Reducing Gun Violence

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Updated: Aug 03, 2019
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Gun violence is a national public health epidemic that exacts a substantial toll on U.S. society. Gun violence includes homicide, violent crime, attempted suicide, suicide, and unintentional death and injury. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention more than 38,000 deaths from firearms, including suicides, occurred in the United States in 2016,1 and nearly 85,000 injuries from firearms occurred in 2015.2 That’s an average of 105 deaths and more than 230 injuries from firearms each day. Gun violence affects people of all races and ages. For many years, people all across the world have been debating about gun violence. Especially in America, Guns have always been a part of the American Culture even before America that we know today dating all the way back to the 2nd Amendment. To many Americans, guns have always been a part of survival. Guns are needed to kill animals for food and to protect people from predators and harm. Over the years, guns have easily had a gun from a need to want like toys. Every day, gun violence takes countless lives from all communities across the nation in many forms like suicide, accidental shootings, and conflicts that become fatal because of how easy it is to get a gun these days and countless mass shootings.

There is no single, simple solution to reducing gun violence in this country. However, there are several common-sense steps that would be a great place to start steps that could be taken right now. Under our current federal law, there is a lot of induvial who are not allowed to buy guns for many reasons such as having a history of domestic abuse, having a felony conviction, or not having mental health treatment. Licensed gun dealers all over the country are required to conduct a background check for every firearm sale to not sell guns to people who are prohibited to own a gun. Of course, there is work under the law that allows unlicensed gun sellers such a private owner to sell their firearms online and at gun shows without running a background check. This gives illegal users access to break the law by buying guns from private owners. The first group of laws increases the scrutiny of gun buyers. Federal law requires background checks for anyone purchasing a firearm through a licensed dealer but says nothing about private sales or transactions at gun shows. Many buyers slip through this loophole. A survey of 1,613 gun owners published in 2017 found that 42% had acquired their most recent weapon without a background check. The internet has made sales even harder for police. A probe by private investigators hired by New York City in 2011 found that 62% of online private sellers agreed to sell guns to people who stated they probably could not pass a background check. Nineteen states and Washington, DC, now require background checks for at least some private gun sales. Most people seem to comply.

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In states that regulate private sales, 26% of gun-owners who bought their guns privately said they did so without a background check, compared with 57% in states without such regulations. The Giffords Law Centre to Prevent Gun Violence, a pressure group co-founded by Gabrielle Giffords, a former congresswoman who was shot in the head in 2011, found that between 2009 and 2012 states with universal background-check requirements on handguns had 35% fewer gun deaths per person than states with looser regulations. Other research shows that in states that require background checks for private handgun saleswomen are less likely to be shot by their partners, police are less likely to be killed by handguns, and gun suicides are rarer than in states with laxer laws. Having stricter background/mental checks for all firearm purchases, raising the age to buy guns, banning assault weapons, and banning bump stock are just a few of the endless ways to reduce gun violence. Requiring stricter background and mental health checks is a perfect way to start reducing gun violence in America. This is a policy that could fix multiple failures at the National Instant Criminal Background Check System that legally sells firearms to multiple people who have killed 20 or more people in mass shootings, all because of background checks not being properly updated.

Researchers at Northeastern University and Harvard University estimated that 22 percent of gun sales occur without a background check under the current system. This bill will help provide more funding to each state to improve their criminal and mental health background check system, failure to do so will result in penalization of agencies if they do not maintain and update their records accordingly. A 2017 study found that 22 percent of gun owners who obtained their most recent gun within the past two years did so using a transaction that did not include a background check. The same study also found that 50 percent of gun owners who acquired their most recent gun through a private sale rather than from a licensed gun dealer within the past two years did so in a transaction that did not include a background check. Universal background checks are an effective way to help reduce gun violence and gun trafficking.

Another simple way to reduce gun violence is by raising the age to buy guns and rifles from 18 to 21. Trump and Florida Gov. Rick Scott have both called for raising the minimum age to buy rifles like those used in the Parkland attack from 18 to 21 years old, where it currently stands for handgun purchases through licensed dealers. Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz is working on legislation with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., that could restrict AR-15 sales for nonmilitary buyers under 21. Federal laws on the appropriate age to buy a gun are confused and nonsensical. You have to be 21 to buy a handgun from a federally licensed dealer. But if you’re 18, you can buy the same gun from a seller who doesn’t have a license. This has the perverse effect of forcing young people to buy handguns from sellers who because they aren’t licensed don’t have to conduct background checks.

Moreover, federal law allows licensed gun dealers to sell rifles to people as young as 18. Unlicensed sellers can sell the same gun to anyone regardless of age, even a 14-year-old., while federal law prohibits people younger than 18 from possessing a handgun, nothing in the law prevents younger teens or even tweens from possessing a rifle. At a minimum, we should have a uniform gun age that doesn’t depend, as federal law does, on the identity of the seller. We should also consider raising the minimum age to buy or possess (without adult supervision) a firearm to 25. People under 25 are responsible for a disproportionate amount of America’s gun violence. According to data collected by the FBI, nearly 50 percent of all gun homicides are committed by people younger than 25. Most of those perpetrators are 18 to 24. Mass shootings are often young as well which causes a lot of problems and controversy over the age to buy a gun. Young mass shooters include Nikolas Cruz, a nineteen-year-old boy who opened fire on his fellow classmates and teachers on February 14, 2018 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing seventeen students and staff members and injuring seventeen others. Gun rights groups are generally against the idea, however, with the NRA’s top lobbyist calling it “gratuitous gun control,” and some key senators have also expressed skepticism, making a federal law an uphill climb.

Banning Assault Weapons, again. In 1994, after numerous terrible mass shootings, Bill Clinton signed the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban. This ban restricted features on semi-automatic weapons, shotguns, and riffles. However, it expired in 2004 and the odds of it being passed with all that is going on today are slim to none, but the use of an AR-15 rifle or similar model in Parkland and Sandy Hook and other major attacks, have continued to prompt calls for new restrictions. Experts say there is one element of an assault weapons ban that could make a concrete difference in mass shootings: Restricting large-capacity magazines, which the original bill limited to ten rounds. The shooter who killed 12 people and shot 58 others at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, in 2012 used a 100-round drum magazine, for example, which prompted Colorado legislators to ban magazines that carry over 15 bullets.

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Reducing Gun Violence. (2019, Aug 03). Retrieved from