By Lily Rusk, Clarion Editor in Chief
Recent events, including the mass shooting on April 3 in downtown Sacramento, raise the question of what policies are best to deal with gun violence in the U.S. Warring ideas on how to cope with gun violence give way to organizations that perpetuate widespread misinformation to achieve a certain agenda. After the recent shooting tragedy in the capital of California (the state with the strictest gun laws) anti-gun control comments raise the question of whether or not strict gun laws actually exacerbate gun violence rather than limit it. This has allowed organizations like the NRA to take control of the narrative of gun violence, advocating for fewer restrictions to semi-automatic assault weapons. It is important though, to look at the situation as a whole with all of the facts.
Stricter background checks for gun buyers are an integral part of decreasing gun violence. According to the New York Times , less stringent background check policies also led to higher rates of firearms homicides, while a study by The US Department of Justice found that background checks were associated with more than a 20-percent drop in firearm suicide and homicide rates among adults age 21 and older. This is crucial because if legislators pass more harsh background checks, fewer people will have such easy access to guns which will save a substantial amount of lives.
Allowing people to get guns too easily has resulted in numerous deaths. CNN reported that if the FBI fails to complete the background check in the allotted time, the individual is permitted to purchase the firearm. The current system takes a very short time. If there is a mistake or missing information, the FBI is supposed to investigate and determine if the applicant is dangerous. If they fail to do so after 3 business days, the applicant is permitted to purchase their firearm, and a potentially dangerous person could get their hands on a firearm.
Guns also need to be stopped from entering the black market. Giffords law center reported that background check laws help prevent guns from being diverted to the illegal gun market. States without universal background check laws export crime guns across state lines at a 30-percent higher rate than states that require background checks on all gun sales. When stricter background checks are initiated, not only will we be able to stop guns from circulating in the regular market, but we will also be able to stop guns from being transferred in the black market.
This is so important because even those who obtain guns illegally will have a harder time getting a gun, therefore there will be a dramatic decrease in gun violence.