Why we need more gun control in the US

Ronak Mohanty, Staff Writer

You hear about it on the news and it is more common than you may think: Mass shootings are happening in schools, churches, and places of business. In fact, last year at North Kingstown High School, a student threatened to bring a gun into the school. Luckily, the police were able to determine the nature of the threat. 

According to a 2017 poll conducted on pewresearch.org, forty-four percent of Americans said they knew someone who was shot. These events can not be normalized. We need more gun control nationwide.

Having more gun control means having stricter laws and more security with gun transactions to prevent potentially dangerous individuals from purchasing weapons. It also means limiting the types of firearms citizens can buy. For example, most people say they need guns for personal protection, but no civilian needs an automatic assault rifle to defend themselves. For self-defense purposes, a normal handgun should be sustainable. 

We need to make sure these rules apply to gun shows and private sales too. Sometimes with shotguns and other longer guns, unlicensed dealers aren’t required to do FBI background checks during a gun show. For example, this kind of activity is permitted in the state of Pennsylvania. If you were to sell a gun in a private sale, federal law does not require any background checks whatsoever.

Some people think that having stricter gun control laws would not do anything since criminals would find a way to obtain harmful weapons no matter the circumstance. Yet data shows that the countries with stricter gun control laws have lower gun suicide and homicide rates. 

According to fastcompany.com, in the United States, there are only two required steps all states must follow as a bare minimum. Note some states have more restrictions, but this is the bare minimum all states must have for buying a gun at a gun store.  

Step 1: An instant background check to determine your criminal record. Step 2: Purchase the weapon. In Japan, there are a whopping thirteen steps. Some steps include, taking a firearm class, taking an exam, and having a doctor give a note that says you are mentally fit to have a gun. In some cases, you must also have an interview with the police and explain why you need a gun. You also need to submit a review of your criminal history. Then you need to take a one-day training class and pass a firing test. Then you have to submit a certificate from a gun dealer describing what type of gun you want. After an additional background check and having the police inspect the storage for your gun, you can finally purchase the weapon. 

Thus, the United States background check is not enough, someone with a clean record could snap and commit a crime. We need to implement the extra steps Japan has, nationwide. That last step about storage is important too, that way no dangerous person can take your gun easily.

The numbers speak for themselves. According to a graph on npr.org, there were 0.04 gun deaths per 100,000 people in Japan during 2017. In the same year there were 4.43 gun deaths per 100,000 people in the United States. That’s over 100 times as many deaths!

While it is impossible to eliminate gun deaths entirely, stricter gun laws will ensure there are less casualties. Remember, less death is always better than more.

A majority of Americans also believe we need more security around buying guns. According to a Quinnipiac poll, 67% of Americans support an assault weapons ban, 83% agree with mandatory waiting periods when buying a gun. 97% of gun owners support universal background checks before a gun purchase. If the majority of American voters want to implement laws to improve their safety, then those laws should be drafted.

Those who are opposed to gun restrictions may point out that the Second Amendment in the U.S Constitution is there to ensure every American has the right to possess a firearm. However, this is simply not the case. The Second Amendment only guarantees people in militias the right to bear arms. This was necessary back then. America had just gained independence and the citizens needed to be ready to defend themselves in case Britain or any other country attacked. But today that is not necessary. America is not on the brink of war, so it is unnecessary for every single citizen to carry a gun. And besides, would you want someone with a violent or mental illness history wielding a potentially life-ending weapon? I wouldn’t think so.

In order to improve the safety of our societies, we need to implement stricter gun laws in our country, for the safety of innocent children in schools, people at work, and anyone in public.