By Nick DAngelo
I never play Humans vs. Zombies, Cowboys vs. Aliens or any other game that promotes the use of automatic weapons. Despite my being an innocent bystander in the game that has captured the hearts and minds of so many on our campus, I was erroneously shot on my way to class last week. Nailed square between the eyes, I was an unknowing victim in the whirlwind of violence.
Study after study has shown that the expanded use of toy guns in adolescence promotes the use of violent action later in life. These early developmental years are beyond precious for the young men and women who participate in this callous “game,” and it is time that we as a society recognize that they must be regulated. An expansion of regulation and red tape will ensure that our campus is safe from the negative consequences of Nerf gun use.
We can begin by ensuring that every carrier, human or zombie, of a firearm has properly registered the weapon and received a license permit, as required by the State of New York and the U.S. Department of Justice. Not just anyone should be allowed a permit to carry a Nerf gun though. We must expand background checks on all individuals who seek to legally obtain a firearm. They, after all, are the problem. Further, a central database must be created as an owner registry. Only a system controlled by the central government on campus can ensure that we are truly safe.
If a human can’t shoot a zombie with three bullets, then he shouldn’t be using a firearm. Please, switch to a foam sword. Watching some individuals last week with rounds and rounds of Nerf ammo wrapped around their bodies was more than just a little unnerving. And so it only makes sense to limit the rounds of magazines that any individual is legally allowed to purchase or possess. Let’s limit it at, say, 10 rounds.
The USA Today editorial board agrees: “Balance should tip in favor of making it harder for criminals and deranged shooters to get magazines that enable them to fire 30 rounds or more.” Clearly, the best way to inhibit those “deranged” individuals is to take the material away from society in general. Similarly, all those obese zombies out there will no doubt begin leading healthy, fit lifestyles once their Big Gulps are taken away.
An easy mend to the violence would naturally be an assault weapons ban. Similar to the “Big Gulp” theory, removing “assault weapons” from campus would surely eliminate the downward spiral. Where do we start though? In 1994, when Congress passed the Assault Weapons Ban (AWB), the only difference between military style firearms, already banned for civilians, and single-shot firearms, commonly misidentified as “automatic,” was the grip. Before we have reform don’t we need to know what we’re reforming? The New York Times noted in January that the main complication of crafting this type of legislation was the language because of what may, or may not, be included.
When President Obama called for reinstalling the 1994 ban, he referred to it as a ban against “military style” weapons. Obviously, most Nerf gun design would fall into that category except for the small detail of how the gun actually operates. Further, the AWB of 1994 only prohibited the sale of those firearms manufactured after the legislation was passed.
Perhaps the greatest problem we face in ridding our campus of mayhem is that we’re targeting those who obtain their guns legally. After all, cities like New York, Chicago and Washington DC have the toughest gun laws in the country, yet continue to top the list for those with gun violence. Maybe we’re targeting the wrong weapons since only two percent of crimes are committed with an assault firearm. Maybe we’re getting bad advice. In late December, the New England Journal of Medicine gave some thoughtful suggestions on how to curb gun violence. For some reason the general public won’t look to Guns & Ammo for medical advice though. As a democratic society, we shouldn’t be targeting those who follow the law and pretend that we’re solving a unilateral problem. In the end, guns don’t kill people. Zombies kill people.