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The answer to this question is, guns don’t kill people, people kill people; however, guns make it easier to kill people and often time in great numbers. The government should create stricter laws on gun control and end the senseless mass murders at the hands of individuals in possession of guns. In the United States, it is way too easy to obtain a gun, and with that said, guns end up in the wrong hands. The way to control guns is to make it harder to obtain a gun, lowering the number of deaths caused by guns.
When researching opinions on gun control the results are usually split down the middle, so there are anti-gun supporters or pro-gun supporters, no undecided.
Gun control is one of the most popular world issues, stricter gun control laws should be created as seen by the large number of recent mass shootings, gun possession by the mentally ill and the increased gun violence of the 21st century.
It is becoming very common to hear about mass shootings involving multiple victims in the United States and most recently in Pennsylvania and California. The mass shooting in California comes as a surprise, as most Americans’ hearts still mourn the death of the 11 individuals at the Pittsburgh synagogue, who lost their lives on an early Saturday morning. Arango and Medina (2018) found, “California may have the toughest gun control laws in the nation, but that still did not prevent the latest mass killing−shooting on Wednesday that left 12 people dead at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks”.
This quote means that regardless of the tough gun laws, individuals manage to obtain assault weapons and use them maliciously. It appears even if the government does its part by creating harsher laws and penalties for breaking those laws, there is usually some way around the law. President Bill Clinton signed the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban, which restricted features on semi-automatic weapons, rifles and shot guns, unfortunately for Americans that law expired in 2004. Steidley and Colen (2017) wrote, “Eight years ago this week, the young people in Littleton, Colorado, suffered a horrible attack at Columbine High School…since these killings, we’ve done nothing as a country to end gun violence in our schools and communities. If anything, we’ve made it easier to access powerful weapons”. This quote reflects on the past and explains that nothing to date has been done to rectify the gun control issue which has unfortunately gotten worse.
Mass shootings happen too often and the gun laws remain the same. Lewis (2018) pointed out, “proponents of gun control legislation should wish not only to continue efforts to reduce incidences of mass murder, but also to reduce the number of victims. For example, a ban on gun enhancers such as bump stocks, or a ban on the size of ammunition magazines might be effective in reducing victimization in mass murder incidences”. Bump stocks were found on many of the weapons used in the Las Vegas mass shooting and was what allowed the shooter to injure and kill so many people, so quickly. Considering the quantity of mass shootings in the United States, a significant number of Americans hope that the government will step up and create quality gun laws to prevent a massacre that wipes out the entire population.
Mental illness may not be a direct indicator of potential for gun violence; however, when a mentally ill individual obtains a gun this is not an ideal combination. There has been some debate, but most would agree that mentally ill individuals should not be permitted to purchase guns or have access to them. It is understandable that mental illness is such a vague term but when it comes to legally possessing a deadly weapon; an individual who is documented as unstable will prevent death or injury by firearm. Wolf and Rosen (2015) illustrated, “The problem with tying mental illness to the gun control debate is that people assume those with mental illnesses are more prone to violence than those without these issues”. This quote means that an individual with a mental illness should not automatically be considered violent.
Although the relationship between mental illness and gun control is not black and white, most anti-gun supporters would agree that individuals with mental illness should not possess a gun. Individuals who are diagnosed mentally ill are easier to identify than those who are untreated and/or unevaluated. Wolf and Rosen (2015) found, “Recent gun control legislation targets the mentally ill which exacerbates the stigma about violence and mental illness and may deter individuals from seeking the care they need”. This quote means that mentally ill individuals will not seek treatment in fear that they will not be legally able to possess a gun. The question that immediately comes to mind is how many mentally unstable individuals possess a gun? This concept is frightening and the thought that mentally ill people possess guns is overwhelming.
The solution to preventing mentally ill individuals from possessing firearms is by thoroughly investigating applicants and requiring background reports to include voluntary mental health commitments. In researching, another solution was discovered, known as reg flag laws, which remove guns from someone in a temporary crisis. Although mental illness is not a direct indicator of gun violence, the mix of mental illness and guns has greater potential to be deadly. Overall gun violence in the United States is a fact of life and, in 2018, has become a frightening regularity. Proposing stricter laws on gun control would create less gun violence which will lead to fewer gun related deaths. Wintemute (2015) claimed, “Compared with other industrialized nations, the United States has uniquely high mortality rates from firearm violence”.
This mind-boggling quote simply means that in the United States gun violence is unfortunately higher than other similar countries. Has the government taken a good look at these statistics regarding gun violence and put together a plan of action to greatly reduce the high mortality rate? Arango and Medina (2018) pointed out, “Unfortunately, many background checks are inadequate. Information is not reported or is mishandled; legal ambiguities can make it difficult to know whether events are, in fact, prohibiting. And even where background checks are required, many people avoid them” (p.5). This quote states the root of the problem, which is failure to conduct adequate background checks. Guns are obtained because sellers cannot conduct quality background checks or force individuals to divulge all required information.
How can a law be effective if the law has loopholes and no ability to do its duty? The solution to this is to hold individuals accountable when the system fails. Adequate background checks are the key to this ongoing gun control issue. To be diligent in protecting the public from increasing gun violence, the government needs to step up and create a law that is not necessarily an invasion of privacy but a protection of human kind from these weapons of destruction. With that said, the overall gun violence will unfortunately continue to be a regularity as current gun laws are not eliminating the root of the problem.
In order to achieve gun control and decrease the number of senseless deaths, it is necessary to implement stricter gun laws. The government must create a law to require individuals desiring to obtain a gun be trained to handle a firearm safely. The number of mass shootings in the United States appears to be climbing yearly and no one seems to bat an eye. There have been mass shootings in communities, concerts, bars and even schools, which are all places we think of as safe. We as Americans should not feel like prisoners in plain sight, always looking over our shoulders in fear of death by a gun. Immediately after mass shootings, the news prints a story about a mentally ill or criminally convicted person who should not have obtained a gun.
To possess a gun, one should not think of it as a right of passage but as a greater responsibility. The overall gun violence in the United States in the 21st century is at its highest level, even higher than other similar countries. What is the purpose of a gun and what is gun control? This is simple, a gun is used to eliminate the threat, gun control is to eliminate the senseless mass shootings, innocent victims of gun violence and prevention of gun possession by people incapable of knowing the difference between the two, which is why the government should implement stricter gun laws.
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