Is More Gun Control the Answer for America?

Ian Gere ’20

On February 14 of this year, the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were added to the list of school shooting fatalities after former student, Nikolas Cruz (19), killed 17 students with an AR-15 assault rifle. With this latest mass shooting, students from Stoneman along with other Americans, have said enough is enough and that the U.S. is in need of gun reforms.

Since the latest school shooting in Florida happened, the media has suggested that school shootings are the new norm.

But are they?

Everytown for Gun Safety has said there have been 290 school shootings since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary.

While these were “school shootings” the majority of them couldn’t even be compared the tragedies at Stoneman, Sandy Hook, and Columbine. Half of these 290 reported shootings were completed or attempted suicides, accidental discharges, or shootings where not one individual was harmed. The other remaining shootings resulted in either one or no fatality. Three months into 2018 there have been a reported 18 schools shootings, but in those only 8 have resulted in a fatality.

Of course, every one of these fatalities is a tragedy, but the numbers don’t add up to an epidemic of mass school shootings. In school shootings, the actual majority of gun-related deaths are due to suicide, two thirds. While most gun deaths from guns mainly involve homicides, suicides, and domestic violence, gun violence in schools does not come near to accounting for the total number of gun related deaths in America.

But that doesn’t mean we should try to reduce the possibility of a mass school shooting, such as occurred in Florida.

Many school shooters are often diagnosed with some form of a mental disorder, but still they are allowed to purchase a firearm. Though there are background checks given before one can purchase a gun, they aren’t the most reliable background check.

According to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, “The FBI checks the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to see if they are a prohibited purchaser. Prohibited purchasers include felons, fugitives, domestic abusers and the dangerously mentally ill. Simply put, the effective Brady Law prevents guns from getting into the hands of dangerous people.”

The Brady Bill has blocked more than 3 million gun sales to prohibited purchasers including felons, domestic abusers, and other dangerous individuals. With this information it is clear; background checks work.

However, there still are loopholes in this law. One out of five gun sales occur with a “no questions asked” rule. This applies to guns bought over the internet or at gun shows. This loophole in the law is significant and dangerous; however, there has been no federal action taken to stop the purchasing of guns without a background check.

Even though school shootings aren’t the leading cause of gun related deaths and the Brady Bill isn’t 100% full-proof, gun reform must be a serious concern for the United States. Limiting the purchase of guns online and at gun shows, and adding an even more detailed background checks WILL save lives.

If attaining your license requires getting a permit, having the permit for six months, taking a written test, and then finally passing the drivers test, why should buying a firearm, that is meant to kill people, require fewer steps?