The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

Ineffective U.S. Gun Laws Prompt Gun Violence


In 2015 in the US, there were 372 mass shootings according to BBC. That is an average of about one each day. Gun violence is a large problem and it doesn’t just affect one or two people, it affects families, friends, neighborhoods and communities.

Guns cause these deaths but the people who own the gun are responsible for these deaths. That is why background checks on gun buyers should be done more effectively and should be done on everyone buying a gun.

On average, 90 people in the US die every day due to guns, according to Dan Gross, President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. To put that in perspective, that would mean that about every 10 days, all students of WIS would be killed by a gun. But it doesn’t just stop after ten days, this is every day for years on. It is just too easy to kill someone with a gun. No fighting with the other person is needed; no physical pain for the murderer.

It is also too straightforward to obtain a gun. According to an article written by Aaron Smith for CNN, in order to get a gun in some states, all you need to do is fill in some information. “Required information includes: name, address, place of birth, race and citizenship. A social security number is only ‘optional,’ though it’s recommended,” Smith wrote. Then you need to answer some questions and then there is a background check -which can only take a couple of minutes- and then you get your gun. But that is only in stores. At gun shows, no background check is needed. You can just buy a gun and walk out.

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Taking away all guns from US citizens and prohibiting them from getting any would be the most effective solution but it’s unrealistic. Plus, not all gun owners are crazy or violent people. But there are those people who are crazy and they can easily get a gun. That should not happen. That is where background checks come in.

In 2015, a white man, Dylann Roof, killed nine African Americans in a racially motivated attack in Charleston, South Carolina. He killed them using a gun which was bought at a gun store, where he had to pass a background check. Although he, the same year before he bought the gun, was arrested for trespassing and drug possession, he still passed the background check. He even had racist posts on his Facebook page but the FBI said that that kind of stuff doesn’t come up in a background check. Dylann Roof shouldn’t have been allowed to purchase a gun but yet he could and he used it to kill nine people.

Increasing background checks wouldn’t only help prevent many murders, it would also prevent unintentional deaths by firearms. Many Americans claim to have a firearm to protect themselves from other people with firearms. To protect themselves against the crazy people with guns. If background checks were held more often and more strict, the crazy people wouldn’t have guns which would reduce the need for firearms for those Americans mentioned before. That would mean there would be fewer firearms in total which would also decrease the amount of accidental deaths caused by firearms. According to Brady Campaign President Dan Gross, nine kids get shot unintentionally every day. They get killed by the gun when they find it lying around the house and decide to play with it.

Increasing background checks would definitely have it’s advantages but we should also look another contributing factor to gun violence; the age limit to buy a gun. In most states of America, you can buy a gun before you can buy a beer. The age limit for drinking in America is 21. The age limit to buy a long gun in America is around 18 years. In Vermont, an American can even legally buy any gun at age 16 and possess a rifle or shotgun at any age. As SmartGunLaws stated, “A survey of convicted gun offenders in 13 states found that nearly a quarter of them would have been prohibited from obtaining firearms at the time of the crime if the minimum legal age for possessing any type of firearm was 21 years”.

Gun laws in the US don’t make sense. They allow people to have guns who shouldn’t and those people misuse their guns and cause catastrophic damage to other people. Nobody actually needs a gun and if nobody had a gun, there would be little to no gun related deaths. Sadly, this is not an achievable goal. However, increasing background checks and raising the age limit on guns is an achievable goal and this should be done for the benefit of all citizens of America.

By Thomas Lanning


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