Chicago teen Hadiya Pendleton, 15, had just started living her dream.
She was a great student from a wonderful and supportive family and a talented individual who had just performed at the gig of a lifetime, President Barack Obama’s second inauguration.
Although her dreams of becoming a doctor or lawyer would have taken her far from the mean streets of the “Windy City,” she could not run far enough to escape a hail of bullets as she hung out with friends at a neighborhood park on Jan. 29.
Unfortunately, Pendleton is Chicago’s 42nd murder of 2013 and she is another poster child for those on the left of the gun control debate.
The list of innocent children dying are growing seemingly by the day from the senseless and heartbreaking tragedy of Newton, Conn., in which 20 first graders from Sandy Hook Elementary were murdered, to Pendleton’s murder a mile from the Obamas’ old home.
And it is time that those on the right of the gun control debate realize that no constitutional right is absolute; all come with limitations and limitations should apply to the Second Amendment like it does to the First Amendment.
The First Amendment is as important to those in the media as the Second Amendment is to sportsmen. That aforementioned amendment grants American’s freedom of speech, press and religion. Nevertheless, those rights rightfully have limitations, much to the chagrin of absolutists.
Despite having the freedom to express one’s self freely, one still cannot defame someone, invade someone’s privacy, steal one’s intellectual property or use deceptive advertising tactics, etc.
While many on the right of the gun control debate like National Rifle Association (NRA) Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre do not believe in limitations on the Second Amendment, the limitations already placed on our First Amendment rights prove that those limitations will be enough of a deterrent to limit abuses of those rights and that deterrence might be enough to save a child’s life.
And as President Obama has stated, if we can save one life we ought to try.
“Too many children are dying,” said an emotional Gabrielle Giffords to lawmakers on Jan. 30. “Too many children. We must do something. It will be hard but the time is now.”
The time is now for those on both sides of the gun control debate to put politics and popularity on the sideline and do what is right for our children.
Too many politicians worry too much about the big money lobbyists who fund their campaigns and not enough time being true leaders. It takes a true leader to sacrifice their life and career for what is right and it seems that too many politicians would rather continue receiving money from the NRA and other organizations than protecting the lives of innocent children.
Congress must act on the current gun control debate by instituting a ban on assault rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines.
Furthermore, a background check is crucial to keeping guns out of the hands of the wrong people. It is baffling that the NRA insists that bad guys with guns kill people, not the guns themselves. Yet they are still adamantly against the background checks that are being pushed by Democrats.
Many jobs require background checks before one is hired and many apartments require background checks before they lease an apartment unit, but when it comes to something that could slaughter innocent children, some are still fighting against those same background checks.
Like the president has said, no one should even think about taking our Second Amendment rights away because people should be able to protect themselves and their family from violence, but unless one is protecting themselves from terrorist like al-Qaeda, then military assault rifles seem a little like overkill.
Furthermore, it also seems a little farfetched that someone would hunt an animal with a weapon used for war.
Unfortunately, there is a war in the streets of cities like Chicago and in schools like Sandy Hook too often. No parent should have to worry about not seeing their child again just by dropping them off to school.
To those opposed to President Obama on the gun control debate, I would ask you what if Pendleton was your daughter. What if Giffords was your spouse? Or what if you were a parent of one of those precious first graders from Connecticut?
Would you continue to play partisan political games on the gun control debate? Probably not, because life and death should never be reduced to political gamesmanship; and no more children should ever have their dreams shattered because adults cannot get it together and use commonsense on such a commonsense controversy.
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