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Choose your sideThe concept is quite simple: for every important society issue, The Rift delivers to every citizen two opposing pitches, written by competent, and legitimate writers. The impact is that we help every citizen to form their very own opinion, and provide them the first steps for civic engagement..
Giffords Deputy Engagement Director
In just the last 10 years, over 300,000 Americans have died from gun violence. This is an undeniably staggering toll, but the numbers don’t tell the full story. There is no number that can capture the pain of sending your daughter to college only for her life to be snatched by an angry young man with a gun, but Bob Weiss knows that pain all too well. Statistics can’t convey what it’s like to receive a call in the middle of the night telling you that the child you called your “miracle baby” was murdered while doing something as simple as attending a movie, but Sandy Philips knows that awful feeling. And the grief of mothers like Darlene Wilson, who lost her son in one of the dozens of daily shootings in America that don’t make international headlines, is more crushing than numbers, or even words, can communicate.
The stories of these gun violence survivors are both uniquely horrifying and frighteningly common. Americans like to think of ourselves as living in an exceptional country, and when it comes to gun violence we certainly are an exception—no other wealthy nation experiences these tragedies as frequently as we do. Yet even in a nation as divided as ours, Americans largely agree on what we need to do to fix this problem. Over 90% of Americans support universal background checks, because they see the absurdity being required to show more identification to purchase cough syrup than a gun. And contrary to what some gun lobby fearmongers want you to believe, the people who support commonsense gun laws are not “coastal elitist gun grabbers.” They’re gun owners like Jane Mumey, whose father was the Vice President of the Texas Rifle Association and Jon Gold, a firearm instructor for 20 years, people who understand that keeping guns out of the wrong hands makes everyone, including law-abiding gun owners, safer.
Other policies, like those that would allow a court to temporarily remove firearms from individuals in crisis and programs that would invest in proven solutions that break the cycle of violence in cities, are supported by wide swaths of the American public. It is no longer a question of whether the US needs stronger gun laws—most Americans understand that we do. The question is, when will our elected officials listen to us?
Philip Van Cleave
President of Virginia Citizens Defense League
We should not strengthen gun control laws in the United States, we should weaken them. A person right to defend themselves and their families from death or serious bodily injury is the most important right they have. Their other rights don’t mean much if they are dead or have to spend the rest of their life as a quadriplegic because of a violent criminal attack. Gun laws only affect the law-abiding. Criminals ignore such laws. If guns were banned, for example, criminals would just get firearms on the black market, just like they do crack cocaine. To make society safer, violent criminals need to be removed from society, not guns. Crime is the pathogen and guns are the vaccine.