GrowMama Dialogues: Is Gun Control the Answer?

When I heard the news of the second largest school shooting in our history, I am certain my reaction was not unique. Immediately I was shaking with fear for my loved ones, terrified for the world they will inherit from us.

As the day progressed, my core beliefs regarding gun control surfaced. I am a believer in the necessity of weapons for personal protection and as a deterrent. That being said, if I’m not allowed somewhere carrying a gun, it makes sense to ensure that no one else will be either.

I have had some friends tell me, “Mona, I love you, but we need to get rid of those guns.” They are upset. I understand. This is a perfectly logical reaction to a gun-related tragedy. Yet, I hope to offer a balanced view to keeping a weapon. I also hope to bring to light the existence of underlying problems that we are ignoring because we’re too busy discussing guns.

I agree with gun control. There is no reason for high-powered weapons to be readily available. A child in any state should never have access to a weapon, much less be able to order one.  However, I disagree with the idea of disarming the general population for the following reasons:

  • One is less likely to shoot up a place that they know is protected and armed. They go for malls, movie theaters, schools, etc.
  • I am not convinced that guns will be harder to obtain if they’re outlawed. In NJ, one has many hoops to jump through to obtain one. In a black market, it is just about money. I fear stricter gun laws will only create the perfect lucrative storm for more criminal activity. Murder is illegal, drugs are illegal. Yet they occur freely. This is not about laws as much as it is about society.
  • Stricter gun laws will not solve the problem of violent crimes. London’s crime rate has tripled since disarming its citizens. Unfortunately, there are not any proper studies on how many violent crimes are actually thwarted because the victim was armed (or perceived to be armed.)
  • I fear an increase in arson, bombing, biological weapons, and other methods of mass-murder because the real problem is that a frighteningly large segment of our citizens are lost and this deranged, and that has not been properly addressed.
  • Bottom line- the world is crazy and we need to be protected. Disarming citizens in such a large country will fuel and power the criminal rings, leaving only the ones who may need arms, disarmed. The idea that disarming everyone will make it harder for criminals to get guns may make sense to some degree, or it may backfire, making us all essentially sitting ducks.

Fortunately, we can look back on well-documented examples of states and countries who banned arms, and the outcome of this decision. I encourage everyone who wants to know to look at the research with open eyes. I don’t claim that I know what the answer is, but my fear is that we will be spending our time barking up the wrong tree without addressing the root causes of the problem.

There is an alarmingly large number of young people in the US with the intent to kill en masse. The question is how to identify them without further stigmatizing people who need help, because if we do that, the ones who need help will only hide it. Instead of focusing on the method used to kill (which is of course necessary), we should also ask ourselves what’s happening to our young boys? How are so many becoming desensitized to violence? Why is mass killing even viewed as an option for them?

Our history is also marred with violent wars. We can’t expose these young men to such brutality in the media and war culture, without the proper education to put it in perspective. How can we accomplish this? I wish I saw more posts on social networks about the violent virtual (as well as real) world that we’re exposing our young boys to without a thought.

I encourage a dialogue on this issue from all points of view without causing or taking offense.

Mona Abdala

Mona is a mom of two young daughters who lives and works in NJ and is passionate about all things expressive. She is a teacher, fine artist and photographer (basemandmona.com). She is also a coffee connoisseur and your can find her café online at roastingpostcafe.com. 

  • dove

    i don’t know enough about the gun control debate….but I do agree that parents are struggling against a violent gaming culture and lack of resources for the mentally ill. I hope the latter get as much dialogue and coverage as the former.

  • Marwa

    As persuasive as your arguments are, Mona, I keep thinking of Adam Lanza’s mother. She was a school teacher, she was wealthy, she was educated- she probably was never, ever a violent woman- she seems like a responsible person to own a gun and she was probably doing it for the protection of her children as well as her estate. This is one of the reasons that makes this tragedy so unbearable. It’s either that everyone has a gun or no one has a gun, and I would definitely prefer that no one has one. There are also deaths that occur accidentally due to misfiring of guns. I really appreciate your sincerity and thought-provoking post. I hope we can use GrowMama as a platform to discuss these crucial ideas. JAK!

  • Buttons

    Thank you Mona for being a voice of reason in this crazy world.

    An armed society is a polite society.

    People behave much differently when there are/could be consequences. In these “weapon free zones”, law-abiding citizens ARE sitting ducks; no ifs ands or buts about it, it’s FACT.

    Discussion is also turning to “school security”…for me that means allowing school personnel to conceal carry. For some others that means locking children up during the day like criminals.

    Do you truly want children to be treated like state prisoners on a daily basis? Already schools look like prisons with the fences and razor-wire at the top.

    Lock them up in a cage then expect them not to behave like animals.

    Seems to me that isn’t working so to tighten the prison environment, make them walk thru metal detectors and so on – what is that going to their mental health?!

    We as a society are creating these people who are snapping under the pressure to their mental health. Giving people back their freedom and sense of security is the key, not taking away freedom and security.

  • Sameera

    Thought provoking indeed… Sometimes it seems like the “who came first, the chicken or the egg dilemma” . Will having more guns indie more violence? And if there were more guns, rather than being the deterrent, would the guns just perpetuate further an atmosphere of fear, where we can’t even trust that the guys next door would shoot for the most minute of reasons? Sometimes I think people are teetering on the verge of crazy and to put a gun in their hand (or allow it to be easily obtained) would push them over. Allahu alim

  • Sameera

    Thought provoking indeed… Sometimes it seems like the “who came first, the chicken or the egg dilemma” . Will having more guns indie more violence? And if there were more guns, rather than being the deterrent, would the guns just perpetuate further an atmosphere of fear, where we can’t even trust that the guys next door would shoot for the most minute of reasons? Sometimes I think people are teetering on the verge of crazy and to put a gun in their hand (or allow it to be easily obtained) would push them over. Allahu alim

  • Marwa

    This article, found in The Atlantic, was written after the Aurora Colorado shooting, and unfortunately still very much pertains to our dire situation. It focuses on Japan, a country that has outlawed guns and has about two gun homicides a year.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/07/a-land-without-guns-how-japan-has-virtually-eliminated-shooting-deaths/260189/

  • Marwa

    This article, found in The Atlantic, was written after the Aurora Colorado shooting, and unfortunately still very much pertains to our dire situation. It focuses on Japan, a country that has outlawed guns and has about two gun homicides a year.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/07/a-land-without-guns-how-japan-has-virtually-eliminated-shooting-deaths/260189/

  • Mona

    salaam guys. thanks for chiming in. Japan and Switzerland both have virtually no gun violence. switz- a standing army of citizens because everyone’s packing, japan-totally disarmed. A simple assessment of these two would make it seem that a country has to either disarm or arm its citizens to lessen murder rates. Much like the swiss culture allows for heavy arming of its docile citizens without negative consequence (obviously not a fair estimation of the general American public), the Japanese culture is more willing to consent to disarm peacefully for cultural reasons as well as stark differences in the people’s relationship to legal authority. –copied from an earlier discussion I had–

    “An interesting fact abt japanese legal system: illegally seized evidence is admissible in court.. That’s to say that They are perfectly willing to consent to searches (because they would be searched anyway), provide details about their private households which Americans would never dream of. And legal rules aside, Japanese, are much the more willing than Americans to consent to searches/questioning/turning in a firearm to authorities. Wouldn’t work that way here. Government, history, privacy, culture..Not comparable- also, the japanese just didn’t have much of a gun-culture- big differences complicate the comparison.

    this isn’t a simple issue.. wish it was, but we have clear examples of stringent gun laws in parts of America (NJ/CT, D.C.) as well as the London example which may offer a closer comparison as to what to expect should we disarm.

  • Mona

    salaam guys. thanks for chiming in. Japan and Switzerland both have virtually no gun violence. switz- a standing army of citizens because everyone’s packing, japan-totally disarmed. A simple assessment of these two would make it seem that a country has to either disarm or arm its citizens to lessen murder rates. Much like the swiss culture allows for heavy arming of its docile citizens without negative consequence (obviously not a fair estimation of the general American public), the Japanese culture is more willing to consent to disarm peacefully for cultural reasons as well as stark differences in the people’s relationship to legal authority. –copied from an earlier discussion I had–

    “An interesting fact abt japanese legal system: illegally seized evidence is admissible in court.. That’s to say that They are perfectly willing to consent to searches (because they would be searched anyway), provide details about their private households which Americans would never dream of. And legal rules aside, Japanese, are much the more willing than Americans to consent to searches/questioning/turning in a firearm to authorities. Wouldn’t work that way here. Government, history, privacy, culture..Not comparable- also, the japanese just didn’t have much of a gun-culture- big differences complicate the comparison.

    this isn’t a simple issue.. wish it was, but we have clear examples of stringent gun laws in parts of America (NJ/CT, D.C.) as well as the London example which may offer a closer comparison as to what to expect should we disarm.

  • Jennifer

    It’s nice to see someone else who feels the way I do, I thought I was the only one. A stark contrast between the U.S. and Canada, the U.K., Switzerland and Japan is that they have a healthcare system and we don’t. Perhaps their healthcare systems are able to take care of the mentally ill better than the U.S. system. Citizens being able to buy assault weapons, automatic weapons, etc. is absolutely inappropriate, in my opinion. As is being able to buy ammunition online. There needs to be a tracking system for ammunition, just like there is for how much Sudafed we buy. But in all honesty, I do plan to buy a handgun to have at home for the purpose of protecting our property in the event of some disaster that might entice looters. It will be locked separately from the ammunition and my children will be taught gun safety, just like my Dad taught my brother and me. May Allah protect us all from violence and guide us to ways that will make our families and society healthier and more peaceful. Ameen.

  • Jennifer

    It’s nice to see someone else who feels the way I do, I thought I was the only one. A stark contrast between the U.S. and Canada, the U.K., Switzerland and Japan is that they have a healthcare system and we don’t. Perhaps their healthcare systems are able to take care of the mentally ill better than the U.S. system. Citizens being able to buy assault weapons, automatic weapons, etc. is absolutely inappropriate, in my opinion. As is being able to buy ammunition online. There needs to be a tracking system for ammunition, just like there is for how much Sudafed we buy. But in all honesty, I do plan to buy a handgun to have at home for the purpose of protecting our property in the event of some disaster that might entice looters. It will be locked separately from the ammunition and my children will be taught gun safety, just like my Dad taught my brother and me. May Allah protect us all from violence and guide us to ways that will make our families and society healthier and more peaceful. Ameen.


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