Gun Debate and Hosting
There is no question: in the US, the gun control debate is a hot topic. Recently, one of my state Senators, Kelly Ayotte, took a stand against a bill that would have required expanded background checks for those purchasing a gun.
In a town hall meeting, Ayotte was questioned by the daughter of Sandy Hook's principal, killed in the midst of protecting the students at the school, wondering why she doesn't support these background checks. After listening patiently and apologizing for her loss, she explained that the real issue is mental health.
Why No Background Checks?
Ayotte spoke to the concerns of her gun-owning constituents: the dreaded national registry. She said that if this bill were to pass, it would be the first step to the one thing the majority of gun owners fear: being on a list possessed by the government. Even worse: it was suggested that this list be available via virtual private server or dedicated server online in order for residents to see who around them owns a gun.
The problem with this should be obvious. Not only is it violating the privacy rights of legal gun owners, it's almost like broadcasting “Hey! I live two houses down from you, and you didn't know this before, but I own some guns! I work each and every day, so they're unattended. C'mon in and steal them!” It's like setting up a dedicated hosting or shared hosting site and net securing that site with a password. Is this really an effective way to keep guns out of criminals? Nope. It's actually the opposite.
What Do Gun Owners Think?
Those who are in favor of tighter gun control laws point to the statistics that show gun owners supporting expanded background checks. However, is this necessarily the case? Some are pointing to the wording of poll questions as answers. Questions like, “Would you support expanded background checks on gun purchases if it were to keep criminals from getting their hands on them?” Well, of course everyone would.
The fact is, the criminals aren't purchasing guns at their local sporting goods shop. They're getting them off the street illegally, and the strictest background check in the world will not solve the problem. In fact, if you look at all of the proposed amendments, not many make sense when it comes to the issue of keeping guns from getting in the wrong hands.
It all comes down to this: bad people are going to do bad things, even with laws in place. Senator Ayotte speaks to this when addressing the principal's daughter, believing that the answer to the issue lies in treating those individuals before they commit the crime in the first place. Even that isn't 100% foolproof.
Gun Debate and Hosting: Why Didn't The Bill Pass?
According to a co-sponsor of the bill, Senator Toomey, to The Mercury newspaper, “In the end it didn't pass because we're so politicized. There were some on my side who did not want to be seen helping the president do something he wanted to get done, just because the president wanted to do it.”
While that may be true, it also could be that senators see the opposition on shared hosting social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. It is true that there are a handful of supporters of gun control speaking out and posting related memes, but even more of them are showing their displeasure at the idea of tighter restrictions. If so many are in favor of tighter restrictions, why aren't they coming out and saying so in the public forum?
No matter how you feel about the issue, we all want to end senseless violence, whether it is against children or grown adults. But will tightening restrictions on guns – or even worse, taking guns away altogether – solve anything? This author thinks not. As nice as it would be, you just can't solve all of the world's problems with simple laws.
How do you feel? Which side of the issue do you take, and why? Do you think this is just lawmakers overreacting to an atrocious situation?