The issue of gun control stems from the fundamental right to bear arms protected by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. For decades, the debate between publics for and against the right to have AR-style firearms has taken place, often a belief linked to party affiliation. Thus, the debated issue is a reoccurring topic within every election.

One attribute of democracy is the public’s trust in leaving political decisions in the hands of the people — all people — including the electing of leaders to public offices where they are trusted to best represent the needs and wants, opinions, and beliefs of the public.

A majority of the public believes the amount of violence within our society has significantly increased, an assumption made due to the increasing prevalence of the media’s coverage on shootings, terrorism, and crime.

And with public fear on the rise, the two major party candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are utilizing rhetoric to appeal to those aligned with their beliefs toward gun control, while attempting to persuade non-involved publics to join them in their stance.

Democratic party nominee Clinton’s plan in regards to gun control is to keep guns away from terrorists and other violent criminals by strengthening  federal background checks and closing loopholes that abusers are using to attain weapons of destruction.

Conversely, conservative and endorsee of the NRA, Donald Trump holds an unwavering support of the right to bear arms and wants to empower law-abiding gun owners to continue to defend themselves.

While the two opposing sides seem to be in direct opposition, ultimately each side of the debate is fighting toward the same goal — to save lives of the innocent.

This past May, the ‘campus carry’ legislation, House Bill  859, was proposed in attempt to allow guns on campuses and buildings owned by the campus, except for in areas used for athletic events, dorms, or Greek life housing. The bill would have applied to any public college, technical school, or other institution in Georgia.

However, the proposed legislation was vetoed by Governor Nathan Deal based on the grounds that “colleges have been treated as sanctuaries of learning where firearms have not been allowed.”  

Two years prior to this proposition and veto, Governor Deal underscored Second Amendment rights by signing the “Safe Carry Protection Act”, House Bill 60, which essentially states that firearms may be carried by residents of the state.

In light of the devastating and unfortunate environments in which tragedy has reportedly occurred, Governor Deal blocked the ‘campus carry’ legislation from being passed as a cautionary and preventative act in hopes of reducing the chance of disaster striking on Georgia domain.

A poll conducted at the time in which HB 60 was passed, also known as the “guns everywhere bill”, determined that a majority of Georgians disapproved of the legislation. Governor Deal’s act of vetoing the proposed ‘campus carry’ bill exemplifies the power of public opinion and democracy, as well as the changing belief systems regarding gun control nationwide.

Since then, Governor Deal has communicated with Georgia’s General Assembly suggestions which would further fortify the punishment for any unauthorized possession or use of a firearm on college grounds as a means to deter violent acts moreso.  

The beauty of democracy lies in the unique concept that each citizen comprising the system is entitled to his or her opinion. Giving grounds for one’s capability and willingness to act on their own convictions in an ethical manner, democracy in action is both the driving force and the result of the grand divide between belief systems held by various American publics.

One attribute of democracy is the public’s trust in leaving political decisions in the hands of the people — all people — including the electing of leaders to public offices where they are trusted to best represent the needs and wants, opinions, and beliefs of the public.
The constant debates regarding gun control are embedded in a majority of public belief systems and remains an issue that is unlikely to leave the public agenda anytime soon.

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