Editorial: Gun owners should be able to pass competency tests

It’s only been a month since the devastating massacre of schoolchildren at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14.

School shootings unfortunately seem to be more and more common — including the most recent incident that left three people wounded at a community college in Houston, Texas, on Tuesday. Naturally, the issue of guns and gun regulation has been a hot topic for those Americans on both sides of the issue.

Opponents of gun regulation argue that schools ought to be protected by armed guards packing heat.

Still, others endorse a lifting of prohibitions of guns on university campuses, such as the failed 2012 bill in the Arizona House of Representatives introduced by Rep. Ron Gould, R-Lake Havasu. The bill would have allowed public university students to carry concealed weapons around campus.

More guns means more chaos. While The State Press does not advocate getting rid of guns altogether, it’s clear that there is a problem with guns in this country.

Some people like guns and some people don’t. For those of us who do, there should be rigorous training and licensing requirements for types of firearms available to the public — and certain types of weapons developed exclusively for combat should be reserved for military purposes only.

People are killed with guns every day. People are killed with cars every day. Cars are regulated. You must pass a written and practical test in order to legally drive a car.

Why shouldn’t we assess a potential gun owner’s competency as well?

Police officers with extensive training in firearms maintenance and marksmanship are best suited to prevent gun violence on university campuses.

Add in several well-meaning but ill-trained students in a hypothetical firefight, and you may end up with more casualties if law enforcement officers cannot immediately distinguish between aggressors and defenders.

We have the right to an education. An intrinsic component to the educational process is a feeling of safety and security in the learning environment.

Part of the social contract that constitutes civil society is that we must make some reasonable sacrifices for the public good.

Schools should be safe. It is unreasonable that possession of a deadly weapon with dramatic destructive potential should be more valuable to us than safety.

 

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