The right to life

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The right to life

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<b>More gun control doesn&#39;t infringe on right to bear arms</b>

By: Editorial Board
Posted: 4/23/07

It took little time for the journalists and political pundits to start talking gun control.

This editorial is not just about last week&#39;s Virginia Tech shooting. It&#39;s also about the North Mecklenburg High School student who brought a gun on campus last Wednesday, threatened two other students and then left and shot himself. It&#39;s about the rumors of a planned shooting that circulated around Orange County High School last Friday and about the student who killed his father, then injured two others at that same school last fall.

This editorial isn&#39;t about the Second Amendment or taking away Americans&#39; right to bear arms. It&#39;s about how to keep guns away from those who are unfit to use them. It&#39;s about taking away an easy means of suicide for the roughly 16,000 Americans who killed themselves with a firearm in 2004. It&#39;s about limiting the 14,000 murdered by guns in 2005 and the 650 fatal accidents the year before.

One reason to study history is to avoid making the same mistakes as in the past. Stricter gun control laws might not prevent tragedy from striking, but they can make it far less likely.

Even simple regulations such as background checks can make a huge difference. If somebody has a history of mental illness, that should certainly show up in a background check and prevent that person from buying a gun. And there is no sense in destroying information gathered during those checks after 24 hours, as is mandated by national law, when, in some states, that person can return to buy another gun 30 days later.

A comprehensive registration system of gun owners would not hurt anyone but criminals. In Texas, residents do not need a permit to own a gun and do not have to register their firearms. The authorities don&#39;t even know how many guns are in the state. In addition, 80 percent of prisoners who own guns received their gun from family or a friend or bought it on the street or illegally. These person-to-person transactions go unrecorded.

Automatic and semiautomatic weapons - for instance, a 9 mm Glock - only are available to police in almost every other country. You can buy an AK-47 online for $379.99, and nobody in their right mind - and certainly nobody not in their right mind - needs one of those. The assault-weapons ban, which expired in 2004, should be renewed.

Gun-related crime has fallen since the mid-1990s, but rose sharply again in 2005. Unfortunately, the rates are still exorbitantly high. The gun-murder rate in America is more than 30 times that of England. Tighter gun control won&#39;t necessarily bring that down. If somebody has a strong enough inclination to kill another, that person likely will find a gun regardless of how strong the restrictions are, but it sure won&#39;t hurt to conduct thorough background checks and ban automatic weapons.

We&#39;re not trying to take away Americans&#39; rights to hunt or own a gun in case anyone feels the need to start a militia and revolt against tyranny. But nobody should complain if America is a safer place.

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Original Source: <a href=http://media.www.dailytarheel.com/media/storage/paper885/news/2007/04/23/Opinion/The-Right.To.Life-2873036.shtml> The Daily Tar Heel - April 23, 2007</a>

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Editorial Board

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The Daily Tar Heel

Date

2007-07-16

Contributor

Sara Hood

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Kevin Schwartz <kschwartz@unc.edu>

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eng

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Editorial Board, "The right to life," in The April 16 Archive, Item #745, http://www.april16archive.org/items/show/745 (accessed July 28, 2014).