The number of deaths annually as a result of firearms are increasing severely as each year passes by. We hear of someone who was deemed by those who knew him as being extremely unsocial and always to himself, and someone else who was said to have extremely racist views against a certain religion, and wonder, how did these people obtain a firearm in the first place? Are background checks so basic that almost anyone, regardless of his or her views and past, can obtain a firearm with only a couple, basic steps? In order to decrease the number of shootings, we must separate those who will be responsible for their possession of a firearm and those who cannot be trusted. This can only be completed by having more extensive background checks, ensuring that only those who will use their firearms for the right purposes will be able to own one in the first place. According to Garen Wintemute, director of the UC Davis Violence Prevention Research Program, though our country accounts for only five percent of the world’s population, we hold around 40% of all firearms owned by civilians across the globe, with around 88.9 per 100 U.S. adults owning a firearm. Furthermore, that those who have committed some misdemeanor violent crime should be harshly scrutinized when applying to purchase guns or, alternately, not be allowed to purchase guns at all. In fact, Wintemute adds that those who have committed some misdemeanor violent crime, such as assault and battery, are nine times more likely to be arrested for another violent crime. One can only imagine the after-effects of another shooting involving someone who was not to be trusted in the first place. Why take a risk when there is an easy, simple solution to ensure that the number of shootings will severely decrease. Yes, many who want to purchase guns will feel as though they are giving up more privacy, but we, as a country, can on longer take any risks. We must do what is right for the country, and what is safe for its citizens, and the only way that both can be achieved is by ensuring that only those who are deemed responsible can possess firearms.
We hope that these changes, if made, will further help prevent repeats of recent mass shootings, like those at Newtown, Aurora, and Oak Creek. The murder of children and other innocent Americans has gone too far; greater restrictions on firearms are necessary to keep them out of schools and public places in general. Fighting to put guns on the street like the NRA has been doing is tantamount to condoning murder. Do law-abiding citizens have any legitimate use for assault weapons or is it a front for something far more sinister? It is for these reasons that we believe that the aforementioned amendments should be added to your proposed assault weapon legislation. We thank you for your time, and look forward to hearing from your office about our proposed amendments on more extensive and detailed background checks.