Guns are created for violence

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Junior Felicia Adkins said she has learned to deal with the death of her close friend, Aubrey Peters. “You can’t get angry or really hateful... If a loved one is affected by gun violence,” she said, “It isn’t going to make the pain go away.” NIVEDHA MEYYAPPAN / PHOTO ILLUSTRATION
Junior Felicia Adkins said she has learned to deal with the death of her close friend, Aubrey Peters. “You can’t get angry or really hateful… If a loved one is affected by gun violence,” she said, “It isn’t going to make the pain go away.” NIVEDHA MEYYAPPAN / PHOTO ILLUSTRATION

Junior Felicia Adkins woke up on Dec. 8, 2013 to tragic news from her mother. Aubrey Peters, a 16-year-old girl from Noblesville who was one of Adkins’s close childhood friends, was shot.

“Honestly, at first I didn’t believe it. I thought, ‘There’s no way. There’s just no way.’ I just broke down and cried,” Adkins said. 

According to court documents, Peters died from wounds inflicted by a semi-automatic gunshot. The man who shot Peters pleaded not guilty, stating that the death was unintentional. He was charged with reckless homicide and pointing a firearm. 

“There’s so much I never got to say to her; that’s probably my biggest regret. But I’ve learned that you can’t get angry or really hateful about this kind of stuff, if a loved one is affected by gun violence. It isn’t going to make the pain go away,” Adkins said. 

However, Peters’ death is not unheard of. According to americanprogress.org, two people die each day in Indiana due to a gun-related incident. In fact, 2013 was the worst year yet for gun violence.

The future legality of firearms in Indiana is still an ongoing battle. Tomorrow, the National Rifle Association (NRA) will begin hosting its national convention in Indianapolis. The NRA expects a large turnout; however, not everyone will be supporting the event. 

Nicki McNally, Indiana Chapter leader for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a grassroots organization that has become one of the largest organizations to advocate for common-sense gun legislation, said the NRA should not be supported in its quest to remove the limit on gun purchases. 

“We need to have background checks for all gun sales and limit the amount of ammunition that can be purchased. It isn’t about taking away people’s rights to protect themselves; it’s about creating a generally more safe environment,” McNally said. 

According to the NRA Institute for Legal Action, Indiana residents are not required to hold permits allowing them to keep handguns, shotguns or rifles. In addition, there is no law requiring Indiana residents to hold a permit to carry rifles or shotguns. 

“The fact of the matter is that Aubrey’s death could’ve been prevented. People want to have guns lying around, but they don’t know how to use them. If you don’t know how to manage a gun, you definitely shouldn’t be able to own one,” Adkins said. 

The push for stricter gun control in Indiana is going backwards, according to McNally, due to the new bill that was signed in March, which allows adults to keep guns locked in their cars on school grounds. 

“Our gun laws are incredibly loose. In Indiana, you can be a convicted felon, or you can have a restraining order against you, and you can go to a gun show, find an unlicensed dealer and purchase a gun without a background check. It needs to be tightened,” McNally said. 

Whether or not guns should be allowed in school is an issue that has been debated continuously for many years. In light of the Newtown, CT school shooting that resulted in 20 elementary students’ deaths, the dispute has increased significantly. 

“Thinking of my first grade daughter and her classroom, thinking about what those children faced in Newtown that day was too much for me. It pushed me over the edge. These new gun laws could allow any random person to take a gun with them wherever they go, now even to schools,” McNally said.

However, according to McNally, change is possible for the future. Moms Demand Action regularly meets up in Indianapolis and participates in “stroller jams,” in which they hand out information on common-sense gun laws. 

“We have to get the word out, how many guns get purchased without background checks. That could have a huge impact. People need to contact their legislators, both state and federal, and let them know that we demand background checks for all gun sales. And tell them that you support ammunition limits and that you support the assault weapon ban,” McNally said. 

Gun statistics prove that Americans still do not popularly ascribe to either stance on gun control. However, close-to-home stories could be the final push towards tighter gun control.

“Aubrey should be remembered for always (as) that outgoing girl, the fun girl,” Adkins said. “She was always happy and she always kept her head up, no matter what anyone said about her. And she went through a lot. She’s a strong girl, and she didn’t deserve what happened to her. But her death can’t be in vain. We need to use her story as a drive for change.”

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