come up with serious laws on gun control (2007). However, the act hasn’t necessarily lowered the number of shooting crimes in the state. Just before dawn on April 11 of this year, a gunshot murder killing two Chinese overseas students took place right off the campus of Southern University of California – after gun control had been started. And the number of shooting accidents continued to increase in New York [after that state] created gun controls.

Guns are merely tools for crimes; they are not the real motives. Without guns, knives, clubs, cars, gas tanks or even teeth and nails can all be used as criminal weapons. Although gun control is necessary, simple investigations into guns, rather than digging into the motives (the individual’s and societal problems at the root) can hardly rule out potential and hidden dangers.

What’s more, gun control is not simply a question of making regulations. In the Denver case, for instance, although the suspect acquired his bullets through legal purchases, his possession of the four guns was illegal (he had no gun-permission license at all). In other words, even if no new gun control laws are created, and had the existing regulations been carefully implemented, the suspect should not have gotten any guns altogether.

Today, gun control has again become America’s heated political topic, but even so it still may not break through the “iron door” that is the Second Amendment. After all, it’s too easy to conclude that the relationship between gun control and the reduction of deadly criminal behavior is one of [simple] cause-effect.

*Editor’s note: These quotes, although correctly translated, could not be verified.

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