On December 16, 2012, President Barrack Obama announced to the American public his four suggestions to Congress on how to decrease gun violence in the United States. Though banning military guns, cracking down on illegal gun trafficking, assigning police officers to public schools, and doing research on mental illness will all play an important role in decreasing gun violence, there is one inexpensive object that is free to all that can decrease gun violence: Common Sense. According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary common sense is a “sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts.” Everyone has common sense, yet people in general do not always use it as much as they should. In a country where gun violence is resulting in hundreds of deaths each year, it is up to gun owners to use common sense to prevent innocent people from dying.
Nancy Lanza, the mother of Adam Lanza, knew something was wrong with her son, something more than just autism. Though he was awkward and lacked social skills, he was known to go into outburst in high school that required the school to contact his mother since she was the only one who could calm him down. Adam avoided social interaction, had zero friends, and was teased; he was the type of person who could become the next Columbine Shooter. My generation went to high school after the Columbine School Shooting, knowing that the loners being picked on could resort to murder in order to take revenge on the school bullies. He was an unemployed 20-years-old, living with his mother after dropping out of Western Connecticut State University. After his parents divorced in 2010, he cut off all contact with his father and older brother, an example on how he was angry about his parents divorce. Adam was also seeing a psychiatrist. Something was wrong with Adam, yet his mother kept several types of guns in the house, including the Glock 10-mm handgun, Sig Sauer 9-mm handgun, and Bushmaster AR-15 assault rifle used in the Sandy Brook Elementary School Shooting. When Adam went to Dick’s Sporting Goods to purchase a rifle, he chanted his mind after he was told that there was a waiting period. He knew at home he had the Bushmaster AR-15, the assault-type weapon similar to the M-16 rifle used by the U.S. military, capable of firing 45 rounds per minute. Adam also knew how to use the guns since his mother had taken him to the gun range several times over the years… Even though Nancy knew there was something wrong with her son, she kept several guns in the house and taught Adam how to shoot. No parent with a child suffering from a mental illness should own guns in her house, much less teach the child how to use it.
On Christmas Eve 2012, William Spengler, 62, murdered his sister and then set fire to his house in hopes of burning down his neighborhood and killing everyone. When firefighters arrived at the scene, he used a semiautomatic rifle to kill two firefighters. After exchanging gun fire with an off-duty cop, Spengler used a handgun to fatally shoot himself. Spengler was not new to murder, after all, he used a hammer to kill his grandmother years ago when she refused to give him money for drugs.This also meant that Spengler was a convicted felon and not able to buy guns, yet he was able to obtain the two guns used in the attack. Did he purchase the guns from a guy selling guns from the trunk of his car? Did he purchase the guns from a gang member in the shady part of town? Did he steal the guns from a woman who lives alone? No, he asked his 20-year-old neighbor to assist him to a gun shop where he picked out the guns while she made the purchase, a “straw purchase.” Did Dawn Nguyen know Spengler was a former convict? There is a possibility because other neighbors have told police that they knew he killed his grandmother and served time in jail, making it possible that Nguyen knew she was committing a crime by purchasing a gun for a convicted felon. But even if she did not know, why did she not question why a man in his sixties was not able to purchase the guns himself? It is common knowledge that only convicted felons and locked-up mental illness patients cannot purchase guns. No one should purchase guns for someone she barely knows.
On September 12, 2012, a two-year-old boy accidentally shot himself with a handgun and died. He was at home with his parents, one of which is a cop, when he picked up the loaded gun from the table and shot himself. Sadly, this type of gun accident is why 120 people between the ages 1-19 died in 2010, according to Centers for Disease Control. Every year hundreds of children die from guns because their parents did not keep guns away from them. Even a police officer, who knows how to use a gun and how dangerous a gun is, kept a loaded gun on a table in the same house as his toddler lived. Why would parents keep a loaded gun on a table? Did they think their “terrible two” son would not find the gun? As every parent knows, toddlers are magnetically drawn to dangerous objects; but yet some parents still do not keep their guns locked up on a high shelf. If one must own a gun in the same house as where children live, then they need to keep the gun unloaded, the bullets in a separate location, the safety on, and the gun locked up on a high shelf. Too many innocent children die each year because their own parents lack the common sense to keep a loaded gun away from a child.
The United States government can pass all the gun laws it desires but the laws will not work if people lack the common sense to follow the laws. Gun owners should not keep guns in the same house where someone with a mental disability lives or teach a person with a mental illness on how to use a gun. A citizen should not purchase a gun for a stranger/neighbor/friend in any circumstance since there could be a reason why he himself could not purchase the gun; plus, the gun buyer could also face 10 years in prison for purchasing a gun for a convicted felon. Parents should not keep a loaded gun in a spot where children can access the gun. If everyone just had common sense when it came to guns, then there would be less gun violence in the country.