Long overdue: Common Sense Gun Control in The United States

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blog pic_policy change

The problem

Gun control in the U.S. is a pressing issue since many recent devastating mass shootings. There have been attempts to restrict sales of assault weapons as well as several executive actions and proposed bills to expand background checks and enforce licensing of all sellers. However, these actions have either since expired or have been struck down by Senate despite majority public opinion. This is largely due to the influential gun lobby headed by the National Rifle Association (NRA). Their primary goal is to protect their interpretation of the 2nd amendment. The NRA represents approximately 3 million Americans (less than 5 percent of all gun owners) with very strong influence on politicians because they lobby extensively and consistently. They are seemingly ever-present as activists for their singular message promoting the right to bear arms, equating it to American authenticity.

A common sense solution

Background checks have shown to reduce gun crime. As it stands now, checks are only required of purchasers from federally licensed sellers which excludes many private sales of guns (34-40% of sales), potentially contributing to the risk of gun crime and violence. Universal background checks require all purchasers to be subject to checks, no matter where the sale takes place.

A call to action

Gun violence and therefore gun control is a public health issue. While mental health education and gun safety education serve as important preventive measures, there is a glaring need for policy change in order to ensure the safe distribution of these dangerous products. It is a privilege to own products which express purpose is to injure or kill, therefore regulation is vital.  The federal government need not make the process to sell firearms convenient for the firearm industry but rather first and foremost safe for its communities. Gun control advocates outnumber the gun lobby, however we must strengthen a singular voice that reflects our country’s majority opinion and defend our right to safe and healthy lives. We must urge Congress to pass a universal background check law so that any individual attempting to purchase a firearm through any means is mandated to undergo a background check.

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3 Responses to “Long overdue: Common Sense Gun Control in The United States”

  1. angelalamacchia Says:

    This is a fantastic topic to choose to advocate. It is appalling to watch, almost daily, on the news of some new shooting in the U.S. We no longer flinch or become surprised by such events as they are excessively commonplace. With every shooting we see new groups called to action and bereaved families left suffering, yet the NRA stands proud and true and continues to block effective action. The situation really is getting ridiculous.

    As an Australian, I stand proud to know we have set a benchmark in gun control laws. After the Port Arthur massacre in April 1996, Australia introduced strict gun ownership laws, and has not had a mass shooting since. (see: http://www.sciencealert.com/20-year-review-of-australia-s-gun-laws-has-one-clear-finding-they-work) Other countries exemplify similar policy changes as being effective in saving lives.
    I 100% agree that something needs to be done as soon as possible.

  2. shinsukemuto Says:

    I totally agree with the idea. I have seen many news of shooting case in the U.S. recently. It is so miserable and hopeless situation.

    Even under these situation, people who don’t want to keep guns say that The Second Amendment to the US Constitution says that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
    Therefore, Until the Second Amendment is repealed, the United States cannot outlaw guns.”

    I think even the Second Amendment issues have been settled, it is very difficult to actually remove all those guns from private hands, and especially from criminal hands. In Australia and the UK, very few people actually owned guns and all those guns were registered so the government knew exactly who owned them. But in the US, there is no registration database.

    No hope here? I don’t think so. Since, the government is required to support the Constitution, if the people wish to amend the Constitution (it’s been done multiple times before) then it will be done. We need to continue these kinds of advocacy to let people agree to outlaw guns.

  3. rachvargas Says:

    @rpalleg1, you are absolutely right. This sort of measure is long overdue. If only common sense weren’t so terribly uncommon (especially when NRA lobbyists get involved).

    @shinsukemuto, I’ve always viewed calls for repeal or further amendment to the second amendment as a bit of a straw man argument. Any number of constitutional scholars, including several current and retired Supreme Court Justices, don’t believe such congressional acts are necessary for the implementation of sane gun control laws (see: https://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/07-290.ZD.html).

    Moreover, the current presence of guns in the hands of a large number of private individuals wouldn’t stop this measure from being immensely effective. Daniel Webster, the Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, conducted a study in which he found that firearm-related homicides in Connecticut dropped by about 40% after the state implemented a law in 1995 requiring permits and safety training for anyone seeking to buy a handgun. Interestingly enough, he also found (in a separate study) that 85% of gun owners believe there should be background checks for every individual attempting to buy a gun, regardless of the seller (http://hub.jhu.edu/magazine/2015/fall/background-checks-guns/).

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