Within the firearm realm, there lies a dangerous loophole within our federal gun laws. This loophole exempts unlicensed sellers from having to perform any background check whatsoever before they sell a firearm. With the growing rate of gun violence, many are left wondering why.
The conversations of gun violence, reform, and background checks always come with some form of one-sided opinions. Many of the opinions root from morals and not factual information causing tension when the issue is brought into any conversation. Citizens have the right to guns. Therefore, there should not be any background checks to keep citizens from expressing their rights. Opposing opinions are based on the issue of how important background checks are in preventing gun violence from Americans who suffer from mental illness. Recently in New Zealand, an act of terrorism using firearms occurred. With 72 hours Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that many of the citizens have already surrendered their firearms to local police stations and new reforms were already being passed. News left many Americas wondering why new gun reforms have not been passed and what can be done to prevent another act of violence.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) is well known for voicing their opinion on gun rights. The NRA is highly effective in lobbying and campaigning against any legislative proposal for the control and restriction of firearms in the country. Members of the association believe that placing restrictions on firearms will not prevent violence but would benefit others in the high-risk situation. For example, the NRA believes that the only solution to firearm attacks, such as the Orlando shooting in 2016, is to address terrorism head-on, not take away the rights from law-abiding Americans to defend themselves.
The NRA has successfully placed barriers to prevent funding to support, research, and advocate gun control. They lobbied a law known as the Dickey Amendment that prohibits the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to use research funding to perform studies on gun control. Before the reallocation law, the CDC found that gun ownership increased the risk of homicide in the home. Organizations like the NRA firmly believe in their second amendment rights. They will continue to protest and lobby against politicians who want to build restrictions on firearms.
According to a survey done by Quinnipiac University in 2018, 97% of Americans supported background checks, leaving many wondering why they are not required when purchasing a firearm. Groups, such as Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, advocate for more restriction on firearms. The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence is a group of diverse individuals that are part of different religious organizations, social justice organizations, and public health professionals. Their mission is to stop gun violence through the use of research, strategic engagement and effective political advocacy. Their main goal is stopping the NRA from promoting violence and creating a safer country for the next generations.
Yes, mental illness does appear in some mass killers, but research and evidence have suggested that violence by people who are mentally ill is rare. Those with serve mental illness are more likely to commit suicide using a firearm. Jeffrey Swanson, a psychiatrist professor at Duke University, studies violent behaviors and states that "People with personalities inclined to violence are usually obvious to their peers and coworkers and have a history of antisocial conduct, they often progress to deadly violence after committing smaller acts." People who are more inclined to perform acts of terror do not just start at committing gun homicide crimes but slowly work their way up.
Swanson conducted a study and found that 8.9% of people who reported having a gun in the home also said they engaged in violent behaviors. Anger is what drives people to commit crimes. States like California, Indiana, and Connecticut, have restricted perpetrators of less violent crimes, such as assault and battery, from buying guns. They have also temporarily taken firearms out of the hands of owners that have committed crimes until they can make a case in which they no longer pose a threat to their community.
With increasing numbers in gun violence, citizens of America want answers. Gun advocators and organizations will not stop protesting until they see an act of change in gun policy. While the opposing individuals and organizations will continue to fight for their second amendment right.