(WJBF) – Guns. In America, we have the right to bear arms. It’s guaranteed by the second Amendment in the Bill of Rights.

Dr. Craig Albert is a political science professor at Augusta University.

Dr. Albert said, “Of course when the founding framers wrote that, they didn’t know about the types of weapons we could have today, so it’s up to debate whether the founding framers would still keep that as is if they knew the type of weapons we have today.”

Weapons like those often used in mass shootings in America. The most recent on October 25 in Maine where a man opened fire in a bowling ally and bar, killing at least 18 and wounding many more.

Most gun deaths are not mass shootings but still have an enormous impact on families.

8 year old Arbrie Anthony was gunned down January 8, 2022 in Augusta. She was playing outside when she was shot near her Dogwood Terrace apartment. She died about an hour later.

Arbrie’s Aunt, Jamila McDaniel had just driven away moments before.

She said, “I had literally just left So when my oldest son called me and said Mama, they shot Arbrie, and I said what Arbrie, and he said, our Arbrie and I waited a minute and  I was still in disbelief.

Guns in the wrong hands are a nightmare for law enforcement.

Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree said, “We’ve taken hundreds of thousands of guns off the streets in the last ten plus years, but in Georgia, because we are pro gun state, a lot of people exercise their second amendment right and purchase a lot of fire arms. Unfortunately, a lot of those fire arms are getting into the hands of the wrong people.”

The sheriff says despite their efforts, gun violence crimes increase each year.

Sheriff Roundtree said, “Even though we are making the arrests, we’re seizing the guns, more and more are getting into the hands of criminals and that’s what gets frustrating for us.”

According to Everystat.org, Georgia ranks 17th in the nation for gun deaths. South Carolina ranks 10th.

According to the National Gun Archive, more than 35-thousand people have been killed in the U.S. due to gun violence so far this year.

More than half were deaths by suicide.

With so many tragedies surrounding gun violence, why can’t Americans come together to resolve this issue?

Dr. Craig Albert said, “In our American discourse right now, everybody is very emotional rather than relying on pure reason or pure logic so we have to get to a point where not only the population at large but also politicians can talk about these issues civilly and not necessarily let their emotions get embroiled, then you can’t communicate with one another properly.”

At this gun range in West Augusta, responsible gun owners are exercising their second amendment right. Many are learning the correct way to shoot a firearm.

Buddy Lichty is the owner.

Lichty said, “Yes you have the right, which is guaranteed by the constitution. What is not guaranteed is the responsibility of knowing how to operate those tools, it is a tool.

Guns don’t kill people, people do.

Mary Morrison said, “Discussions about gun violence and the second amendment are healthy. It’s when people spread misinformation or the issue becomes contentious that our democracy can suffer”.

Dr. Craig Albert said, “So its an issue between collective rights versus the individual rights.”

“When those two sides come together with liberty on one side and security on the other side butt heads, it’s just very complicated because either side is going to loose half the population’s vote if they try to negotiate something.”

When congress reaches an impasse on an issue like guns, what can you do?

First, get involved…contact your local representative.

Which ever side of the gun issue you are on, make sure your elected officials know you expect them to tackle this difficult problem.

Then go to your local polling place and vote.