The Problem of Mass Shootings

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Updated: Oct 19, 2023
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The Problem of Mass Shootings

This essay delves into the disturbing rise in mass shootings, aiming to uncover root causes, the psychology of shooters, and potential societal and policy interventions that can address and prevent these tragedies. At PapersOwl, you’ll also come across free essay samples that pertain to Gun Violence topic.

Category:Gun Violence
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Pages:  4
Words:  1079
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Mass shootings are problematic, because they are getting more deadly and more frequent. Mass shootings are defined as a single shooting incident which kills or injures four or more people, including the assailant/shooter (“Guns in the US: The Statistics”). Mass shootings have been shown to be contagious, meaning that a mass shooting one day increases the likelihood of others in the following days (Leatherby). Five of the eighteen most lethal shootings in America since 1949 have occured between 2007 and 2017. In other words, 18 of the 30 deadliest shootings in over 60 years have occured in the past 10 years.

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This seems as if it can relate with the assault ban that expired in 2004. The ban prevented production of certain civilian used semi-automatic weapons. It only applied to weapons manufactured after the date of the ban’s enactment (Willingham). Since 1997, 150,000 elementary or secondary students have experienced a school shooting in about 170 schools (Gun Ownership). Of the 292 guns used, 167 were bought legally, 49 were illegally possessed, and 76 were unidentified (Berkowitz et al). This shows the variety of ways that people can get hold of guns. California has more mass shootings than any other state, with a terrifying number of 23 mass shootings. Mass shootings numbers are certainly eye openingA majority of mass shootings have happened in the past 30 years. 25 years before 1986, there were only 50 mass shootings. In 2015, there were 372 mass shootings, with 474 people killed and 1,870 wounded (“Guns in the US: The Statistics”). In the first 10 months of 2017, there have been 307 mass shootings. This shows how frequent shootings are becoming. This means, on average, 7 a week (Willingham). In 2018, there have been 30 mass shooting in the first month and a half.

Background Checks

Background checks are a very complicated idea. They are helpful in many ways, and in some ways not very helpful. The Brady Act requires a background check on all firearm purchases from licensed dealers. It does not require unlicensed dealers to do background checks on gun buyers, when sold in places such as the back of your car, gun shows or online. If the FBI needs to further investigate a specific background check, and is not completed within 3 days, the purchase will proceed by default. This is how the Charleston, SC shooter got his gun. Since the passage of The Brady Act, there have been 225 million background checks. Two million of these checks were denied (“Closing the Background”). Most legal background checks take less than two hours. Even though background checks have rejected plenty of purchases of unworthy people, there are still some major flaws in the system. A major flaw that has received plenty of attention is that federal background checks do not require screenings for sales between private people and other unlicensed sellers.

The law’s emphasis is on providing effortless access to guns for gun owners that abide by the law, rather than making sure that violent people do not get firearms (Gura). We need to realize that the major problem with background checks is being able to go through no screening before being able to purchase a weapon from a non-licensed dealer. Another massive gap is that our federal background check system allows felons, domestic abusers, and the dangerously mentally ill to buy firearms at gun shows and online without having a background check. Two major mass shootings in the past were allowed because each of the shooters had a conviction, and the companies they worked for did not report them – so they were allowed to purchase the guns because they didn’t know about their convictions (Gura). There is plenty of support for background checks, as well as many possible fills to the gaps. Over 90% of gun owners and Republicans support requiring background checks for all gun sales (“Closing the Background”). There are plenty of supports that could be added to background checks. A permit could be based on demonstrable reason to show a possible threat to others or anyone/anything. Next, the government could require articulating reasons for denial of permit, which could be subject to judicial review. The NICS should be extended to all guns sales. Also, the category for allowance can be expanded. We also have to make sure to get disqualifying records into the system. If we can fill some of these holes in our background checks system, we can prevent more mass shootings than ever before.

Arming Schools

Concealed carry? Armed security? Arming teachers? What will it be? Concealed carry already takes place is many states. Officials who support concealed carry claim that they are not just handing out guns, they are carefully selecting who should carry and how. So far, The FASTER Program has trained over 1,300 teachers and staff of schools in 12 different states. In some of the already armed schools, there are many positive feelings from students and teachers themselves. Some teachers realize and conclude that they feel that it is just as important to make sure they educate and enrich students learning, but also to make sure that the end up home at night alive and safe. Multiple people have moved into this specific school district, knowing about their safety plan at the schools. Progress wise; 3 months into 2018, at least 6 states have made progress in attempting to have teachers carry weapons (Hobbs and Brody). This probably means that schools/states are now more aware or considering the idea that arming teachers will increase safety. Will arming teachers at school be the next safety precaution to make sure students get home safely at night?


Mass shootings and guns seem to be the most occurring item to see in the news nowadays along with the usual politics. This being so, mass shootings can not be taken for granted. The numbers, facts, and information related to mass shootings are absolutely abysmal. A change is necessary.. now. Background checks have been successful, but the major gap needs to be fixed. Background checks need to be deeper, longer, and stricter. The fact that any given person can go up to an unlicensed dealer selling guns from the back of their car and purchase one right then and there, with no check is terrifying and ridiculous. However, It is good to see that schools have made positive steps towards being safer and protecting their students, but they need to keep going. The second amendment is debatable, but what is not debatable is that we all deserve to the right to be protected, and live our lives without having them taken from a terrible person and the trigger of a firearm.

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The Problem of Mass Shootings. (2019, Jul 30). Retrieved from