Reduce Gun Violence/Mass Shootings in the United States
Reduce Gun Violence/Mass Shootings in the United States
Can we be real about this? Like, really really real? Gun violence is an epidemic in America. We are averaging over 1 mass shooting per day on top of all the other forms of gun violence and quite frankly, people are terrified this problem is a matter of, "when" not "if".
No child should have to fear going to school, no person should have to fear going to Walmart, no friend or family member should have to worry about people they love going to a concert, or the movies, or a bar.
How terrifying is it that we all have to worry about the threat of being murdered for simply going about our daily lives? There seems to be a pattern where we have a mass shooting, everyone flips out for a day or two, and then we all go back to our normal lives and wait for the next one to happen before doing it all over again. Doesn't matter the victim. Children, the elderly, Americans, immigrants, white, black, etc. We've accepted violent deaths as part of our routine and we can no longer continue to do that.
If we're being honest with ourselves, we haven't done all that much to help this problem. Strongly worded tweets, claiming that a lack of God and too much video games are making people into killers, and saying that people need mental help (without actually making access to it any easier) haven't done a thing to prevent these killings. We need real tangible answers as soon as possible.
I could go on about how messed up it is that this is our reality and how everyone else looks at America with sadness and confusion but if we're keeping it real, we all know. We've had this conversation a million times. I'm mad. You're mad. We all want answers, none of us want to die or have people we love killed so it's time we start talking realistic answers.
Here I will outline some suggestions that I think need to be discussed and hopefully put into law so that maybe we can see less of this senseless violence.
- MANDATORY MENTAL HEALTH EXAMINATION BEFORE PURCHASING A FIREARM - Every single person operating a firearm should be of sound mind. And while there isn't a way to guarantee this 100% of the time, doing your best to identify those that are violent or suicidal should be a given. Any person who isn't in the right frame of mind to operate something specifically designed to kill people simply should not have that object. And so it should be a necessity that each person be required to visit a mental health professional and provide paperwork that deems them of being of sound mind.
- MANDATORY BACKGROUND CHECKS: Any person with a violent criminal past or affiliation with a violent or hateful group shouldn't have access to a firearm. If a person or their associates has a history of harming others or a desire to harm others then it makes no sense to give them the power to kill people with the squeeze of a trigger.
- MANDATORY WAIT PERIOD: The length of these wait periods can be flexible but this should help cut down on heat of the moment type incidents. Whether it be suicide or murder, giving a person time to think about their future actions is statistically beneficial in reducing gun death. While I won't go into all the minutia here, giving people a "cool-down" period from their initial purchase should be universal.
- MANDATORY GUN SAFETY CLASSES: Gun accidents are also a big killer in the United States. Over 70 children died in 2018 due to accidents with a firearm and making sure that all of our gun owners are responsible and safe with their weapons is a #1 priority. If you can't prove that you're responsible with a firearm, you shouldn't own one because those accidents with guns can be deadly.
- MANDATORY REGISTRY WITH LOCAL POLICE: If you're buying a firearm, the local police need to know about it. This is beneficial not only if there's a violent incident and the police need information on a suspect but in the instance where a dangerous person they're familiar with tries to buy a gun. If Person X has been known to make threats or has had the police called on them multiple times, it would be in the best interest of law enforcement to have knowledge that that person may be armed.
- NO PEER TO PEER SALES: Simply put, a lot of people aren't making sure that the people they're selling guns to are capable of owning one. When dealing with objects designed to kill people, we need to ensure that the only people selling are the ones capable of making sure their buyers are responsible and non-violent future gun owners. We should never hear of a case where someone who couldn't buy a gun still killed people because someone down the street sold them one.
- NATIONAL GUN REGISTRY. Every gun and its owner should be registered. If we find a gun at a crime scene, we should know who it belongs to with a simple search. We have the technology to make such a thing happen and there's no reason anyone should have a gun that we don't know about. This also allows us to enforce no peer to peer sales. If a gun registered to someone in Kansas is used in a murder in Georgia, we should be able to know that and talk to the original owner to find out why and how their weapon ended up there and to whom they sold it to.
- LIMIT ON BULLETS: Every person should have a limit on the amount of bullets they can purchase. A person buying a semi-automatic rile and enough bullets to take down a small army should be a red flag. If your gun purchase is about self-defense, then we need to determine what a realistic amount to accomplish that goal is.
- NO PURCHASE OF SEMI-AUTOMATIC RIFLES UNTIL A PERSO HAS HAD 3-5 YEARS OF GUN OWNERSHIP WITH NO VIOLENT INCIDENTS: This is pretty self-explanatory but we shouldn't trust people with higher caliber guns until they prove that they can handle a handgun with no violence. Breaking any of the aforementioned rules should also disqualify you from owning one even after you've purchased your first weapon.
I feel that these solutions are bipartisan as they don't outright ban guns but still put a limit on who can get them. I'd encourage every law maker or anyone with influence in law making spheres to seriously consider these strategies or come up with your own to help stop the violence.
And while there's a decent chance bureaucracy ensures that none of these see the light of day even if this petition gains a ton of steam, I still want to say this: Do something. Even if you completely disagree with me, come up with something else and do something. YOU are the people with the power to make things happen and right now, not a damn thing is being done to save lives and that simply isn't good enough.
We've needed change for years and it's time that something is done. If I can come up with ideas, you can too. Please, research and find out what works best for us. As long as you do something. No tweets. No speeches. Only action.