The past several weeks brought a lot of pain, confusion and heartbreak to several people in our country, particularly those directly involved with the unfortunate school shooting in Parkland. This event has sparked an intense debate over gun control and how we as a nation can find a way to ensure that this will never take place again. I think that one thing everyone can agree on is this: no matter where they are from or their political affiliation, this was a tragedy that no one ever wants to see happen again. The question is, how do we change our nation for the better, to hopefully end these senseless crimes once and for all?

        The left has been pushing for increased gun control. From a conservative viewpoint, it appears that anything short of a total ban and collection of firearms would not appease the Democratic Party, although it would be illogical to think that all people who consider themselves Democrats to agree with such a notion, as approximately 23% of registered Democrat households have a firearm in their home. This shows that, while conservatives may feel there is a liberal waiting around every corner who wants to take their guns away, this is not the case. There is clearly a sizable amount of people who express their Second Amendment right who hold different political values than conservatives who are generally perceived as the only people who care about gun ownership.

        On the other side, liberals who are for increased gun control may feel like a lot of conservatives are stubborn and unwilling to hold a discussion about the possibility of regulating their firearms. They feel like the NRA has a hold on the right so strong that conservatives cannot think to agree with anyone else. I believe that if a conversation were to take place, many would be surprised at the number of pro-Second Amendment people who believe in common-sense regulations on firearms. With such animosity toward each other and a lack of understanding of each other’s viewpoints, it makes it extremely difficult to find common ground and an effective compromise.

        If we cannot come to a compromise over how to end the senseless killings in our schools and on our streets, we can at least begin to understand the other side’s perspective. I believe that we cannot ever solve this problem if we maintain the idea that there is a quick fix or a bill or law that will end the madness. This is a problem which we, as citizens of the United States, must come together and have the determination to improve ourselves and our families to fix this. Many see this as a gun problem and blame guns, the way they look or how many rounds fit into a magazine. I, on the other hand, believe this to be a people problem because a gun cannot fire a single round without human involvement. A gun is a tool, just like a hammer or steak knife. If we are to see any sort of change in our world, then we must begin with proper education of ourselves and our children: education not only of proper handling and use of firearms, but education of morality. What is right and what is wrong? If we can improve upon this and ensure that every single person who grows up in our country has been properly educated on these matters, then we can find something else to blame other than ourselves. Until then, we must refuse to accept the notion that people do not have to accept responsibility for their actions simply because they had a gun in their hand.

        If my home and the 55 million other homes that have legal gun owners can find a way to make their firearms feared, respected and safely handled, then why can’t everyone else? The will to be moral or educated on gun safety is neglected somewhere along the line by those who choose to commit these heinous crimes.