Recent History of Gun Control in America

In a great country like the United States of America, we have many individual rights. One of those rights is the second amendment, which states that “The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”. This amendment means a lot to me and how we should be able to keep all of our guns without the government having to do anything about it, but there are times where we should have some laws about our guns. My position on this is that we should not ban guns, but instead make the process of buying a gun lengthy so the gun does not fall in the wrong hand. While you can make the process harder to obtain a gun, not all states will comply with that procedure, so banning guns will not prevent the person from committing the crime they are pursuing, people can’t protect themselves from criminals if they don’t have a gun to defend themselves with, and in the end, guns don’t kill people but in fact, people kill people. Personally, I am a firm believer in guns and I believe that they should not be banned for a number of reasons.

One of those big reasons is that it could cause more harm than good. In Texas alone, more than 40 percent of people own a gun. This makes it a little over 6 million people owning guns in the state of Texas alone. (How Many Texans Own Guns? A Whole Freakin’ Lot, Poll Shows.) And attempting to take all of those guns away can cause a lot of problems. For example, taking those guns away can make the United States much more susceptible to oncoming terrorist attacks or even mass shootings.

A lot of the mass shooters that attempt to shoot up an area that’s heavily influenced by guns (aka areas that allow concealed guns) usually get stopped by a civilian who had a gun on them and was able to defend themselves along with everyone else. Although this accounts for a big factor, there are other smaller factors that take into account. For example, taking away the people’s guns will make a lot of people frustrated and those people will want to do anything to get their guns back. It seems like quite a jump but the United States is filled with people who would start a revolution to get their guns back.

In today’s world, there are not many gun control related problems. In our society, guns are getting into the wrong hands, and most of these people are mentally ill. In David Kopel’s article, “ Guns, Mental Illness, and Newton.” he states, “Counting only the incidents with at least two casualties, there were 179 such crimes between 1966 and 2010. In the 1980s there were 18.

In the 1990s, there were 54. In the 2000s, there were 87”. The increase is a correlation to the ever-growing problem of mentally ill people on the streets. During the mid-1960s, a lot of the killing/mass shootings have been prevented because the mentally ill were confined and cared for in mental state institutions. (Guns, Mental Illness, and Newton) While today, the mental health treatment is no longer as good as it used to be and it is slowly taking its effects. Now, the mentally ill are no longer cared for in mass as they used to be back in 1960. Since these people are no longer being kept in a mental institution to help aid them and their problem, they’re most likely out on the street not being treated for their issues. Because of this, there have been more mass shootings with mentally ill people being the ones behind the trigger. But, that only applies to mass shootings because the U.S homicide rate has been decreasing rapidly, along with the handgun homicide rate. Although the overall murder rate has fallen, the rate of mass shootings has increased. (“Guns, Mental Illness, and Newton”) Many people are stating that there is a lot of gun violence and homicide in America, but the truth is it’s declining.

In 1993 there have been a reported 1,222,701 firearm incidents alone. But in 2011 there have been a reported 414,562 incidents. (“Gun Violence”) The numbers speak for themselves. There are many theories out there as to why the homicide rate is declining, for example, the control laws we have in place or, the millennial generation change where the public did a lot to protect the younger generation. (What’s Behind The Decline In Crime?) If anything we are doing an okay job at preventing gun violence.

Personally, I like the laws that are in place for owning or selling a gun, but there are other things we can do to lower this statistic. Though the rate of mass shootings has increased there are viable reasons as to why, and there are ways we can prevent this number from getting any higher. For example, we can make the process of getting a gun lengthier by making the background check process longer and check for details it normally would find as “okay”. Many of the reasons why people have been able to shoot up churches or schools are because of their background checks. Some of these people shouldn’t even be out on the streets, nonetheless, owning a firearm. There have been cases where the background check process has had loopholes that could have prevented mass shootings.

In the Columbine shooting, the killers were clearly too young to purchase a gun and yet they still managed to obtain a gun. How you might ask? They obtained their firearms at a gun show from an unlicensed seller. (Where’d They Get Their Guns?) The Tucson shooter should have been prohibited from buying a firearm but due to his records not being in the online database for background checks, he managed to get around and buy a firearm. There is a way to solve this problem, however. The first step to the solution, stated by Christine Watkins in her article, “An Updated Background Check System Will Help Prevent Gun Violence” is “Get all the names of people who should be prohibited from buying a gun into the background check system” and step two is, “Close all the loopholes in the background check system by requiring a background check for every gun sale”. She then explains that NICS, National Instant Criminal Background Check System, is missing millions of records.

For example, Seung Hui Cho should have been prohibited from owning a gun due to mental illness problems, but since his name was not on the background check system, he was able to purchase two guns. He then goes on to commit the Virginia Tech Massacre. The second step is to close the loopholes in the background check system. People can still purchase and own firearms from people who are NOT federally licensed dealers. This means they do not need to get a background check and can still purchase the firearm. Instead, making a law that applies to all firearm dealers will make sure that people can not get around the system. The new law that should be made is where every dealer has to make the buyer undergo a background check before any firearm purchase can be made.

Although, the background check system should also look for problems in mental health like schizophrenia or other mental health issues to hopefully prevent further mass shootings or homicide. Maybe even up-ing the age limit of owning a firearm just to be safe could help. In the end, it doesn’t matter if they are in a “gun free zone” or in a state where guns are banned. The gun is just doing its purpose, to fire a projectile at high speeds, its whoever is behind the gun that is the doing the killing. Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.

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