US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Spike after Sandy Hook: Can we curb gun violence with more guns?

By Caitlyn Schmid | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

Yesterday marked the eight month anniversary of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School that claimed the lives of 20 children and eight adults in Newtown, Connecticut last December. Many continue to grieve daily over the tragic events that occurred that day.

Despite more recent efforts and those of the past to curb gun control and to pass laws intended to curb the constant wave of gun-related violence with common-sense reforms such as universal background checks, CNN reported this morning that the demand for guns has spiked in recent months. Many have flocked to gun stores to get their hands on weapons just in case laws are passed that would restrict them from getting ahold of them in the future.

This is not the first time gun sales have spiked following a massive shooting. Just days after a gunman killed 12 in a Colorado movie theater in 2012, background checks to purchase firearms jumped 41 percent. A 60 percent increase was seen after the death of six in an Arizona parking lot in 2011.

An increase in sales in cities like Newtown has me thinking about why a city with a fresh wound from violence would want to retaliate with the same type of problem that caused the wound. For a community that has seen so much tragedy and heartbreak inflicted by gun violence, one would think that the community would want to rid themselves of potential future violence by removing the problem from the source.

Yes, Adam Lanza is responsible for pulling the trigger. However, had a gun been absent from the situation, a tragedy like this would never have happened in the first place.

Living in Chicago, I see my fair share of headlines involving gun violence. Fatalities exceeded 500 in 2012. Yet instead of taking a stand and doing their part to stop the violence, people buy more guns.

The woman in the CNN video clip claims the popular argument that the government will take away her right to own a gun based on the 2nd Amendment in the Constitution. She fears that she is close to losing that right.

However, gun control goes deeper than just an infringement of rights.

People may be purchasing guns so that they feel safer in their homes, but they are contributing to a culture of violence that only begets more violence. In order to get to the root of the problem, we need to change the fear in our culture and how people think about guns. Only then can we begin preventing massacres such as Sandy Hook in the future.

May we move from a culture of death into a culture of life. Let’s stop the violence now.

Image: Flickr photo cc by (vincent desjardins)