25 October 2018
How Can We Stop Gun Violence?
Gun violence is possibly one of the most controversial political topics in question in our nation. Gun violence can happen anywhere at any time. Most mass shootings can be stopped before they even get started. Many times, if a mass shooting takes place there were signs already there that someone ignored, or rules that were not followed.
No one can ever stop all gun violence, but there should not be as many deaths today because of it. No matter what side of the political spectrum you fall on, gun violence could affect you at any time. There are steps that can be taken by not only those who are sworn to protect us, but steps that we as citizens can take ourselves to reduce the numbers of gun violence drastically.
Gun violence has been around longer than our country itself, but the first time most people saw how it could affect them was in April of 1999, when two high school students killed twelve students and one teacher at Columbine high school. This first major school shooting opened people’s eyes when they realized their kids were a target of this horrible crime. Both sides of the political spectrum believe they have answers to cut down on gun violence. On the right side, Conservatives believe that our efforts should be focused on proper gun training and better mental health screenings to keep those who are likely to do harm from obtaining a gun. On the left side, Liberals believe that more restrictions on guns are the solution, some would even go as far as banning all guns.
While gun bans may seem like a good idea on paper, they do not affect the amount of gun violence enough to justify them. A well trained, law abiding citizen however, can be affective at stopping gun violence. There are several cases of gun owning citizens stopping gunman during a shooting or stopping them before they even begin shooting.
My First step was to see just how much gun violence takes place in the country. I Started my search at the National Institute of Justice, but their information was not up to date, so I decided to keep looking. Next my search took me to the Gun Violence Archive, an organization that records cases of gun violence in America. They provided good statistics, but I wanted to find more information to make sure they were accurate. Finally, my search led me to everytownreasearch.org, where the statistics I found closely resembled the gun violence archives.
The second step I wanted to find statistics on areas where guns are banned or very restricted. My first stop was the CBS news website, where I found statistics on cases of gun violence in the city of Chicago, the city that has the most restrictive gun laws in America. Next, I went to sacbee.com to find statistics on California, the state with the most restrictive gun laws in America. Finally, my search took me to quaro.com, a site that provided me with statistics on gun violence in England and Australia, two countries that have both banned guns.
My final step in researching was to find out what methods have succeeded in cutting down gun violence. I took my research to the Alabama Virtual Library to easily find sources that relate to my topic. I started at Point of view Reference Center where I found an article called Points of View: Gun Control. The article gives statistics for background checks and reasons why they work. I then moved to an article titled Gun training for Safety, which gave reasons why gun owners should do yearly training to stay safe.
Will our country ever be cured by the plague that is gun violence? According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 49,533 reported cases of gun violence in 2018 While some believe that certain methods could stop this horrible crime, it is likely that we will never be completely free from it. However; there are ways we can cut down on gun violence and save innocent lives. To help cut down on gun violence we must require background checks, mandatory gun training, and keep guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens.
While banning guns may seem like it would fix our problem, statistics do not show this is true. According to an article from CBS News written in May 2018, Chicago, the city with the strictest gun laws in the country, has seen “…an alarming surge of gun violence” (1) despite how hard it is to purchase a gun there. California, the state with the strictest gun laws, has also seen an increase in gun violence. According to an article by sacbee.com “More people were killed with guns in California (in 2016) than in any other year since 20008.” (Reese, Lillis 1) Therefore; it seems that restricting guns does little to cut down gun violence if not only increasing it.
Currently, background checks are only required by federally licensed gun vendors. Private vendors can sell their guns without background checks at events such as gun shows. This has come to be known as the “gun show loophole.” According to an article called Points of View: Gun Control, “in a sampling of 447 denied gun transactions, only one was improperly denied.” Background checks are highly effective in weeding out criminals and people who should not own guns.
Yearly training for gun owners is another way to effectively cut down gun violence. Responsible gun owners have been shown to be effective in stopping shooters and protecting citizens before police could respond. Required training would also help cut down in cases of accidental shootings. According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 1,367 reported cases of unintentional shootings so far in 2018. If gun owners know how to properly use a gun, it could effectively lower this number.
Background checks and proper training for gun owners have already shown they can effectively help cut down gun violence. Gun bans and restrictions have shown they do little to stop gun violence if not increase the amount. While taking these measures will not completely stop gun violence it is a start to being able to reduce the cases of this horrible crime.