The University of Maine student newspaper since 1875
Wednesday, Oct. 7, 3:46 p.m.

Changes to gun laws a necessity after recent tragedies

After a year of several firearm-related massacres, our nation is rethinking its gun laws in a huge way. These shootings, from that of Senator Gifford of Arizona to the one in Newtown, Conn. that killed 20 children and six teachers, have caused many states to put laws into motion to prevent people who are not mentally stable from acquiring firearms and licenses and to ban semi-automatic weapons.

Is there any reason that you may need to purchase a semi-automatic or automatic weapon? Think hard. I’ll give you a hint — there isn’t, unless you are a member of the military waged in war. These weapons are not used for hunting game. People do not carry uzis, or set up .50 caliber rifles to hunt deer. Unless of course you want lead-flavored venison, you do not need to hunt with an AK-47.

The state and federal government do not want to take away people’s right to bear arms, they simply want to prevent awful and senseless crimes, like Sandy Hook Elementary, from ever happening again. Creating new laws on firearms will not stop killing. What the government is trying to accomplish is what they feel they can control; availability of firearms and their purchase by people who are not mentally stable. The government cannot control someone’s thoughts or prevent people from going through psychotic breaks.

In many of the articles I have recently read on the issue, people are repeating over and over how they do not want their rights taken away from them by the government because of recent events. Yet, what our society has to realize is that the idea that a gun protects you from harm, doesn’t apply anymore.

We as a society need to move on from this archaic form of thinking and begin to realize that guns and firearms alienate people. They cause the person in possession of them to believe that, with ownership of a piece of metal, nothing bad will happen to them, and anyone who wants to tango will have to suffer the consequences. As a community we need to stand up to violence. We need to stop being scared of each other and start forming bonds. With a strong community bond, you don’t need to be scared of your neighbors. Instead of threatening, we should be helping each other, talking and communicating, and looking to change the future for the children of our communities that look to us as mentors.

My suggestion is this: Go out, talk to your neighbors and have them over for dinner. Bring them their paper when you pick up yours. Start caring for others and it will be returned back to you in a big way. We do not need to be scared anymore. What we need is to listen to each other. People like Adam Lanza do not just wake up in the morning and spontaneously go on a killing spree. There are warning signs and if we had a more tight knit community these signs would not have gone unnoticed and he could have gotten help.

Communities like ours need to believe in each other. I, for one, believe that caring for the people around you leads them to be less hostile and more prosperous. Community connections cannot be put into law. If we change the way we approach situations, we can curb killings and make our society safer and happier.