Does America Have a Gun Problem?
"Nearly 40,000 People die from guns in the U.S. last year..." (Mervosh). This statistic needs a more nuanced view about how and why these deaths came about. In having family members in the police force and ATF along with research show the deaths people can prevent while juggling the right people have to defend themselves. Through current and future gun legislation cultivate fewer gun deaths by stopping public gun shows and purchases, without outlawing possession of certain firearms, and understanding the ten-day waiting period. One of the most politicized and talked about circumstance is the "gun show loophole".
The "gun show loophole" is nothing more than a catchy name, a more accurate description is a limitation in the law. This phenomenon was proven by U.C. which states, "Undocumented private party gun sale transactions account for as many as 40 percent of all gun sales" (U.C. Davis). This is a very important statistic about private gun sales that the private sale in many states do not need to run a background check if a transaction does occur. This is not illegal however because private sales as long as they do not cross state lines are not illegal, in most states. In my interview with ATF agent Dan Waltenbaugh he explained this "limitation in the law" and the laws needed to correct this limitation. This limitation comes from the Interstate commerce laws and how our federal rules and regulation cannot be put in acted out unless there is a crossing in state lines. This puts the responsibility of private sales on the states. Federal agent Waltenbaugh said there is two states who have these laws in place both California and Illinois require documentation for private sales that close this limitation. What certain places do wrong with their legislation is completely ban guns or certain types.
The outlawing of firearms or certain firearms can be detrimental to the safety of an overall society. A paper published in the British Journal of Criminology by Samara Mcphedran and others speaks on the banning of firearms. In the paper Gun laws and Sudden deaths states from Samara Mcphedran, "There is insufficient evidence to support the simple premise that reducing the stockpile of licitly held civilian firearms will result in a reduction in either firearm or overall sudden death rates" (Mcphedran). This quote was written in their final conclusion which effectively say the number of firearms in a country is not proportional to the safety or the deaths in the public in any measurable way. Before governments pass laws, they should be limited purpose and scope. Without any measurable goal or statistics behind your law you can have very devastating consequences to your society. To go along with this statement Americas Assault rifle ban that restricts certain attachments and weapons based on ill-defined definitions and reasoning. This IRC, Internal Review Code, defines and taxes all the certain types of weapons that the U.S. government recognizes. Assault rifle ids not a specified type of gun, it is a rifle but has cosmetic differences. The assault weapons ban was federal law which was also limited by the Interstate Commerce Act hampering its usefulness. This stipulation along with the fact there is no evidence to support that they are more dangerous then handguns.
The federally mandated background check is a useful tool to help prevent felons from getting firearms. There are most definitely problems with this system like private sales that can circumvent this process. There is an aspect of this process people want to nullify or expand, which is a waiting period on firearms. The rationale behind these laws is summed up by the Gifford law center, "By delaying immediate access to firearms, waiting periods create an important "cooling off" period that can help prevent impulsive acts of gun violence... (Gifford law center)." This reasoning can help and save people for sure, however this completely conflicts the primary legal reason behind getting guns. This can completely nullify the ability to defend one's self. Say someone who is fearing for the safety of their family or home and they have to wait ten days to obtain the tool they need to defend themselves. This in direct violation of the fundamental right to self-defense. Therefore any restriction or rise on firearms can potentially harm innocent individuals just trying to protect themselves and live their lives. This issue arises and it is not easy to solve besides that people have to do it themselves.
We have a lot of issues with guns in this country, however the solutions are more nuanced then the simple banning or deregulation of weapons. Sweeping easy gun legislation on a massive scale has many issues and cannot solve the problems with gun violence or gun deaths. A better fix is local gun legislation can close loopholes, can help the understanding of the ten-day waiting period and weapons bans. These issues are more than what meets the eye and needs to be solved by the smallest levels of society. Education on the reasons behind the issues and the changing of local laws is the only reasons to solves these issues.
Baker, Jeanine, and Samara McPhedran. "Gun Laws and Sudden Death: Did the Australian Firearms Legislation of 1996 Make a Difference?" OUP Academic, Oxford University Press
Mervosh, Sarah. "Nearly 40,000 People Died From Guns in U.S. Last Year, Highest in 50 Years." The New York Times, The New York Times
"Stats of the States - Firearm Mortality." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
"UC Davis Report Exposes Loopholes in Gun-Control Laws." UC Davis Report ─ UC Davis Health System Feature Story, UC Davis Health Department of Public Affairs and Marketing
Urbina, Ian. "A Look at California Gun Laws, Among the Toughest in the Nation." The New York Times, The New York Times
"US CODE Title 26." INTERNAL REVENUE CODE, 1958