The Parkland shooting, Sutherland spring church shooting, 2017 Las Vegas shooting, Orlando nightclub shooting, 2015 San Bernardino attack, Umpqua Community College shooting, Charleston church shooting, and Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting were all committed with guns bought legally (Buchanan et al.). These are only a few examples of how the legal system failed to keep guns out of the wrong hands. “Guns are responsible for over thirty-three thousand deaths in the United States annually [and] about two-thirds of these gun-related deaths are suicides” (“Gun Control”). The United States has more gun-related suicides and homicides than anywhere else in the world. Over half of the murders and about half of the suicides committed in a year involved a firearm (“Gun Control”). For this problem to be fixed, we need stronger gun control laws: background checks for all gun sales, to close the gun show loophole, the use of personalized guns, and the ban of high-capacity magazines and assault weapons.
We need stricter gun control laws because the ones we have are ineffective. Many mass shootings, as mentioned before, were done with firearms bought legally. According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), federal law prohibits fugitives, illegal aliens, people who have been dishonorably discharged from the military, drug addicts, people with a mental illness, people with prior felony convictions that include a prison sentence exceeding one year, people convicted for a domestic violence misdemeanor, anyone with a permanent restraining order keeping them from a partner or a partner’s children, and anyone who has renounced his or her United States citizenship from buying a gun. “Many mass shootings have been carried out by people who were recognized by those around them as being deeply disturbed, yet were able to own guns legally” (PÉrez-peÑa). This is because most people with a mental illness are not “adjudicated as mental defectives”(“Bureau of Alcohol”) by a court or other authority. To solve this, anyone who desires to buy a gun must go through a psych evaluation. Additionally, not every domestic abuser is convicted, and not all criminals do not have the right to legally buy a firearm. Our laws are inefficient and have many avoidances. We need more comprehensive background checks and anyone who desires to purchase a firearm must obtain a permit. All firearms should be registered as well.
Federal law also requires background checks for guns sold through licensed firearm dealers. However, there are some holes in the system, for example, the gun show loophole. The gun show loophole refers to the sale of firearms by private or small scale sellers at gun shows that do not require background checks. “According to the NRA, “hundreds of thousands” of guns are sold each year at gun shows without a background check” (“Americans for Gun”). This means that so many guns are unaccounted for and people who are not allowed to buy guns legally can buy them through gun shows. Dangerous and mentally ill people can get their hands on weapons without the government’s knowledge. This is why gun show loophole must be closed and federal law should require background checks and records for all sales by private sellers at gun shows.
Since we can not do much to restrict people who pass a background check, we need to limit what they could buy, for example, assault weapons and high capacity magazines. High capacity magazines can kill and injure way more people at once and can make any situation more deadly. High-capacity magazines allow someone to fire off more than ten rounds in a row. You do not need that for any hunting or sporting purpose, or in fact, any purpose. In Australia “thirteen mass fatal shootings in 18 years were followed by 22 years with no such incidents” (Chapman and Alpers) after banning semiautomatic rifles. The Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 should be reinstated, banning the manufacture and sale of assault weapons and the use of ammunition magazines of more than ten bullets.
Accidental gun deaths account for a lot of lives. “The number of unintentional deaths caused by firearms has ranged between 1,225 and 2,000 per year since 1979” (Teret et al.). Also, according to Teret, “Stolen guns contribute to the number of gun-related deaths. Experts estimate that about 500,000 guns are stolen each year.” Teret mentions that personalized guns are an effective solution to gun-related accidents. Personalized guns can only be used by the owner. This prevents the firearm from getting into anyone else’s hands. This includes the hands of children playing with the gun, teens who kill themselves using someone else’s gun, and criminals who steal a law enforcement officers weapon and use it against them. There is technology that now exists to only allow authorized users to operate a gun. This means that even if a gun is stolen, it cannot be used, which will save a lot of lives.
Advocated for less gun control believe they need guns for self-defense and for protection. In some cases, a gun might help, but according to studies, “a gun kept in the home is more likely to be involved in an accidental shooting, criminal assault or suicide attempt than to be used to injure or kill an intruder in self-defense” (“Stronger Gun Control”). These advocates also believe that background checks are an invasion of privacy and they have a right to own a gun according to the 2nd amendment of the constitution. However, they still do have the right to own a gun if they abide by the law. Yes, there are restrictions, but if you are willing to go through the necessary process, you can have a gun. I am sure that no one would want criminals and mentally ill people to get their hands on weapons.
In conclusion, gun violence is a problem in America, and more gun control will reduce gun deaths including suicides. For stronger gun control, thorough background checks and mandatory psychiatric evaluations must be completed for each person for every gun sale. Every firearm must be registered and licensed. Also, the gun show loophole must be closed, and high capacity magazines and assault weapons should be banned. The use of personalized weapons would also avoid many accidental deaths and stolen guns from being used.
Americans for Gun Safety. “The ‘Gun Show Loophole’ Should Be Closed.” Gun Control, editedby Tami Roleff, Greenhaven Press, 2007. Opposing Viewpoints. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, https://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/EJ3010140308/OVIC?u=ranc95197&sid=OVIC&xid=33d566f5. Accessed 8 Apr. 2019. Originally published as “McCain-Reed-DeWine-Lieberman Amendment to Close the Gun Show Loophole: What the NRA Will Say Compared to the Actual Truth,”, 2004.
This article talks about how closing the gun show loophole can reduce criminal activity at gun shows that threaten public safety. It is credible I found it on the opposing viewpoints in context database. I used this in my essay to back up my solution to closing the gun show loophole.
Buchanan, Larry, et al. “How They Got Their Guns.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 3 Oct. 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/10/03/us/how-mass-shooters-got-their-guns.html.
This article shows that a majority of guns used in 19 recent mass shootings were bought legally and with a federal background check, and at least nine gunmen had criminal histories or documented mental health problems that did not prevent them from obtaining their weapons. I find this credible because it is a report from the new york times. I will use this at the beginning of my essay to prove that the legal system is not doing enough to prevent guns from getting into the wrong hands.
“Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.” Identify Prohibited Persons | Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, 22 Sept. 2016, http://www.atf.gov/firearms/identify-prohibited-persons.
This is a government website for the ATF which stands for Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives that lists the type of people banned from purchasing a firearm. This is credible because it ends in .gov and the ATF is a federal enforcement organization within the United States Department of Justice. I used this in my essay to list the types of people banned from buying a gun.
Chapman, Simon, and Philip Alpers. “AUSTRALIA’S 1996 GUN LAW REFORMS HALTED MASS SHOOTINGS FOR 22 YEARS: A RESPONSE TO CRITICISM FROM GARY KLECK.” Contemporary Readings in Law and Social Justice, vol. 10, no. 1, 2018, p. 94+. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, https://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A550426857/OVIC?u=ranc95197&sid=OVIC&xid=d7b1e043. Accessed 8 Apr. 2019.
This report is about how Australia’s gun control laws prevented mass shooting for 22 years. This is a credible source because it is an academic journal. I used this in my essay to prove how effective the ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines was in Australia, and how it should be implemented in the United States.
“Gun Control.” Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection, Gale, 2018. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, https://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/PC3010999212/OVIC?u=ranc95197&sid=OVIC&xid=c6c97533. Accessed 7 Apr. 2019.
This viewpoint describes what gun control is and the statistics of gun deaths. This is a reliable source because I found it on a school library resource and it gives undeniable facts. I used this in my essay to prove that gun violence is a real issue.
“PÉrez-peÑa, Richard. “Gun Control Explained.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 7 Oct. 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/10/07/us/gun-control-explained.html.
This article objectively answers many questions regarding gun control: What is gun control? What is the state of gun control today? What do law enforcement authorities say about gun control? Where does the American public stand? What are the arguments against gun control? What are the arguments in favor? Why does nothing get done about gun control? I find this credible because it is from the new york times. I used this source to better my knowledge.
“Stronger Gun Control Laws Will Save Lives.” Guns and Crime, edited by Christine Watkins, Greenhaven Press, 2012. At Issue. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, https://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/EJ3010015248/OVIC?u=ranc95197&sid=OVIC&xid=15569cf6. Accessed 9 Apr. 2019. Originally published as “Ten Myths About Gun Violence in America,” LCAV.org, 2009.
Studies show that even if there was a firearm in a household it can still increase the risk of any gun-related injury or death. Background checks on gun purchasers have prevented any kind of sale to an estimated 1.6 million us citizens. I believe this source is reliable and credible because I found the author Christine Watkins, a popular speaker and author, in the school library database, which is credible. I will use this as a statistic to prove my point.
Teret, Stephen P., et al. “Making guns safer.” Issues in Science and Technology, vol. 14, no. 4,1998, p. 37+. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, https://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A20988908/OVIC?u=ranc95197&sid=OVIC&xid=0b9768bd. Accessed 8 Apr. 2019.
The use of personalized weapons is an effective way to solve gun violence and crime. The weapons can only be used or accessed by the owners of the weapon which may reduce the risk of unintentional use by children and anyone trying to use the weapon on the owner. I find this credible because the author is a professor of health policy and management and director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. I will use this in my essay as a solution to the problem of gun violence.