America Needs Gun Control

By Alexa Delacruz ’19

With the easy access to guns in America, the abundance of mass shootings is no coincidence. Anybody, even terrorists, can obtain a gun and do as they please.

This calls for much needed gun reform. There has already been 307 mass shootings this year, including the biggest one this country has ever seen. On October 1, 2017, Stephen Paddock opened fire on a crowd at the Route 91 Harvest music festival in Las Vegas, from the 32nd floor of his suite at the Mandalay Bay hotel. 59 people, including the perpetrator, died, and 546 others were left injured.

According to The Washington Post, the United States has the highest number of mass shootings in the world. Out of the 292 guns used in America’s history of mass shootings, 168 were obtained legally and 48 were obtained illegally. Many of the guns used in these killings have power equal to that of military-level weapons, yet they are legal to purchase. Shooters usually bring four weapons to each shooting, yet the Vegas shooter had 23 on him. Why should people be allowed to access guns so easily?

From schools to movie theatres, churches, bars, and concerts, it shouldn’t be so easy and common for anyone with a gun to open fire in a public space where people should be safe. The first step for regulating guns is for the government to heavily enforce gun control laws. Effective solutions for regulation would be limiting the number of firearms any individual can own, since there is currently no federal legal limit. Automatic and semi-automatic weapons should be illegal for any individual to own. The purchase of firearms and ammunition on the internet should also be restricted. Another  solution would be to prolong the waiting period for a gun license by making background checks more strictly enforced.

A license for a gun can range from two to six months, but qualifications and background checks for a gun aren’t as distinct. They’re merely based on where you live, if you’re over 21, and whether you have prior convictions or not. According to gun.laws.com, background checks only take about three days, and are usually done over the phone. Creating stricter qualifications will show who is really qualified to possess these deadly weapons.

On the other hand, gun activists may disagree with the strict regulation of guns. They want guns to be more easily accessible for people to purchase. The Second Amendment protects individual gun ownership, and it gives them a sense of security, since they can use guns to protect themselves. Some people believe that gun control won’t prevent mass shootings or criminals from owning guns, and that it infringes upon the right to self-defense. This point of view is reasonable, because no matter what, criminals and terrorists will still be able to get their hands on a gun. However, limiting gun ownership can greatly reduce the number of mass shootings and gun violence.

A March 10, 2016 Lancet study showed that universal background checks could reduce the amount of people killed by guns by 56.9 percent; background checks for ammunition purchases could reduce the rate by 80.7 percent; and gun identification requirements by 82.5 percent. Also, guns are rarely used in self-defense. From the 29,618,300 violent crimes between 2007 and 2011, only 0.79 percent of victims defended themselves a gun, and out of the 84,495,500 property crimes from this period only 0.12 percent of victims did the same. Therefore, it doesn’t really infringe on the right to self-defense since it’s
one of the rarer cases in which guns are used. Gun control is necessary for the people and will protect the safety of the general public.

Overall, America urgently needs gun control. With the overwhelming number of mass shootings, it’s time for the government to take action. The Second Amendment allows the right to bear arms, yet people seem to take this law out of context. The government must actively promote gun control in order to reduce the total number of shootings and casualties.

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