What Must Be Done In Order To Minimize Gun Violence
By: David McDonald
Given recent events, this is obviously a sensitive topic. However, if you’ve been keeping up with some of the terrible things that have been happening (primarily in the U.S) due to guns, then you are aware of the dire need for a better gun regulation system throughout the country.
The main concern with gun laws in America is not the fact that there are so many firearms across the country, or that there are “mentally-ill” angry white kids, and “radical Islamists” terrorizing the country. Rather, the concern lies with how easy it is to obtain these lethal weapons.
American citizens have the choice to purchase their firearms from the ever so convenient Walmart chains and family-run shops that number in the thousands across the nation. People also regularly buy guns from neighbours or family members, which means old firearms are being passed down each generation and lasting much longer in the hands of citizens.
In order for people to purchase a firearm, a background check is conducted (only on in store purchases). There, gun buyers have to fill out a form from the ATF, or the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
Seems like a decent protocol right? Fill out an in-depth form on why you need a weapon and how it will benefit you. Yeah, if only that were the truth.
Gun buyers simply fill in a short survey that includes questions like: Name, address, place of birth, race and citizenship. The form asks several broad questions such as:
*Have you ever been convicted of a felony?
*Have you ever been convicted of a misdemeanour crime of domestic violence?
*Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any other depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?
*Are you a fugitive from justice?
*Have you ever been committed to a mental institution?
The store then calls the FBI, which runs a background check on the person through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, also known as NICS. The background check can just take minutes.
NICS scans federal databases like the National Crime Information Centre and Interstate Identification Index for information. If a purchaser has been convicted of a felony, or misdemeanours with sentences exceeding two years, or has been declared “mentally defective” by a court, then he or she won’t pass the background check.
However, denials are rare, occurring less than 1% of the time. More than 100 million such checks have been made in the last decade, leading to more than 700,000 denials.
With the horrific tragedy happening in Orlando, questions are beginning to arise about the effectiveness of these ‘FBI background checks’. Omar Mateen, born in New York City, had previously undergone FBI background checks and was on their surveillance, yet was still able to purchase heavy assault rifles.
An AR-15 Assault Rifle that Mateen used
According to The New York Times, “Two years after that, the Federal Bureau of Investigation was called in after reports from Mr. Mateen’s co-workers that he, the American-born son of Afghan immigrants, had suggested he may have had terrorist ties. The F.B.I. interviewed him twice, but after surveillance, records checks and witness interviews, agents were unable to verify any terrorist links and closed their investigation.
Then, in 2014, the F.B.I. discovered a possible tie between Mr. Mateen and Moner Mohammad Abusalha, who had grown up in nearby Vero Beach and then became the first American suicide bomber in Syria, where he fought with the Nusra Front, a Qaeda-aligned militant group. Again, the F.B.I. closed its inquiry after finding “minimal” contact between the two men.”
Mateen was clearly known by the FBI and even had possible ties to terrorist regimes. So how does someone like this just slip under the gun administrators radar? America’s poor gun purchasing laws are to blame. With a background check that can be completed in minutes, and with buyers not needing to give a real reason as to why they are purchasing lethal weapons, it is inevitable that guns will end up in the wrong hands – just like Mr. Omar Matten.
Something needs to be done to tighten these regulations. This man was already being investigated by the FBI, which goes to say how weak these FBI background checks actually are.
The U.S. must make it harder for people to obtain guns. By this I mean, an interview with someone who administers the privileges to buy these weapons, where the interviewer asks the buyer why they need a gun, what they will use it for etc. This, along with background checks won’t change everything, but it will make it harder for people like Omar Mateen to get their hands on lethal firearms.
Tightening gun laws will mean America is one step closer to lowering chances of mass shootings, homicides, and the need for guns in general.
Yes, people have the right to own a firearm, and if you live in a bad area, you should have one. But what I’m saying is that the process to purchase a firearm should be the same, if not, more rigorous than what it takes to get a driver’s license. Both have a similar level of danger, yet it is much easier to purchase a gun than it is to drive a car.
Does the government not see anything wrong with this?
I’m sure there are some intelligence people in congress trying to propose exactly what I am saying, but the thing is, there aren’t enough of these people. There are still people with a great deal of power that believe it should be easy to get guns because gun manufacturers can profit off of this.
I’m not gonna go on a huge tangent and give a ton of statistics to back this point up, but generally, it makes sense. I mean, why else would America have lenient gun laws other than to help large scale weapon manufacturers? Is the gun industry no different than the pharmaceutical industry and marijuana industry in this sense?
America runs off of large corporations. The more I research things like this, the more I find that the government is corrupt, and might even lack the power to make these huge changes, because it is really large companies like WalMart and large banks that are in control of things.
If change doesn’t come soon, mass shootings like the one in Orlando will continue to happen, and more people will continue to die, all at the expense of massive profits for weapon manufacturers.