If someone wants to kill someone that badly, they are going to do it, with or without a gun.

My whole life, I have grown up around firearms. I live in a small, rural community which has a large population of hunters. Both sides of my family have people who have served across the sea in our nation’s finest forces. My father has been in law enforcement for over twenty-five years. Never in my life have I felt unsafe or threatened because of a gun. This is because I have been correctly taught how to use a firearm, and I have been repeatedly told that they can be harmful when placed into the wrong hands.

There are students all over the world right now, marching for a gun reform. Believe me, I am deeply sympathizing with them. I cannot imagine what they are going through, or who they have lost. However, I do not share the belief that a gun reform is the answer. If we were to get rid of firearms by making it illegal to own or sell them, the problem would simply turn over to some sort of black market trade dealing. There are already some guns that are illegal to own in America, and yet people still get their hands on them.

Think of it this way: Methamphetamine, a drug used as a dieting aid and a suppressor of ADHD symptoms, was made illegal by the United States Government in the 1970s. It was highly addictive, and had been used for almost 70 years for various reasons, recreational and medicinal. In 2016 alone, about 667,000 American citizens were reported users of methamphetamine, the illegal substance.

My point is, if people want something that bad, they will find a way to get it. If someone wants to kill someone that badly, they are going to do it, with or without a gun. They will find a way to harm others. To make my point more clear, I need to say something that you have probably heard a million times before. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. A gun does not wake up after a hard week at work or school and say, “Maybe I want to get back at those people, and make their day difficult.” No. A person, a sick individual, does that. A gun does not. Someone who is mentally incapacitated has those thoughts. They did not come from a heavy piece of metal.

This protesting that is going on will affect the people in charge of the gun regulations, in either a negative or positive way. However, it will not affect the mentally ill person who decided to attempt a mass shooting. It will not stop them from happening in the future, because no matter how hard we try, our country cannot be completely safe at all times. The only thing that is going to stop these tragedies is love, prayer, and community.

—Jessie Hoffman, Paris High School junior