Firearms have been an integral part of the United States since early pioneer days and a part of the American tradition as a means of hunting, sport, or protection. Today however the ownership of guns has changed and evolved over the years and as a result the way we view guns has changed. Due to the fast and steady increase in crime and fight for the right to own a gun, the correlation between legislation and crime has been a highly debated issues in recent years. Although many believe that gun control violates the rights of people outlined in the second amendment “the right to bear arms”, sensible regulating distribution, sales, and registration of guns and gun ownership is necessary. Sensible gun control is a vital necessity to the welfare of our nation and is something we cannot take lightly anymore. Legislation regarding gun control and common-sense policies to prevent gun violence is a necessary action needed in order to help save lives.
The education on gun violence has revealed a number of common sense laws that can demonstrably save lives. The most promising option is a national “permit-to-purchase,” or PTP, which requires a mandatory weapon permit and a passing background check to acquire a firearm. Dozens of studies have taken place and researchers have concluded that, “The type of firearm policy most consistently associated with curtailing the diversion of guns to criminals and for which some evidence indicates protective effects against gun violence is PTP for handguns” (AMA Recommends New, Common-Sense Policies to Prevent Gun Violence). Weaponry is also judged by the matter of the civilian. A number of states have compromised with the idea of restraining guns from people with previous domestic violence and misdemeanor record.
Approximately nine years ago my cousin, a sweet innocent five-year-old little girl, died at the as a result of gun violence. After learning of the news and discovering that the gun was obtained from a second-hand sale, I started thinking about gun laws. An innocent man, decided he wanted to sell his gun privately. In doing so, he sold the weapon to someone who not only had a criminal background but had extensively plotted and schemed to murder three individuals. The gun was purchased with an intent of using it to kill. The gun was purchased from a total stranger who did not know the intent, and technically the purchase was legal because there is no law requiring a private sale of a gun from one person to have a required background check or show any proof of a right to carry. As a result, three innocent people died at the exchange of that gun. Could he have possibly purchased a gun somewhere else by other means. Perhaps so but how would you feel knowing you sold a criminal a gun and then in turn he murdered three innocent people? A common sense gun law in place would have prevented this exchange from happening. A common sense law requiring proof the purchase was cleared to own to a gun or even had a current valid right to carry a handgun might have saved my cousin’s life; instead there was nothing more than the exchange of money.
Not all common-sense laws have to hinder someone from owning a gun but keeping guns out of the hands of criminals that have an intent to do harm is something worth looking at. The NRA, “believes that every law-abiding citizen is entitled to the ownership and legal use of firearms.” Notice the wording “law-abiding”; this does not include those with criminal records. However, controlling the sale and distribution of firearms is necessary because of the homicide rate involving guns. In 1988, 9000 handgun related murders were committed in America. Metropolitan centers and some suburban communities of America are setting new records for homicides by handguns. The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993 requires “licensed gun dealers to perform background checks” (Nra-Ila. Home). However, background checks are not required for private gun sales. Requiring a background check for private sales might hinder or slow down the exchange of guns but this legislation helps eliminate guns from getting into the wrong hands.
Advocating for change and common-sense gun laws does not mean we should ban guns completely. Another hot topic surrounding gun control is the sale of assault-type weapons or high-capacity magazines. In 2016 many Americans were shocked by the massacre at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando. In the aftermath, the American Medical Association released a statement claiming, “People are dying of gun violence in our homes, churches, schools, on street corners and at public gatherings, and it’s important that lawmakers, policy leaders and advocates on all sides seek common ground to address this public health crisis.” New policy calls for banning the sale and ownership of all assault-type weapons, bump stock and related devices, high capacity magazine, and armor piercing bullets. “The new policy would require that firearm owners are licensed, complete a safety course and register all firearms” (Gramlich, John. Gun Policy).
According to Gifford’s Law Center, “Military-grade weapons have no place in civilian life and are unnecessary for self-defense” (Model Laws). These type of guns are popular among mass shooters and pose a distinct threat to the safety and security of the American people. After the expiration of the federal ban on assault weapons in 2004 and the failure to renew it by Congress, it is now up to states to pass sensible laws to prohibit these deadly weapons from getting into civilian hands and doing harm. Assault weapons continue to be part of many tragic, high-profile shootings including many of the nation’s most deadly shootings.
Tragic examples include; 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut (28 dead, 2 injured); the 2012 movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado (12 dead, 58 injured); the 1999 Columbine High School massacre (15 dead, 24 injured); and the 1993 office shooting at the 101 California Street building in San Francisco (9 dead, 6 injured). In fact, “a review of 62 mass shootings between 1982 and 2012 by Mother Jones found that assault weapons were recovered in almost a quarter of them” (Three Common-Sense Gun Policies That Would Save Lives). It is our responsibility to protect the right to bear arms for law-abiding gun owners and better protect our communities from the rain of gunfire that is produced by semi-automatic assault weapons. It is up to us to help protect and bring awareness to get the necessary legislation in place to take action against these mass weapons.
Whatever your view or opinion, there are extreme opinions and influences surrounding gun control. We inundated with various articles, books, videos, ads, seminars, and even legislation to try to influence or persuade us one way or the other. Topics like gun control will always be controversial and opinions will vary but finding a common ground where we can meet is important and vital. Finding a solution that is sensible and reasonable by both sides is enticed. While we may never solve the full debate finding a common ground where we can make our public places safer while still maintaining rights and protections for others is possible. The most important thing to ask yourself here is does it make sense? Sensible legislation and protection around private gun sales does make sense, and keeping weapons of mass destruction away from civilians is also reasonable. Even if you cannot budge one way or the other, try to at least listen to both sides and make an educated decision based off of facts. Facts cannot lie and we are easily influenced today by opinions.
Remember there are valid reasons why certain people feel that gun control is unfair. People against gun control feel that it is a violation of the Constitution to control sale and distribution and the registration of guns and gun owners. But it is necessary for there to be certain limits and restrictions on the way firearms are handled with in our country because of the homicide rate involving guns and the violence created by criminals. We do not oppose laws to register our vehicles or object to laws requiring a license to marry. Think about this while we might not stop violence or prevent a crime from happening, one thing is for certain had there been a law in place requiring private gun sales that individual would have never sold that gun to a criminal unknowingly. Would you want to live with that on your conscious? At the very least, if for nothing else, let’s put laws into place that help protect gun rights and protect those who responsibly own a gun.