by Brianna Silvers 

Brianna Silvers is a first-year health sciences major from Maple Grove MN (photo courtesy of Brianna Silvers).

Brianna Silvers is a first-year health sciences major from Maple Grove MN (photo courtesy of Brianna Silvers).

My heart hurts. It hurts for the 17 innocent lives killed at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day. It hurts for the ones killed in Las Vegas, at Sandy Hook Elementary, Columbine, and all the mass shootings in between. On a day that was supposed to celebrate love, we witnessed another mass murder. And my heart really hurts because it’s all becoming too normal.

It’s too normal to turn on the news and hear about someone shot and killed. I’ve heard all the arguments about gun control. The second amendment allows us to bear arms in this country for protection, so who is the government to take that away? And on the opposite side, guns are only used for harm, and these weapons of mass destruction need to be regulated, especially assault rifles. I was afraid for a long time to take a stance on this issue, but it’s gotten to the point where I can’t go through life passively and pretend that everything is fine. People—little kids, students, teachers, people with loved ones and families, and people who have value in the eyes of God—are dying. Not just dying but being murdered. By other people with guns.

I’ve been told anything can be used as a weapon—and if someone has the time to figure out how to use an everyday object as a weapon, I’m sure there’d be more than enough time to stop them—but guns were created for the sole purpose of harming either animals or people. No one buys a gun for protection with the intent of keeping an intruder on their property safe; the gun is used for injuring or killing the intruder to keep them from harming you or your family. Protecting your family is an important thing, and until this moment, I would have wholeheartedly supported an individual’s right to buy a gun.

But people are dying. The students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman didn’t go to school that day expecting not to come home. Parents didn’t send their daughters and sons, some of whom were preparing to leave for college and start the rest of their lives, off to school to not have them come home. Spouses didn’t kiss their partners’ goodbye expecting it to be the last time.

Why does anyone have to live in constant fear of an unstable individual legally purchasing a gun and shooting up a school or public place? This shouldn’t be an issue in our society. And I’ve heard both sides. Many conservatives say that teachers should be armed with guns to protect their students. Really? You think putting guns into the hands of people that don’t necessarily want to carry them and promoting violence even more is going to help things? That the solution is more guns, putting criminals to death, and encouraging fighting hate with violence is going to be beneficial to bridging the ever-growing divide in our country? Many liberals say guns should be outlawed completely. Really? So people can’t hunt or own guns as trained officials? Probably not the best idea.

The problem with the second amendment is that it was created at a time when guns could only hold a few rounds at a time, not when a shooter with a deranged mind could kill 17 people in 3 minutes.

The laws of our country have been created to protect the rights of the individuals who live here, and have progressed with time, because time changes the environment and our society. What is the benefit to leaving every law exactly the same over time? This country would be in shambles without many of the amendments made to the constitution.

Progress cannot progress without change. All society wants to focus on is the divide between the two points of view. As if for a conservative, something a liberal says is automatically wrong, and vice versa. I refuse to believe that this country is divided enough not to see the benefit of preventing innocent lives from being stolen away too soon, and I refuse to believe that we are too stubborn or divided to work on change. Jesus calls us to love one another, and in loving one another, though we may not agree with one another’s opinion, we must respect each other as children of a God who does not proclaim division, does not proclaim violence, but proclaims love. Whether this means creating policy changes to ensure that those who do buy guns are responsible, stable, trained citizens, introducing better measures to effectively care for those who are mentally ill, protecting school students, or other measures that haven’t even been thought of yet, we need to make a change. Let’s be on the right side of history. Let’s fight for liberty, love of one another, and most importantly, let’s fight for life.

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