The Truth Behind Gun Regulation


"We know we can't stop every act of violence, every act of evil in the world. But maybe we could try to stop one act of evil, one act of violence,"(Eric). These were spoken by our former president Obama a day after the Sandy Hook incident. In the fairly recent shootings in Parkland Orlando where a teen gunman accused of opening fire with a semi-automatic rifle at his former high school in Parkland, Florida, has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder (NBC news). When it comes to mass shootings, suicide rates the main cause of these problems is the use of guns. Currently, there have been multiple debates on solutions to gun-related violence that coincide with gun regulation; the main goal at the end is that everyone should stay safe and decrease the death of loved ones. But where the debate lies in answering this question: Should gun regulations be tightened? What should the government do to ensure this tragic event never happens again?

Some citizens believe in more restrictions on gun ownership and purchases and stronger regulations on laws that allow people to obtain a gun. One of these restrictions would be new and more enforced background checks. However, opponents often argue against increased restrictions because they believe their 2nd amendment right would be taken away which limits their individual liberty. Those who fight against gun control laws also argue that regulations wouldn't lead to anything since people would find another way to purchase a gun. With two different viewpoints, it leads to a bigger statement: what is more important the right to protect yourself and obtain a gun or have regulations that ensure that the right guns don't get in the wrong hands?

While some can argue that gun control regulations would lead to more violence and that arming people with more guns would solve the problem, gun regulations can ensure civilians that guns don't fall into the wrong hands and will ensure the safety of citizens in the United States of America. Some claim that background checks can't ensure peoples safety since someone could have a healthy and non-criminal past but in the future, they can develop mental illnesses and events that change their view of how they want to use their gun, as well as anonymous dealers can sell guns without the government knowing. While this is true, it is very unlikely that someone with a healthy past would use their gun inappropriately, and the background checks will ensure that no one with past criminal or mental illnesses would obtain a gun. Background checks don't ensure that the wrong people can not obtain a gun, due to changes in opinion in the future and obtaining guns other ways that are not funded by the government. The single largest gap in the federal background check requirement is that unlicensed, private sellers are not required to conduct background checks (Giffords Law Center).

Unless a state insures strict background check laws there are multiple opportunities for people to obtain guns without a background check. This would also increase illegal gun sales since people would want to find other ways to buy guns making background checks useless. Background checks support gun trafficking since people who want to obtain a gun will do so illegally and currently, a lot of people get their guns illegally so adding background checks would change many statistics. According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (“ATF”) issued a comprehensive report in 2000 detailing firearms trafficking investigations involving more than 84,000 diverted firearms, finding that federally licensed firearms dealers were associated with the largest number of trafficked guns (Giffords Law Center). These statistics show that already a large number of people traffic guns, and the number would only increase if there was a barrier for people to obtain guns. These laws would make it more difficult for citizens who want to use guns safely to go through tons of hassle to protect themselves and their families and make people who could misuse guns get guns in different ways. Not only would background check increase illegal gun selling but it doesn't always ensure guns fall in the right hands. The highest suicide rates in the U.S. are found in Caucasian men over age 85. However, suicide is also one of the leading causes of death in adolescents and adults ages 15 to 24( John Hopkins University).

This means that a healthy person can purchase a gun around the ages of 21 to 23 and then develop mental illness later in life which is the leading cause of suicide. Although they show they are healthy when they were obtaining their gun people can quickly change which contradicts everything background checks supposably stands by.
While some can argue that gun control regulations would lead to more violence and that arming people with more guns would solve the problem, Gun regulations can ensure civilians that guns don't fall into the wrong hands and will ensure the safety of citizens in the United States of America. Some claim that background checks can't ensure people's safety since someone could have a healthy and non-criminal past but in the future, they can develop mental illnesses and events that change their view of how they want to use their gun, as well as anonymous dealers can sell guns without the government knowing. While this is true, it is very unlikely that someone with a healthy past would use their gun inappropriately, and the background checks will ensure that no one with past criminal or mental illnesses would obtain a gun.

According to former president Obama he will instruct the Department of Justice, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Homeland Security to research smart gun technology that will potentially save lives by making it more difficult for unauthorized users, such as a child, intruder, or suicidal relative, from firing a gun they should not have access to (Giffords Law Center). This ensures that the right people are obtaining a gun. Since it is more prone to people with a former criminal history to misuse a gun these background checks will ensure they don't have them. This will reduce suicided ratings as well, nearly two-thirds of all gun deaths in the U.S. are suicides: an average of 59 deaths a day (Everytown Research). By having this background checks the government can see medical and mental history to make sure that they are mentally stable to be in possession of a gun and use it properly. Less than 5 percent of people who attempt suicide using other methods will die, and the vast majority of all those who survive do not go on to die by suicide. This suggests that a reduction in suicide attempts by firearm would result in an overall decline in the suicide rate (Everytown Research). By reducing firearms use we can keep a lot of people safe and reduce suicide deaths which have been a big problem due to stress from school, family, and love relationships. Although these background checks aren’t completely perfect they can do a lot to reduce deaths in the United States and keep yourself and your family safe.

To opposers, gun regulations wouldn’t help the overall community. However to parents who have children who go to school and see the news of countless school shootings some regulation would make them feel more at ease and are not in fear that their child might not come back home after they go to school. Nearly 2,900 children and teens are shot and killed and nearly 15,600 more are shot and injured. An estimated 3 million American children are exposed to shootings per year (Everytown Research). With an average school holding around 400 students this means that 7 thousand and five hundred schools in the United States has been in some form of shooting and had at least one person killed. In 2012 a frightening event happened in a small town in Connecticut which changed a lot of peoples views on gun control and gun regulations.

According to the Washington Post, a reputable news website a states that on Friday morning a shooter got into an elementary school in a small town of Sandy Hook which left 28 people dead, including 20 children killed inside their elementary school. This event wasn't just traumatizing for the families who had their young innocent children killed but it shook up the United States as a whole. Our former president Obama gave one of his most emotional speeches yet while discussing this issue he stated, “I know there’s not a parent in America who doesn’t feel the same overwhelming grief that I do. The majority of those who died today were children, beautiful little kids between five and 10 years old,” Obama paused, seemingly unable to continue for a few moments. “They had their entire lives ahead of them — birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own.” (Washington Post). If our strong leader who has never shown signs of weakness and gave us hope breaks down crying then it shows that their needs to be a change. We need to do something not just sit here when more and more children are dying.

Countries across the seas in Europe have had fewer gun related deaths each year due to their strict gun regulations that are similar to background checks, If countries across the sea can reduce gun violence why can't we? According to the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development, for example, “Great Britain averages between 50 and 60 gun murders a year. By contrast, in 2014 (the last year available for examination), there were 8,124 gun murders in the United States” (Allen John). If you compare this two statics you find out that the United States has 160 times more gun-related death each year compared to Great Britain. In Europe, they try to make sure people still have their rights without making them feel like their guns are being taken away from them just from the wrong type of people. According to the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development “The British government regards to gun ownership as a privilege, not a right. Obtaining a firearm is a rigorous, closely monitored process.

Handguns are prohibited without special permission from authorities, and semiautomatic rifles are banned outright” (Allen John). This brings out another question what does gun control regulations actually mean. According to USLEGAL definitions gun regulations are “Gun control laws aim to restrict or regulate the sale, purchase, or possession of firearms through licensing, registration, or identification requirements” (USLEGAL.com). Many people think that gun regulations are when guns are taken away and banned from everyone in the United States which is not the case it is just that the wrong people are not obtaining the guns which will make everyone happy since people are going to be safe and carefree. “Overall, Great Britain’s gun control laws, which are among the world’s strongest, have proved to be remarkably effective in reducing gun violence. “People say you can’t unwind hundreds of years of gun history and culture [in America],” says Andy Marsh, firearms director at Britain’s Association of Chief Police Officers, “but here in the U.K., we’ve learned from our tragedies and taken steps to reduce the likelihood of them ever happening again”(Allen John).

Along with regulations on who can obtain guns politicians have created a safe gun which allows the user to be the only one who can obtain and use the gun. According to the smart tech foundation “Smart guns are firearms equipped with technology that enables them to only be fired by an authorized user or users. Smart guns have the potential to prevent injuries and deaths, including those due to unintentional shootings, suicides, and gun thefts. These personalized firearms can be enabled by biometric or RFID technology, which can either be built into guns during manufacturing or retrofitted onto some of the 300 million existing guns in circulation” (Smart Tech). This technology will reduce the number of suicides since the people who usually commit suicide use their parent's guns to do it. Now that this technology is available teenagers would not die from guns and as stated above people who do not use a gun often live and do not attempt again. Insert book text

Everytown Research. “Firearm Suicide in the United States.” Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund. Aug. 30. 2018

https://everytownresearch.org/firearm-suicide/

Giffords Law Center. “Background Check Procedures.”Giffords Law Center to Prevent

Gun Violence,2018 lawcenter.giffords.org/gun-laws/policy-areas/background-checks/background-check-procedures/

Giffords Law Center. “President Obama.”Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun

Violence,2018 lawcenter.giffords.org/tag/president-obama/

Giffords Law Center. “Statistics on Gun Trafficking & Private Sales.”Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, 2018 lawcenter.giffords.org/gun-laws/policy-areas/background-checks/background-check-procedures/

John Hopkins. “Mental Health Disorder Statistics.” The Johns Hopkins University, The

Johns Hopkins Hospital, and The Johns Hopkins Health System Corporation, hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/mental_health_disorders/mental_health_disorder_statistics_85,p00753