Gun Violence And Gun Control

The United States is home to approximately 5% of the world’s population and 31% of all mass shootings. Through these mass shootings and various other methods of gun violence, tens of thousands of people die every year. These gun-related deaths primarily originate from murder and children accidentally shooting themselves. Although those in favor of gun control tend to believe that guns should be terminated completely, the second amendment prevents lawmakers from being able to do so. Therefore, in order to combat these causes, alternative gun control solutions must be made for each one. Gun-related murders can be decreased through the use of universal background checks. Additionally, accidental shootings can be minimized through the requirement of new firearm technologies. Thus, the crisis of gun violence in America can be reduced through the implementation of stricter restrictions when purchasing firearms.
One increased restriction that could decrease gun violence is the requirement of universal background checks for every firearms purchase in the United States. As of right now, only eight states, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington, do so. Implementing this would end the private seller loophole that does not require private sellers, such as those at gun shows, to perform background checks. An undercover investigation in New York City found that 62% of private online sellers agreed to continue selling firearms even after the potential buyer confessed they would not be able to pass a background check. Therefore, with no background checks, this means that absolutely anyone can purchase a gun such as felons, domestic abusers, and drug abusers. The requirement of these background checks for every purchase will keep guns out of dangerous hands, while still allowing law-abiding citizens to take advantage of their second amendment rights.
When states implement universal background checks, it has been proven to help reduce gun violence. Crime statistics tend to go down once this restriction is put in place. Research indicates that these states have 38% fewer women shot to death by their partners, 17% fewer aggravated assaults involving firearms, 48% less gun trafficking, and 53% fewer gun suicides than the national average. Additionally, the number of police killed on duty by guns is cut in half. Along with this, these states typically see an overall decrease in their gun-related murder statistics. For example, TIME magazine claims that Rhode Island saw a 10.6% decrease in their gun-related murder rate after implementing universal background checks. Therefore, there are numerous statistics proving that universal background checks are successful at decreasing gun violence.
Universal background checks are essential for making sure no one who purchases a gun has a record of violent tendencies that would lead them to use this weapon in a malicious way. A 2007 report by the International Association of Chiefs of Police claimed that without universal background checks, guns are very easily acquired by those who would typically be prohibited, such as criminals. When these prohibited people acquire firearms, the IACP concluded that the guns are often used for gun violence. A 2013 survey confirmed this by questioning inmates who had committed crimes involving guns in the 13 states with the weakest gun control restrictions. This survey found that 86.6% of the inmates did not undergo a background check when purchasing the gun used in their crime. Additionally, 96.1% of that 86.6% would not have passed that background check. Therefore, states that do not require universal background checks are making it easy for criminals to get access to guns. Thus, logically it would make sense to require universal background checks in order to decrease gun violence committed by criminals who are acquiring their firearms through private sellers.
The necessity of universal background checks is emphasized when looking at states that do not require them. According to TIME magazine, 40% of all guns purchased in 2015 were sold without background checks. States who choose to opt out of universal background checks in order to protect gun shows and private sellers ultimately pay the price. According to a John Hopkins study, in 2007, when the state of Missouri decided to repeal the permit-to-purchase law requiring proof of a background check before purchasing firearms, gun-related deaths increased 50% higher than the national average; this includes the firearm homicide rate that increased 23%. The study also concluded that it was now easier for criminals to purchase guns because their previous law violations were not an obstruction as they were before. Therefore, the lack of universal background checks in certain states has been shown to increase gun violence, making it clear that requiring this restriction would help reduce gun violence.
On another note, many believe that there should be restrictions preventing everyone who is mentally ill from purchasing firearms. A large part of this is due to the perception of people with mental illnesses as violent and incapable of controlling themselves. This only worsens when people automatically judge those who commit violent acts as ‘crazy’. According to The Columbian, using the word ‘crazy’ as an insult towards criminals stigmatizes mental disorders and makes people suffering with them afraid to seek help in fear of being judged. Therefore, treating mentally ill people like they are threats to society has the possibility to prevent those who are suffering from seeking the help they need. This correlates to the fact that most gun violence committed by mentally ill people is due to their conditions being untreated. Thus, restricting them from buying guns would likely increase gun violence, rather than reduce it because it could make them fearful of being vocal about needing treatment. Additionally, although those with mental disorders are seen as violent, Richard A. Friedman, a professor of clinical psychiatry, found that “ Only about 4 percent of violence in the United States can be attributed to people with mental illnesses. Therefore, singling mentally ill citizens out as incapable of handling guns is not only harmful to the stigmatization of mental illnesses, it is illogical.
On another note, another restriction that could help reduce gun violence is the requirement of using smart guns.