The Gun Control Debate Has Been One of the Most Divisive Issues in America

The gun control debate has been one of the most divisive issues in America. With mass shootings in Las Vegas and Florida, the infamous school shooting in Sandy Hook, this debate has only become more prevalent. U.S gun violence is a symptom of a long historical problem. Stricter gun control measures should be taken because they will decrease crime rates and increase safety.

Stricter laws for gun control arguably results in decreased violence and crime. Senator Chris Murphy asserted, “states with tough laws” leads to low rates of gun violence (Murphy). In the mid 1990s, proactive arrests for carrying concealed weapons substantially reduced gun crimes in Kansas City (CBS News). Accessibility to guns is fairly uncomplicated in many states. Kansas and Louisiana being states with the least restrictions also have the most violence with guns(CBS News). Setting up gun regulations and policies must be widespread in the United States, with laws instituted nation wide for a safer society.

Stricter regulations on guns are necessary to decrease suicide rates in the US. In Alaska, without the requisite of permits when purchasing guns, the weapon has become the leading cause of suicide in Alaska. Eighty percent of all firearm deaths in Alaska are suicides (CBS News). States with the highest rates of suicide have the strongest culture of gun ownership. Like Utah, which has one of the highest rates of suicide in the U.S – a harrowing figure of 21 deaths per 100,000 people and the most common method used is firearms. Public Health authorities should be developing public service announcements aimed at encouraging friends and family of struggling loved ones to get some distance from firearms. PH authorities and firearm communities should collaborate to find ways to limit access to particularly lethal methods of committing suicide through the use of guns.

Stricter background checks meaning personal information specifically age, address, race, and criminal history, are necessary before one can be allowed to buy guns. Since the system is only used by gun sellers with a federal license, they do always conduct background checks. Since federal law does not require states to collect mental health records as part of the background check system and many fail to voluntarily report the records, guns are coming in the hands of dangerous people (CNN). The federal government needs to track nationwide gun sales for reliable data on how many are sold. This is why Nikolas Cruz, shooter of parkland shooting and Adam Lanza, shooter of Sandy Hook school shooting was allowed to purchase guns (CNN). States should pass bills that require professionals of mental health to report dangerous ptients to confiscate any firearms that these people might own. Then there will be less guns in the hands of threatening people. More states can allow law enforcement officers or, in some cases, family members or others to petition a court to temporarily take guns from people who pose a danger to themselves or others. Police powers can be expanded by allowing officers to detain people for a mental health evaluation on the basis of worrisome social media posts or graphic threats.

Minimum age requirements should be increased to limit the availability of firearms to young people—and therefore reduce the gun violence and shootings they commit. All states should implement CAP (Children Access Prevention) laws since they have been shown to be effective at reducing suicides and unintentional firearm deaths and injuries of children (Giffords Law Center). Studies have been found that in twelve states where such laws had been in effect for at least one year, unintentional firearm deaths fell by 23% from 1990-94 among children under 15 years of age (Giffords Law Center). However, despite the strong evidence of the protective effect of CAP laws, there are still 23 states that do not have these laws on the books, and there are no CAP laws at the federal level which means that 23 states still have a higher chance of gun violence by young people.

If people who are arguing that they want to bear arms because of recreational use or self defense, if they are legible, they will be able to keep their guns. Stricter laws are needed for people to feel safe again so that there are less chances of guns falling into the hands of the wrong people. According to the Second Amendment, people have the right to bear arms as a safe defense mechanism. But with clear evidence, guns are causing more negative effects on people than positive. Since the way and reasons for why people are using guns have altered, the laws also need to be revamped.