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Gun Violence In America

By Tsivia Chonoles
On January 26, 2016

In the year 2015, there were over 13,000 people killed in incidents involving a firearm according to the BBC, and nearly 27,000 injuries. This of course begs the question: why? This question, however, is twofold; why are these shootings and incidents occurring?, And why aren’t we doing more to prevent them from occurring?

While listening to the NPR One app on my phone, a news segment came up talking about exactly what California was doing to help prevent more deaths from gun violence. Beginning this year in California, if a person believes that a family member who owns guns may pose a threat to themselves or to other people, they will be able to approach a judge and possibly have that gun-owner’s firearms confiscated for a 21-day period to allow that person to be examined further and to more thoroughly judge whether or not they are truly a threat. This is the first law of its kind in the United States and it has me wondering: why are there not more laws like it? There is of course resistance from NRA members who not only cite the Second Amendment as a reason this law should not be allowed, but who claim that this law can be used for personal agendas, but the reality is that laws like this could save lives.

The gun control laws the United States currently have are designed to save lives too – if not for that pesky little loophole. Currently, gun control laws require background checks on buyers by every registered firearm seller. However, any person can just walk into a gun show and privately buy or sell firearms without going through proper channels or completing background checks. This makes it insanely easy for potentially dangerous people to acquire even more dangerous weapons. Hopefully not anymore; the President announced in the beginning of this year plans for new regulations to close this loophole, and to also prevent dealers from not reporting stolen firearms.

These laws could save lives, and yet there are people out there who think that this is a bad idea because it impinges the Second Amendment right to bear arms. Yes, every American has the right to bear arms, but I truly believe that this right is actually a privilege. People who intentionally harm or kill other people should not be allowed to own firearms, especially since they cannot be expected to do so responsibly. People who cannot properly secure their firearms to keep them out of the hands of children or those irresponsible people should not be allowed to own firearms. There are already structures in place to prevent people with certain mental disabilities and illnesses who may pose a threat even without weapons from obtaining firearms. So why shouldn’t there be structures in place to confiscate the firearms of a person who, after proving themselves trustworthy of handling them in a safe and responsible manner, at some point becomes unable to do so any longer?

Life can be extremely stressful and can take its toll on anybody. Even the most seasoned police professionals have to pass firearm qualifications, and quite a few police forces require psychological evaluations as well as drug testing. There are all sorts of criteria to determine whether or not a person is fit to responsibly carry firearms, yet there are some people who believe that no one should be barred from carrying a weapon. I believe that more states should be taking actions against gun violence the way that California has. One mass shooting, spree killing, or single murder is one too many.

No person should have to go through the pain and devastation brought by losing a loved one to gun violence because a few people think that protecting those people would infringe upon their right to collect guns for sport or as a hobby.

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