Stronger gun control will help prevent fatalities related to mental health disorders

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Just the thought of a firearm can be a cause for concern. Throw into the mix the increasing number of people being diagnosed with some sort of mental health disorder, and it creates a potentially explosive scenario. More than 75% of guns used in suicide attempts and unintentional injuries of 0-19 year-olds were stored in the residence of the victim, a relative, or a friend. While guns were stored, they were not stored away safely and were accessed to create catastrophes. Unfortunately, suicide has been the route for far too many people in this country, and access to firearms increases the likelihood of an attempt leading to death. There is also the growing concern of the mentally ill possessing these deadly weapons. With the sad excuses we have for gun control today, it almost seems easy for individuals to access firearms and make a permanent decision. We need to place more restrictions on gun ownership in order to prevent those who are looking to commit suicide or harm others from succeeding.

As we all know, gun violence is a serious issue in the United States. We hear all over the news about mass shootings and gun homicides, but the media rarely reports firearm related suicides. While it is important to raise awareness for the ongoing brutalities that we hear about, it is also salient to inform Americans about the increasing rate of suicides committed with firearms. Out of the 34,000 firearm deaths in 2013,  24,000 took their own lives because they had access to a gun. Shocking statistics show approximately 49 gun suicides were committed each day between the years of 2005 and 2010. 49 firearm suicides every day is horrifying. Among the many Americans we hope to inform, gun owners are who we really hope will pay close attention to our fight for gun safety. We are not asking for guns to be banned and for people to forfeit their second amendment rights. However, we are asking for restrictions to be placed on gun ownership in order to save lives of troubled individuals everyday. We understand that gun owners will argue that having a lock or a code is sufficient enough. In reality, a padlock can be broken with a hammer, and a code can be as simple as your mother’s birthday, or something that can be figured out over the course of a few trials. With technology advancing, biometric gun control is becoming a popular option, and it seems to be the safest. Features such as fingerprinting, hand geometry, iris scans, or voice characteristics are used to identify the owner.  Although biometric gun control was initially expensive, the method has become cost efficient over the years. Stricter gun control may cost an extra paycheck, but it is worth giving up takeout for a month than hearing about a suicide that was committed with a firearm licensed under your name.

A staggering 51% of individuals who take their lives with firearms every year are between the ages of 10 and 19 years old. While it is horrendous that these young adults truly believe they have no option left but leaving this Earth, it is even more horrendous that they are able to access guns and end their lives in a split second. What about the 49% who are older and most likely purchase a gun from their local shop? Although we do have background checks today, the process is basically effortless. The procedure often lasts less than two minutes and only denies about 2% of consumers. Those 2%  are either convicted felons or have a restraining order against them. Notice here how it says nothing about those who are mentally ill. In fact, Seung-Hui Cho, who was declared mentally ill in 2005, carried out one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history after passing one of these almost futile background checks and possessing a gun. Cho killed 33 people in the Virginia Tech mass shooting before turning the gun on himself and committing suicide. How can a person who has been diagnosed as mentally ill be allowed to own and license a deadly weapon? If we had background checks that lasted more than 120 seconds, examined costumers carefully, and took mental health into account, then maybe we wouldn't see people possessing guns who should never have their hands on them. While many people argue that we should be treating people like Cho with mental health professionals instead of creating stricter gun legislation, how can we possibly treat someone who wishes to purchase a gun when the issue of a mental illness does not come up during a federal background check? If we do not have the knowledge of an illness, how are we supposed to know to get an individual help? Furthermore, if people still argue that we should be treating those who are sick instead of placing restrictions, just look at Adam Lanza. The Sandy Hook elementary school shooting was a heinous act committed by an individual who had access to his mother’s gun. 20 year old Adam Lanza shot and killed his mother, 20 children between the ages of six and seven, six school staff members, and eventually took his own life. While Adam Lanza was extremely ill, he never should have had access to a gun, and this catastrophe never should have happened. In the cases of Seung-Hui Cho and Adam Lanza, both individuals were mentally ill, gained access to a firearm, committed homicide and suicide, and show that in today’s day and age it appears very easy for anyone, under any circumstances, to access a gun.

If you fear the atrocities you hear about on the news or seeing your loved ones fall into a dangerous state, signing this petition is the first step to make a change. Guns can’t be exposed to individuals diagnosed with any form of mental health disorders, and background checks need to be taken more seriously. While treatment would help to an extent, it is easier to stop patients from gaining access to firearms with vital restrictions, than to cure an intricate battle going on in their minds. Guns cause far too many fatalities in this country, and it’s time to end the violence.




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