BY ADAM PRESTON
Firearms have served as a core part of the American Identity since our conceptual founding; with the words “Shall Not Be Infringed” burned into many of the American people’s minds. In a country where there are 120 guns for every 100 people, it should be of no surprise that many Americans are a little uncomfortable with that fact. In past years, with everything from mass shootings to homicides, gun ownership has come under intense scrutiny from much of the American public and according to the Pew Research Center, a slight majority of Americans support enacting further restrictions on gun manufacture, sale, and ownership. This can be seen in things such as the refusal to block a new piece of legislation from New York, The ATF’s recent ruling on pistol braces, and the enactment of Illinois’ Assault Weapons Ban.
American gun ownership has been under fire and a subject of debate long before the familiar headlines of mass shootings and murders with firearms, and goes all the way back to the 50s and 60s. Famous examples are the National Firearms Act of 1938 and the Gun Control Act of 1968, both limiting the type of firearm and the attachments one was allowed to have.
In light of these challenges on firearm ownership and the Second Amendment, however, comes something many would not expect after a hard push for more firearm regulations: a massive increase in firearm ownership. Between 2019 to 2022 there was a major increase in gun ownership, especially among minority groups like Black, Latino, and LGBTQ+ people. The sentiment for such a mixture of police and citizen violence in wake of the death of George Floyd is one that could be found even amongst students here at Truman.
“In a place like Kansas City, I can see how it’s a valid reason to own a gun for self-defense,” said student Danilo Brooks, “[But] You have to evaluate the purposes of why it has increased, and I think we need to check under the hood to see why it has increased.” A similar sentiment was also expressed by Christian Musch, citing that, “It is still important to buy and own and even carry for yourself and your family. There is always a chance for a good guy with a gun, but not everyone has the mental capacity to carry and own a firearm.”
But these are not the only things that seemed to have changed with regard to firearms. In fact, thanks to groups such as the Firearm Policy Coalition and Gun Owners of America even more things have begun to change such as The Bruen Decision which affirmed the Second Amendment as an Individual Right, and the outright refusal to enforce the new Illinois Assault Weapon Ban by different Sheriffs. But none of these new challenges to anti-gun arguments and policies are more stunning than the striking down of the Bump Stock Ban in a circuit court, with Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod citing, “A plain reading of the statutory language, paired with close consideration of the mechanics of a semi-automatic firearm, reveals that a bump stock is excluded from the technical definition of ‘machine gun’ set forth in the Gun Control Act and National Firearms Act.”
Reactions to this information from students have been generally mixed, with many sitting on the fence and citing the strike-down as: “Good and Bad” as said by Adams, with another student named Jesse Dotson saying that this event is, “Good—gun go brrrt,” followed by a saying, “When you take your safety into your own hands but lack the adequate tools with which you protect yourself, your hands are then tied.”
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