Politics Behind Gun Control

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The United States has suffered more gun violence than any developed country in the world. In january 2011, an armed person shot 20 people killing six of them at a grocery store parking lot in Tucson. In july 2012, an armed man walked into a packed movie theatre in Aurora and shot 70 people killing 12 of them. Weeks after the Aurora shooting, another shooting took place in a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek Wisconsin. Six people were killed and four were wounded in Oak Creek . In December 14, 2012, A man stormed into an Elementary school in Newtown. He shot indiscriminately at the 6 and 7 year old first graders killing 20 of the kids in minutes. Six of the staff members who tried to protect the children in their care, were also killed.

According to Mother Jones report on Mass shooting in America, There has been close to 70 reported shooting incidences in the US since 1982. The shooting has happened in 30 states across the country, from Hawaii to Massachusetts. At least 1,000 people have lost their lives in this incidences.

The president of the US, Barack Obama, speeches regarding mass shooting have become more emotional and disgusted. The congress on the other hand is unwilling to pass the laws that would mitigate how regular mass shooting would occur.

The law as it is right now, licensed gun retailers are required to see buyers identification and fill in a form with lengthy firearm transaction record to satisfy that the buyer is buying firearm for themselves. They are also required to submit this record for a background check and keep a copy of the record. Unlicensed vendors and attendees at a gun show are not required to keep this law. This therefore creates a huge loop hole on sale and acquisition of fire arms.

Many researchers have shown that almost half of the civilian population in America have guns. This means getting the US levels of gun violence down to levels such as those in Europe would mean taking guns from away from a huge number of gun owners. If that would ever happen, it would seem as a travesty of the liberties that America prides itself on.

In 1996 Australia, a 28 year old man killed 35 people at Port Arthur prompting the Australian government to enacted a mandatory gun buyback to reduce the number of civilian owned guns. The government also banned the importation of all automatic, semi automatic and shotgun rifles. This saw the number of firearm suicide fall significantly along with the rate of gun violence in Australia. But what the US politicians are calling for is far less dramatic than what Australia enacted.

The National Rifle Association is part of the reason why the Australian kind of action cannot be implemented in the US. But the Obama Administration is not asking for something as dramatic as that. President Obama’s gun control policy focuses on:

  • a universal background check for gun buyers,
  • banning assault weapons and
  • increasing criminal penalties for illicit gun traffickers.

The question that we are left with now is, do gun control laws work? An argument made by a US Congressman Pittenger, he said that gun control will not eradiated gun violence. He said Criminals, by definition, do not obey the law.  History has shown gun control laws will not prevent mass shootings.  There was an assault weapons ban in effect at the time of Columbine, the guns used at Sandy Hook were stolen, and a breakdown in the existing background check system allowed Charleston shooter Dylann Roof to purchase a gun.”

The debate about gun control has been going on for a better part of Barrack Obama’s presidency. From the current stand of things, it is clear that this debate will not end any time soon. However, gun control laws are not as they were when the debate started. Significant changes are expected to be seen in how gun trade is run in the US.

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