Andrew CrightonAndrew Crighton


So there was another shooting Sunday.

Someone walked into a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas during their service and opened fire. At the time of writing this there were over 20 people reported dead. Included among those people is the pastor’s 14 year old daughter.

This. This is what makes me angry. It is also what puts me in a spot where I have no idea what I actually think.

I know that I have written a lot about firearms in this volume of the paper, focusing on the concealed carry of firearms on campus. But I have also touched on my feelings about gun rights in general.

Although there has been a lot about guns in The Bengal, I can’t help but say that there is going to be a little more.

In a previous editorial, following the shooting in Las Vegas, I focused on the process of demonizing politicians and people who call for one position, or another.

Today is going to be different, though. Today, I want to make my own call to action.

I am simply so tired of all of the shootings in this country. When these events happen, I find myself in a revolving door of anger, sadness and aimlessness; wildly swinging from one emotion to another and repeating the cycle over and over, and in different orders.

It is hard to keep your head level and clear when you decide to write on these sorts of topics. When inside of that whirlpool of emotions the easiest thing to do is just rage and rant; to just scream the thoughts as they appear in your mind. So I am going to do my best to lay out my argument while remaining calm and civil.

The aftermath of these events are confusing personally. How do I reconcile the two very different opinions I have about firearms in this country?

On the one hand, I believe that it is very important for private citizens to be able to own firearms for protection of themselves, their property and their loved ones. But when this keeps on happening, you have to wonder what if the common thread that runs through all of these tragedies has anything to do with it.

From my perspective, that isn’t really even a question. To me, it would seem idiotic to say that maybe, the one consistent part of all shootings, that has experienced the least change, has anything to do with it. That common thread is obviously the state of gun laws in the U.S.

If nothing changes, or if the changes are only token, then how can we expect to see anything change?

My call to action, the favor I ask from you, is to have a conversation with someone who has slightly different opinions than you on firearms laws.

The only part of the conversation most of us ever hear are the two extremes.

Should we ban guns? No. Should anyone be able to own whatever they want, end of story? No.

Now that those parameters are set, maybe we can have an actual discussion.

My position is that it should not be as easy as it is to purchase a firearm. Particularly in states like Idaho, it is stupidly simple. Walk into a store, and 15 minutes later you are the proud owner of a new gun.

Also, there are certain types of firearms and accessories that should be of no consequence if they were no longer available to private citizens. Examples include machine guns and accessories like bump stocks.

The reason is simple. The potential damage that these weapons can cause far outweighs the benefits to individual citizens.

Fully automatic fire serves no purpose to the private citizen. There is one justifiable reason to own a machine gun or bump stock: recreation. They are fun, they are cool and in the case of machine guns, they can be a part of history.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with having fun shooting a machine gun, but your life is not changed in any meaningful way by not being able to own one. The potential increase in safety however is greatly increased.

If you are a private citizen who has a tangible need for full auto, then I am sorry to say that you probably belong to a group of people most citizens would say really shouldn’t have them. I’m looking at you extremist militias.

I would be the last one to say that we should ban all, or even most, types of firearms. But if we want the trend of shootings to change, we have to change something. We CANNOT feel sorry for ourselves and change nothing.

One mass shooting, shame on you. So many nobody even agrees on how to count them?

Shame on U.S.

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