“Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”

How many times have you heard this phrase? When you think about it, guns AND people kill people, because life is rarely black and white.

The gray area is clearly where the issue lies.

If you hit someone with your car, the car and the person driving both had a part. But it’s the decisions people make with the tools they have access to that create these terrible results. 

The main issue here is not necessarily people who use hunting rifles to hunt or guns for self-defense that stay locked in a drawer.

I understand the draw and importance behind gun ownership, especially in more rural areas. A Pew Research Poll shows that 48% of people grew up in a household with guns, and 3 in 10 adults own a gun.

Owning a gun is normal for myriad reasons, and gun culture ­— like shooting ranges and hunting — will likely never cease to exist. These responsible owners are not the main issue.

Instead, it is removing access to semi-automatic weapons from the artillery options available to people. 

Here are some facts to consider: There have been 262 mass shootings in 2019 so far, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

Unfortunately, none of this will get better while these semi-automatic weapons are up for grabs for anyone in many states.

I know what you’re thinking, if people want guns, they will find them.

Hypothetically, if you eliminated all the dispensaries in Washington, people would have a harder time finding weed.

The key part is that it’s harder. It closes doors to people who may not want to work hard to find it. Accessibility creates reality. 

We remember the names of these shootings and hold onto them in our minds; Columbine, Sandy Hook, El Paso and countless more.

However, if nothing is done about access to these weapons, more and more places even closer to our hearts and our loved ones will be known as places where more innocent people lost their lives.

When guns come before humanity, there is a problem.

When my younger brother tells me he already has a plan for when the shooter comes to his school, there’s a problem.

And when people losing their families see their loved ones’ names disappear into history because another shooting happened days later, there’s a problem. 

We are so demanding and self-serving as humans we forget that people were here before semi-automatic guns and people will be OK without them.

Access to self-defense should never cost people their lives. 

Jordan Tolbert is a staff writer. Follow her on Twitter: @Jordanvtolbert.

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