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48,938 incidents involving guns have happened in 2016 alone, of those, 12,652 of them have involved a fatality. 332 mass shootings have taken place all across the country at various locations. Our gun laws are outdated and must be updated because far too many people are getting a hold of dangerous, deadly guns, people who should not be trusted to own them.
It is far too simple to obtain a gun.
According to a video by youtube channel AJ+, “there are 90 guns for every 100 people in the United States” (Gun Control: America’s Got a Problem). It also states that 42% of Americans own a gun, and 47% of Americans believe the gun laws must be stricter. She claims that Congress does not want to go against the National Rifle Association (NRA), therefore, they do not pass stricter gun laws even though many Americans support it. Some even believe that our gun problem can be solved by more guns (Gun Control: America’s Got a Problem).
Background checks are not always in depth enough and they often miss important information that could bar some people from gaining a gun. It is actually easier to get a gun than to get mental health care for yourself.
Seung-Hui Cho, the man who shot 49 people at Virginia Tech, passed a background check and got a hold of a gun, even though he was declared mentally ill two years prior, doctors diagnosed him with a severe anxiety disorder. Because of this avoidable mess-up, 32 innocent people with families were murdered. It is a state’s responsibility to compile mental health records from hospitals, courts, or other sources, but it is not legally required, so many states neglect to, putting the lives of many in danger. Therefore, many mentally ill patients are able to access firearms (Scalzo).
A man named Aaron Alexis was found by the police to have “taken apart his bed, believing someone was hiding under it…” and they observed that Alexis “had taped a microphone to the ceiling to record the voices of people that were following him.” (Lysiak). Regardless of this revelation, he was somehow allowed to purchase a gun and, the next month, he massacred 12 people, killing them and injuring 3 others at the Washington Navy Yard.
Background checks can “just take minutes” to perform and less than a staggering 1% of people are denied. They are only required by law for in store purchases and not for gun shows or private transactions. According to CNN, the FBI has said on its website that “More than 100 million such checks have been made in the last decade, leading to more than 700,000 denials,” (Smith).
Many American citizens wholeheartedly believe that they absolutely need a gun to be able to protect themselves and their family from violence, should they ever need to, however, I believe if the gun laws were stricter, then we would not need guns to protect ourselves because the wrong people would not be able to even get a firearm. According to The Washington Monthly, “There is nothing beyond anecdotal evidence and one very flawed study suggesting that defensive use of firearms has benefits that outweigh the obvious social drawbacks” (Atkins). Only on very rare occasions have guns actually successfully been used to protect someone from an active shooter.
The Huffington Post says “Purchasing a gun may help enrich the firearms industry, but the facts show it is unlikely to increase your personal safety,” (McLaughlin). Many gun incidents even happen because people keep guns in their homes for self-defense. For example: accidental firings and suicides caused by guns kept around the house.
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Criminals are easily getting guns through loopholes that should not exist, which is just one major flaw in our gun laws. People who would usually not pass a background check in a store, can easily obtain a gun from a gun show. This is often called the “gun show loophole”.
Gun shows are frequently put on all over the country in cities like Las Vegas to cities like Salmon. Idaho. While President Obama tried to pass a bill that would have required background checks at gun shows, Congress did not end up passing it (Smith).
While most dealers at gun shows are licensed, the people who purchase them usually are not and are able to purchase guns and use them for malicious purposes.
Some people claim that they need guns because they use them to hunt animals such as deer or bears. However, I believe that hunting is not as important than the hundreds of people dying because of careless people and faulty gun laws. These hunters will still be able to have their precious guns, just as long as they have no criminal past and have no history of mental illnesses. These heightened gun laws will not affect these hunters, but will keep many others safe from malicious, deadly guns.
Children are getting a hold of their parents guns that they keep for ‘self-defense’ and accidentally injuring and in some rare, unfortunate cases, killing themselves or others. Guns are often not kept safely in places that children would not be able to reach. “By the end of 2015, about 265 children under 18 picked up a firearm and shot someone by accident, and 83 of those shootings were fatal” (Lidgett). Children want to ‘play’ with the guns, but instead end up committing heinous crimes that ruin them and their families for the rest of their lives.
“Nearly 1.7 million children live in households where guns are stored either loaded or not locked away” (Lidgett). Guns must be held in locked safes so as to avoid children getting a hold of them and accidentally shooting themselves or someone else.
A child aged 3 named Lucas Heagren found his father’s gun, which was hidden under the couch, and shot himself through the eye (Luo). This is just one of the many examples of children injuring themselves or others because of careless parents who do not secure the guns in a safe place that is inaccessible to children. “American children are 9 times more likely to be killed by a gun than are kids in other developed nations.” (Lithwick).
The United States has a gun problem, a colossal one, and we need to start taking action against them, or more children will be accidentally killed. Too many people are suffering due to the easy access that we have to guns, how many people must die for us to realize there is a problem that we need to fix as soon as possible.