Gun Regulations are Necessary


Gun violence statistics per country from Everytown for Gun Safety.

McKelvey Collins, Features Editor

Events such as the National School Walkout and the March for Our Lives have created discussions about gun violence and what we can do to prevent it from happening. However, lawmakers still have taken very little action to regulate firearms, which should be basic common sense.

Many conservatives, backed by powerful special-interest groups like the National Rifle Association (NRA), firmly believe in the Second Amendment, which states that all citizens have the rights to bear arms. However, this law was made over 200 years ago, when the most advanced weapons were rifles that had to be manually reloaded before each shot was fired. Nowadays, automatic guns allow bullets to be fired in quick succession and can kill more people in a shorter period of time, as evidenced by mass shootings.

Controversial laws have been changed many times before. For example, the Constitution originally stated that slaves counted as three-fifths of a person. Later, the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments decided that slavery was unconstitutional and gave former slaves citizenship and the right to vote. When laws are outdated, they can and should be changed to reflect the values of our present society. The Second Amendment should be no exception. Giving all citizens access to firearms does not take into consideration the prevalence of assault-style weapons like the AR-15, which can be obtained legally by any citizen who passes a basic background check. New laws that ban the ownership of the AR-15 and all similar weapons, could prevent mass shootings and reduce the number of gun deaths per year.

While the United States does have mandatory background checks on those who wish to buy firearms, they are not always effective. According to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, the federal firearms law loophole exempts unlicensed gun sellers from performing background checks on their clients, which makes it easier for guns to end up in the hands of illegal buyers or weapons traffickers, and contributes to annual gun deaths. Gun shows also make it easier for unlicensed sellers to sell weapons without conducting background checks, which means that a criminal or anyone who should not have a firearm can own one.

A potential issue about this kind of ban pertains to the ownership of weapons such as hunting rifles. Rifles should not be banned outright, because they benefit people who do hunt. However, hunting rifles should be regulated and used for hunting purposes only. Stricter background checks can also help regulate the ownership and civilian use of firearms.

The government should also ban bump stocks. Bump stocks are devices that modify semiautomatic weapons to make them automatic, like machine guns. While some states have regulated bump stocks, they should be banned nationwide, as they can make already dangerous weapons even more deadly.

There is, however, a prevalent issue with the passage of gun legislation: many government officials, especially Republicans, oppose these laws, which is most likely because groups like the NRA contribute to their campaign funds. Therefore, they are less likely to vote in favor of gun legislation. A prominent example is Republican Senator Marco Rubio, who has accepted large donations from the NRA before. He was even called out on this issue by Parkland student and teen activist Cameron Kasky in a CNN town hall on Feb. 22. When politicians are “bought” by the NRA, their views on gun control are influenced in a negative way.

The banning of assault-style weapons can prevent more deadly mass shooting from happening in our already-tense country. There is no reason for a civilian to own an AR-15, and the continued sale and use of these weapons only contribute to the rising amount of deaths caused by daily gun violence.