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Thursday, April 24, 2014 | Last updated: 11:05pm

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Armed guards can't prevent tragedy, weapons ban can



Not even the horrific events at Sandy Hook Elementary School could make the National Rifle Association budge on its historically conservative stance concerning gun regulations. In a statement made by Wayne LaPierre, the CEO and executive vice president of the NRA, it was clear that the NRA will continue to fight fire with fire, as it called for armed guards to be placed in every school.

“Would you rather have your 911 call bring a good guy with a gun from a mile away or from a minute away?” LaPierre asked.

Take the UA for example, which has its own armed police force like any other university. Since the police station is on campus and there are officers constantly patrolling, in the event of an emergency, our police force would most likely be able to respond with multiple armed officers in less than 60 seconds.

But response time isn’t the issue. In 2002, Robert Flores Jr. killed 3 professors at the UA even though witnesses said the police were on the scene in three minutes. More recently, in 2007, Seung Hui-Cho killed 32 people and wounded more than a dozen others at Virginia Tech despite the presence of armed police officers on campus.

It isn’t the armed presence that needs to change at schools, shopping malls, movie theaters and temples; it’s the circumstances our officers are forced to work in.

Semi-automatic assault rifles are capable of firing 50-60 rounds in a minute. There is no place for these weapons in society. Even with the UAPD’s impressive response times, the number of lives these weapons could end in a university lecture hall would devastate the UA community.

This issue isn’t about the constitutional right to bear arms, either. The constitutional rights guaranteed to citizens of the United States can be limited — take libel and slander, for instance. Similar restrictions need to be placed on the Second Amendment in the form of a ban on assault weapons to prevent tragic mass shootings in the future.

In addition to an assault weapons ban, Congress should limit the number of bullets that a single magazine can hold, and no person should be able to buy more than 2 clips at a time. An assault weapons ban may not be retroactive, but limiting the number of bullets a person can buy at a time would help filter massive firepower out of American society more quickly.

In this year alone, we’ve seen mass shootings at a movie theater, at an elementary school and at a Sikh temple, and in all three of those shootings the guns were purchased legally. Yes, guns don’t kill people; people kill people. But at the moment, people are doing a pretty good job of killing people with their guns. It’s about time that we do something about it.

— Nathaniel Drake is a political science and communication sophomore. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on twitter via @WildcatOpinions .


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