North Texas Daily

Taking a shot at new gun laws

Taking a shot at new gun laws

January 22
23:15 2013

I’d like to announce that I am a hypocrite. I distinctly remember posting that nobody needs guns, and that they should be banned on Facebook the day of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. But I don’t feel that way anymore – thanks to UNT’s smoking ban.

Banning smoking on a campus with a bunch of students over the age of 18, professors, construction workers and bus drivers is unjust, because some of those people smoke.

None of the aforementioned groups will be going away, especially the construction workers, because this campus is in a perpetual state of construction.

The problem with banning smoking is that there was no agreement, and groups of people are upset. The “powers that be” couldn’t come to a reasonable agreement to appease both sides, like instituting designated smoking areas.

But if you choose to attend, work or teach at this public university, you must abide by its rules.

But constructive dialogue fashioned to satisfy the needs of multiple parties is an essential part of how the U.S. is governed. An outright ban of firearms in the same vein that smoking was handled here would be undemocratic.

Among developed nations, here is how we stack up with murders involving guns. In 2011, the United Kingdom had 0.07 gun homicides per 100,000 people, as opposed to our three per 100,000 people. Canada had 0.5 deaths per 100,000 people and Australia had 0.13 per 100,000.

The thing that these nations have in common is strict gun control laws. Australians like their guns too, and they have roughly 3.5 million of them. That didn’t stop the country from instituting stricter gun laws after a mass shooting in 1996 that left thirty-five Australians dead.

After the shooting, all automatic and semi-automatic weapons were banned, plus licenses, background checks and waiting periods were taken more seriously. Since then, Australia has seen no mass shootings.

As you can see in my picture on this page, I am black. So, it goes without saying that I wouldn’t be much of a fan of the 13th Amendment being tinkered with. Since I’m a journalist, the First Amendment is my gospel.

Having those amendments stripped away would be a disaster – but if they posed a genuine threat to life, they should be changed in a way that gives power to the people and allows for two opposing viewpoints to come to a compromise.

The gun laws we have now aren’t cutting it. Guns in the U.S. caused 11,078 deaths in 2010.

It’s true, the second amendment does vaguely give citizens the right to bear arms, but the most important document written in this nation’s history reads as follows: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

The writers of this document emphasized these three things for a reason – they’re the fundamental rights that keep us breathing – and the bottom line is that our current gun laws have infringed upon them.

It is time to come to a compromise.

H. Drew Blackburn is an English senior. He can be reached at

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  1. anon
    anon January 23, 19:01

    I smoke on campus. They can ban it all they want, won’t stop me.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Rebecca
    Rebecca January 23, 20:36

    Your take on the issues are certainly intriguing, and very well-written. But your argument seems logically flawed to me. The inalienable rights with which we are endowed by the Constitution stop before they begin to infringe upon the rights of others. I believe you have no more right to pollute the air I must breathe on my way into class than you do to shoot me in the face. Smoking is a personal choice, and if it is to be made, then it shouldn’t be one from which the people around you also have to suffer.

    Compromise may work in many situations, but in some, a choice simply must be made one way or the other. Is smoking to be allowed on campus, or not? The “powers that be”—who do indeed hold the power in our non-democratically-run school—have made the business decision to ban it. As a consumer, your choices are the same as they would be in any other situation: adjust to it, or patronize another institution.

    The majority of employers in the country do not allow workers to smoke on the job, so your point about the construction workers also seems illogical to me. I may have admittedly missed your point though.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Confused Citizen
    Confused Citizen January 27, 06:35

    I don’t understand what you being black and tinkering with the 13th amendment has to do with gun control. Also, smoking is a terrible comparison for the subject. Who on this planet is going to willfully tell you, besides big tobacco, that second hand smoke isn’t dangerous? Point being, cigarettes kill. Guns do not.

    Reply to this comment
  4. matthew
    matthew January 27, 06:37

    If you want to have a conversation regarding gun laws please do email me.

    First I’d like to point out that the UK is the most violent country in the EU and has more violent crimes per 100,000 people than the US. Also the crime rate in the US has decreased over the last 20 years by 50% while gun ownership has gone up. Another fact is that states that allow open carry and concealed carry of firearms have a noticeably less amount of crime happen in their states.
    You say that guns infringe upon our in alienable rights specifically the life part.
    11,078 gun deaths in the US however more than 1500 of those deaths were caused by police and citizens defending their LIFE. Guns are used to protect people 65k to 2.5 million times a year depending on whose stats you want to believe. By taking away guns or punishing law abiding gun owners, myself included you are infringing on my right to protect my life and infringing on my liberty based upon the acts of a few. If we were to give up guns we would be at the mercy of the criminals who don’t care about gun laws and those thousands of people every year who use their gun to save themselves would die.

    Your bit about Australia having no more mass shootings is true however Australia has more violent crimes than the UK and the US.

    Your article seems to be more of a knee jerk reaction to the latest shooting in sandy hook. You don’t once mention that less than 400 people die every year from mass shootings. More people die from drunk driving every year. Allot of people also say to ban “assault rifles” when rifles are used less in less than 3.5% of all gun related crimes in the US and Adam lanza the shooter at Sandy hook did not even use a rifle. This also brings me to my next point. Sandy hook is located in a state the Brady campaign says is the 4th best state in terms of gun control laws go figure right? Sandy hook and most schools across the nation are “GUN FREE ZONES” AKA a person can go into any school and shoot as many people as possible before police arrive and have no threat to themselves because law abiding citizens are restricted to defending themselves… That infringes on the right to life. So I can sit in my class room and a criminal can walk in with a gun and because of the law I can’t defend myself?? In Utah and Colorado several universities allow their students and faculty to conceal carry their guns on campus guess how many gun related crimes have there been?? NONE

    If you really want to blame someone blame the government. In the 1950s you could have an anti-tank gun shipped to your doorstep with no background or checks of any sorts for less than $200. But back then there were plenty of metal health institutions and people who were deemed dangerous were put away the government however did away with that and now almost 90% of all mass shootings were done by deranged people who needed help.

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