By We’Ced Youth Media
Photo by Alyssa Castro
Ed Note: We’Ced youth journalists recently spent time discussing the massacre at the Emanuel African African Methodist Episcopalian Church in downtown Charleston, which had a white shooter killing nine African-Americans. Many We’Ced members expressed outrage at the actions of the shooter, but the conversation soon began to circle around another issue: gun control. The tragic violence of this incident rekindled questions about how we regulate guns and guns access in our country. Below are our reflections:
“After the tragedy in Charleston, two issues have sprung up in the media. One is regarding the Confederate flag and the other is gun control which is in need of serious review. Evaluation for mental illness is only one of the ‘common sense’ regulations that should be in place. However, enforcement of these [gun] laws can be difficult so the primary focus should not be on gun laws. Instead, people need to have an honest conversation about the moral issues our society faces with the ultimate goal of making change.”
– Miguel Garcia, 21
“Yes, there should be more gun control after this incident in Charleston. This issue about guns has been around for a long time, but only resurfaces when tragedy strikes. It is unbelievable how we act on something after something horrible has happened. ”
– Guadalupe Reyes, 17
“Arms should be regulated, not banned. No person should own a gun without being psychoanalyzed. No person should even enter a shooting range without being medically cleared.
Violence cannot always be predicted and it most certainly cannot be taken back. Only arm those who are responsible, not those inclined to commit violence.”
– Daniela Ceja, 18
“I don’t think we need more gun laws. I do however, think we need ‘better’ gun laws that can help regulate access to them and prevent any tragic incidents.”
“I feel that after Charleston there should be more regulations against purchasing a gun. Really cracking down with requirements such as age, background checks and criminal record is very important. Guns are dangerous weapons and I believe that it is important to distribute them with care.”
– Deborah Juarez, 18.
“I think that if they could add more gun control without taking away its use for hunting, then I am fine with more gun control laws. As long as these laws can limit or completely stop incidents like school shootings, I will agree with them. But in all reality, what gangster is going to hand over their illegal, unregistered gun just because the government says that it is the right thing to do?”
– Alyssa Mitchell, 18
“Gun control is a touchy subject. I feel that guns should not be completely banned. We need serious gun reform, one that will prevent current loopholes such as the one that allowed the Charleston murderer to obtain his guns. Such reform includes stricter background checks and reform of inheritance laws.”
– Maria Hammett, 18.
“I don’t think there should be more laws concerning guns. Instead, I think the laws we already have now should just be more thorough. If they were more thorough, then we might have less cases like Charleston.
For example, we could have more effective background checks. These background checks would help to make sure that the people who have guns will use them for good reasons instead of committing crimes. ”
– Justice Hess, 15
“I believe that gun control should be dependent on the buyer. Background checks should be in place, but not for people who inherit guns or use guns as a way of life [like hunting or law enforcement]. Guns are used for self-defense and by law enforcement and the military, so we need some guns. Guns should not be blamed for the crime, but rather the person who committed the crime should be punished.”
– Alex Salas, 17
“After reading articles about gun laws, I am still not sure how gun control laws could be improved. I think that I need to do more research about this topic. However, I remember reading in an article about guns in Switzerland and how in that country there are less civilian shootings compared to the shootings in the U.S. I’m thinking that by studying gun control laws of other places, like Switzerland, America could better itself.”
– Pa Yang, 16