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viewpoint

Common sense and guns

| Wednesday, September 14, 2016

One of the main reasons I am proud to call myself a conservative is the emphasis the ideology places on common sense. From issues ranging from abortion to tax reform, conservatives often observe the facts and formulate logical positions. Unfortunately, however, many conservatives seem to lose such a faculty of reason when it comes to the issue of gun control.

While some of my fellow conservatives may call me a gun-grabbing Marxist for writing this column, I strongly affirm that I am a staunch defender of the second amendment. I completely reject the far-left myth that banning all guns would reduce crime. With that said, the second amendment is not an endorsement for any citizen to obtain an arsenal of mass killing machines. In actuality, everyone recognizes this fact. You do not hear too many people argue for the legalization of fully automatic military rifles or military grade rocket launchers. It is obvious that there is a line between reasonable self-defense measures and unnecessary recklessness. The disagreement is found in where such a line begins. And while it may be difficult to pinpoint the exact location of the line, common sense can get us close.

I think there is legitimate inquiry warranted to the question of whether certain legalized weapons in the United States, such as semi-automatic rifles, are not reasonable instruments of self-defense but rather unneeded killing machines. I am not arguing wholeheartedly against semi-automatic weapons, but, at the very least, we should be able to have a reasonable and thoughtful debate. After all, many of the arguments I have heard in favor of semi-automatic assault rifles are, frankly, illogical. If you justify the legalization of semi-automatic assault rifles on self-defense grounds, who are you afraid of breaking into your house?  The Russian military?  Similarly, defending semi-automatic rifles out of some fear of the American government becoming tyrannical is irrational. The American government is not going to suddenly transform into a bloodthirsty dictatorship, and if they did, we would not stand a chance — even with semi-automatic weapons. 

I understand that criminals will obtain weapons whether they are legal or illegal, but we might as well make it more difficult. I also understand why some people are so passionately opposed to gun control measures. People are afraid that the government is overstepping and infringing on constitutional rights. However, one cannot let common sense succumb to fear. The founding fathers never could have foreseen the technological advancement of weaponry. Since we cannot ask the founding fathers how far the second amendment extends, we must utilize our God-given gift of common sense.

Even if some conservatives cannot commit to restricting semi-automatic guns, they should at least agree to other regulations. Unfortunately, some conservatives cannot even agree to enforce universal background checks on those buying guns. This frustrates me because arguing against background checks is a complete and utter rejection of common sense.

I am not claiming to have all the answers when it comes to gun control. However, the answer is not to either pass more legislation or to enforce our current laws; it is both. When we witness what happened at Sandy Hook or Orlando, we have to do something. We are not going to eradicate violence of that nature, but we must do anything to make it more difficult to execute. Instead of wasting time with political banter, let’s just try to curtail the problem. It is time to throw away party platforms and political ideology, and just use some damn common sense. 

Eddie is a sophomore from Orland Park, Illinois. He is majoring in Economics and Political Science and considering pursuing law school after his time as an undergraduate at the University of Notre Dame. He can be reached at [email protected]

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Eddie Damstra

Eddie is a junior from Orland Park, Illinois. He is majoring in Economics and Political Science with a minor in Constitutional Studies and plans on pursuing law school after his time as an undergraduate at the University of Notre Dame.

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