Whenever a tragedy happens such as what occurred in Aurora, Colorado, our nation becomes polarized on the issues that lead to such a disaster. We discuss mental illness and the signs that were missed. Movies (Batman in 2012 and the Matrix in 1999) are scrutinized as catalysts for violence. Theorists and experts are interviewed to give the public their opinions about what went wrong.

Another result of mass murder incidents is the debate on gun control laws in the United States. I don’t try to hide the fact that I’m a liberal independent. With that said, I think that the time has come for tighter gun control laws.

I know the history and reasons behind the 2nd Amendment being included in the Constitution, so I won’t be giving an American history lesson. I do know that the same issues and problems people faced in 1776 aren’t the same issues people face in 2012.  I’m pretty sure that British Redcoats aren’t going to come marching down your block demanding tariffs. I’ve lived in the south (Tennessee) for an extended period of time so I’m familiar with people’s affinity for firearms. Hunting is a way of life for many. A license to carry a concealed firearm is just as easy to obtain as a license to drive a motor vehicle. Even with living in that environment, I still don’t like guns.

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I’m not encouraging the government taking away guns from people, but there is no reason that it should be legal for ordinary citizens to purchase assault rifles. Average Joe from down the street isn’t fighting al-Qaeda on his way to work, so what’s the need for him to have an M-16 assault rifle? Banning such weapons won’t prevent murders, but it’ll reduce the likelihood of situations like what went down in Aurora. That amount of carnage wouldn’t have happened if the suspect only possessed a handgun.

There will be no discussion on gun control laws in the near future because this is an election year. Most Democrats who are gun control advocates won’t do anything to anger or push away voters who own firearms. This is especially true in red or purple states. The NRA still has a lot of influence in politics and will throw money to whoever supports looser control of firearms. Even President Obama waited five days after the tragedy to make comments on gun control laws. His comments weren’t definitive enough for my liking.

After the shooting in Aurora, you would expect mature conversation about how the saturation of guns can only increase gun-related murders. Do you know what happened? In Colorado, there was a 41% increase in gun sales following the shooting. We’re fed the message that those people in the theater wouldn’t have died if they had been armed. Following that logic, every American should own a gun. I can only hope that the American people can see that tighter gun control is one of many solutions to the problem of violence we have.

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How do you feel about guns? Do you think we need stricter or more lenient gun control laws? Do you think that the accessibility such weapons aids in the amount of large scale violence we see, or would it happen anyway?