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Gun Training Over Gun Control

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Jacob Martinez, Production Manager

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New Jersey – The grisly mass shooting that occurred during a music festival last weekend in Las Vegas, Nevada has brought the omnipresent gun control discussion back into the American spotlight.

On Sunday, Oct. 1, Stephen Paddock opened fire on a crowd of concertgoers fatally shooting 59 people while injuring another 500. The senseless attack is said to be the deadliest shooting in American history. Only months away from a new year, the violent incident raises the total number of mass shootings of 2017 to 277, according to GunViolenceArchive.org.

Rightfully so, victim’s families and the nation has once again voiced their concerns over current gun-control measures. Even with a 48 percent decrease in gun sales so far for 2017, the Las Vegas incident proves that immediate changes are imperative. While some may push for stricter background checks and even total firearm confiscation, I believe that what Americans genuinely need is enforced gun safety training.

Require Training

Within the United States, few rights are fought for as fervently as the right to own a gun. When comparing the rates of gun ownership in America, 46 percent of people who live in rural areas own guns compared to 19 percent in urban areas according to the Pew Research Center. Legal gun owners are more likely to know of someone who has been shot, whether intentional or accidental. However, only one-in-six gun owners have used their weapons in self-defense.

Sure, the reasons for such a low percentage of gun use for defensive purposes can vary among gun owners. Most gun owners have been around guns since they were children. Most current gun owners who have been raised with guns around the house have been trained to understand the potential harm that comes from such a weapon. In April 2017, a group of lawmakers in North Carolina took a step in the right direction proposing mandatory “firearm safety education” classes as an elective in a local high school. Members of the typically hated National Rifle Association have made similar requests to senators around the country. In the North East, where crimes involving a gun are prevalent, only 31 percent of non-gun owners have talked to their children about gun safety.

Just so I am clear, I am not stating that I do not support stricter laws when it comes to gaining access to or purchasing weapons. I am merely saying that despite gun sales dropping off this year, firearms will continue to have a place in American culture. Keep in mind that gun sales usually rise after mass shooting incidents. Gun safety training creates the possibility of lowering gun-related crimes in the same manner that driver’s licenses help prevent car crashes. Maybe by incorporating mandatory gun safety training into the school system, we can correct and prevent future incidents.

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William Paterson University's Official Student-Run Newspaper
Gun Training Over Gun Control