After the tragic shooting in Florida Thursday, Daily Guide editor, Natalie Sanders, noticed that a debate had begun among individuals on social media about guns and the AR-15 in particular.
The Daily Guide was curious about what our readers thought about the subject of gun control and this style of gun in particular. The question sparked a heated debate among the Daily Guide's Facebook followers that has continued well after press time.
Among the comments, several strong themes emerged. Very few readers advocated for strict gun control, but many advocated for what they called "sensible" or "common sense" gun laws. Still others felt it wasn't a control issue, but a mental health issue and there was another strong faction of individuals who felt arming individuals was the solution.
Many people commented on the thread, but the people who commented the most, at least at the time of writing this article, was Samantha Kramer, an advocate for "common sense" gun laws and Samantha Kelley, an opponent of gun control laws and an advocate for addressing mental health issues.
Kramer said she advocated sensible gun laws and the requirement of safety courses for ownership, saying that she was pro-gun ownership, but felt that America needed to start somewhere and "something has to be done."
"Kids are dying, ffs, and this is not something any other country has to deal with. Something is wrong in this country (and it's not necessarily related to mental health or morality) and things need to change," Kramer said.
Kramer sparked off a heated discussion by asking, "If more guns made people safer, this would be the safest country in the world. And yet it's not. Why is that?"
Kelley answered the question, "Because it's not guns making people safe, it's people making people safe. It's also people killing people, and people spreading misinformation, omitting information, or trying to pass off correlation as causation."
Lorenzo Valdivia said that this isn't a gun control issue, in his opinion, but more of a mental health issue that isn't being addressed in America.
"THIS is directly related to a combination of mental health, Poor parenting or parents not being in their kids business, and the softening of this nation. Telling children thy can use whatever bathroom they want or they are not the gender they clearly have, are offended by everything, and see that they are exonerated from their actions because they can blame it on others.. That is what’s wrong," Valdivia said.
Other commenters concentrated on the school shooting issue pointing at parenting as being the issue that Americans should be focused on.
"Why do we continually blame the weapon? How about we blame our society for taking control away from parents. Or blame the parents/guardians for lack of discipline. There is a serious lack of respect and discipline in this country and our society continues to blame everything else for it. You cannot control a situation until you learn to control yourself first," Les Boden said.
Most commenters were not anti-gun and claimed to own them themselves like Kramer, but felt that guns like the AR-15 were not the type of gun that average citizens should own.
"I've always said that no one should own a assault weapon. They are for our military and police. I'm not against owning guns, I just think we need better gun control laws," Patsy Alexhonis said.
Sandy Hines agreed, saying, "The military and police officers may need these kinds of weapons. There is never ever a reason civilians need these kinds of guns. We definitely need tighter controls on assault weapons, in my humble opinion."
Melissa Click added in, "People freak out when the words gun control are said. What about simple gun safety. Safety precautions and control arn't the same thing. Nothing will stop everything but doing nothing under the idea of "we can't stop them all" is ridiculous In many states, people go through more scrutinization to adopt a dog then they do to get a gun and despite what people would like to think, most gun deaths in the United States are from people who legally own them. I don't think everyone's guns need to be taken away either because in the end, the criminals would still have them. If everyone can't have a driver's license, why can almost anyone seem to own a gun? However, I don't think the average citizen has to own these type of weapons."
A lot of commenters felt that the gun control is not the answer, pointing to the individuals who commit the crimes.
"It boils down to people. If you see something, tell someone. Don't be afraid to get involved," Hope Wilcox said.
"Guns don’t kill people. People with mental illnesses, affiliated with gang violence, and terrorists, kill people. We need to address mental illnesses and clean up our streets. Not attack the second amendment," Alex Kaeser.