Dartbeat Asks: Gun Control

By Madison Pauly, The Dartmouth Staff | 1/8/13 9:00am

Editor’s Note: Dartbeat Asks is a new weekly feature that will be presented in conjunction with The Conversation, which will run every Friday. Each week, Dartbeat Asks will feature a survey of student opinions on a national issue, while The Conversation will further explore that topic in-depth. We welcome your feedback — feel free to comment below or blitz comments/questions to dartbeat@thedartmouth.com.

This week’s topic was chosen in light of the December shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. The Sandy Hook shootings are just the latest in a string of recent gun violence. The numerous reaction statements made by public figures addressing the need — or lack thereof — of tighter restrictions on gun ownership, especially the semiautomatic weapons used in the Sandy Hook shootings, reveal that the nation is still deeply divided on the issue of Second Amendment rights. Dartmouth students weigh in below on whether current gun control laws need to be modified, and whether the right to own guns is even legitimate.

There is no reason anyone should own a tool designed to kill other people.No one has the right to take another's life.Perhaps if every adult in the U.S. had a firearm at all times this tragedy may have been averted, but the number of annual deaths from accidental shootings would surely be higher. —Ariel Wertheim ’15

I think that the National Rifle Association is really extreme but they have the right idea with the whole “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” thing. The Second Amendment is in place so that Americans are protected from an oppressive government. Regulating guns won’t prevent people from doing the illegal things that they’re doing with them. —Kelsey Weimer ’16

A lot of people argue that citizens should have the ability to protect themselves, but so many studies show that if you have a gun in the house you are so much more likely to hurt yourself — or someone in your family will hurt themselves — than [you are] to protect yourself or your family. And I think that for protection’s sake, it’s not really a valid argument. —Eliana Piper ’14

I’m pretty against the idea of civilians owning guns, but I acknowledge the fact that there’s not necessarily a correlation between increased gun control and decreased violent crimes or decreased gun violence. I think that whether you’re for or against civilian use of guns and the enforcement of the Second Amendment, I think it’s a simple fact that you can’t give crazy people guns. Virginia Tech, you look at that, if you had just done a simple background check on the guy, you would know that he had a history of mental issues. These are the kind of people that you just can’t give guns whether or not you believe that civilians should have the right to own guns, so I think that no matter what, we need increased gun control, if not getting rid of civilian gun use completely. We at least need to have forced background checks on any guns sold. —MH ’16

I generally think you can have the right to own a gun, but we can also put limits on the kind of weapon. If you look at Newtown and Colorado, it’s not worth it. If you ban weapons that fire so quickly that [they] don’t give emergency responders time to respond, that would be a good compromise. —Elena Zinski ’15

There are different sides to it. You have people who want to defend a right that was written and given to them, which makes complete sense, but then you have these acts that keep happening. There was a speech that [President Barack] Obama gave at Newtown that was something along the lines of “I’ve had to do this way too many times now,” which I agree with. I don’t think anybody can defend those kinds of acts. And when you say things like, “They’re going to find a way to kill if they’re going to kill,” that could be true. In my opinion any way to curtail and to make it as difficult as possible to do that is probably good, while still making sure people have the rights that they want to maintain. —Sam F. ’14

Related links (compiled by Madison Pauly)

SLIDESHOW, Wall Street Journal
Jon Kelly, BBC News
Michael Cooper, The New York Times
INFOGRAPHIC, The Washington Post
Mark Blumenthal, Huffington Post


Madison Pauly, The Dartmouth Staff