Most people, with good reason, are shocked and startled by gun violence, from the Sandy Hook school shooting to everyday crimes. Guns were originally made for hunting; they evolved into weapons of war and now they are used on the streets of America.

Our Bill of Rights states that we have the right to bear arms. But under what circumstances did our forefathers condone that? Who has the right to own firearms exactly? Right-minded civilians, of course, but not every gun salesman does a customer evaluation to see if a person is mentally ill or a felon. Our government continues to debate the legality of having these weapons.

But wouldn’t that be unconstitutional?

The U.S. government has already violated the Constitution enough with its monitoring and restricting our freedoms.

But should guns be outlawed?

I say no. Instead, consumers should be evaluated for mental illness and/or felony charges against them before being allowed to purchase guns and ammunition.

In 2008, President Obama stated during his presidential campaign in Lebanon, Va.: “When you all go home and you’re talking to your buddies and you say, ah ‘He wants to take my gun away.’ You’ve heard it here; I’m on television so everybody knows it. I believe in the Second Amendment. I believe in people’s lawful right to bear arms. I will not take your shotgun away. I will not take your rifle away. I won’t take your handgun away.”

Taking guns away is not the answer, but knowing who has the guns is.

Alexis Segarra is a junior at Frederick Law Olmsted School No. 156.