Forum

Stricter gun control laws needed

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With the recent abundance of mass shootings in the U.S., the subject of gun safety has once again been brought into the spotlight. These tragic events serve as reminders that stricter gun control policies should be enforced to ensure public safety.

According to The Center for Responsive Politics, gun activists argue that “measures intended to curb gun-related violence, such as mandatory child safety locks, background checks on those wishing to purchase a gun, limits on the number of guns a person can buy, and raising the age limit for gun ownership ... infringe on the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens.”

What these activists fail to realize is that neglecting to control gun ownership makes our streets more dangerous and violates every person’s right to life and liberty.
While the Second Amendment was meant for protection, guns without regulations give way to nothing but widespread violence and tragedies. In fact, according to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, there have been more than 61 mass shootings in the U.S. since the Jan. 8, massacre in Tuscon, Arizona last year.

In what the FBI described as a “domestic terrorist-type incident,” seven people were killed and three injured at a Sikh temple in a Milwaukee suburb at the beginning of this month. In July, 12 people were killed and 58 injured during the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado. Even Pittsburgh witnessed the dangers of guns falling into the wrong hands when a gunman opened fire in the lobby of the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic in March, killing one and wounding seven.

The government isn’t doing enough in terms of enforcing gun control laws, thus making our streets more dangerous. As of 2010, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) stated that federal law does not prohibit members of terrorist organizations from purchasing or possessing firearms or explosives.
Furthermore, the GAO reported that “between February 2004 and February 2010, 1,225 firearm and three explosives background checks for people on terrorist watch lists were processed through the federal background check system, [and that] of these, 91 percent of the firearm transactions and 100 percent of the explosives transactions were allowed.”

If guns fall into the hands of potential terrorists, it defeats the purpose of the government’s pre-existing gun control measures.

The problem of gun violence needs to be addressed both from a cultural point of view and a political perspective. Guns have always been a part of life, and finding a happy medium for gun control is a daunting task.

The matter of finding a solution to gun violence is complicated by the fact that many gun activists believe gun control measures do not provide any proven benefit to the public. However, stricter gun control laws have shown an improved general safety outside the U.S.

Australia has succeeded in implementing effective gun control laws, leading to a decrease in both gun suicides and homicides. The Australian federal government persuaded all states and territories to enforce stricter bans on long guns that could be used in mass shootings. While there were 13 mass shootings in Australia between 1979 and 1996, there have not been any since then, demonstrating how such measures have helped make Australia a safer place to live.

The bottom line is that while guns should not be outlawed entirely, there should be stricter laws enforcing gun control policies. In our country, since just about anyone can legally own a gun, it is much easier for tragedies to occur. While outlawing the use of guns is unconstitutional and unrealistic, enforcing proper gun control laws would create a much safer environment for everyone.