Five people lost their lives in a recent shooting at an LGBTQ+ nightclub in Colorado Springs that sent shockwaves across the nation. While many are saddened by the fact that such abhorrent acts of senseless hatred are still ravaging the United States of America in 2022, others have shifted their focus to the implications for gun control.
While proponents of gun rights and activists from the far right are most likely rallying in anticipation of pushback from the left on gun rights after the shooting, they need to take a step back and read the room. As a country with a relatively brief history, the United States has seen far too many shootings. Something needs to change.
Of course, in a perfect world, that change would be a bipartisan effort; however, this is tragically unlikely as far-right agitators are so stuck in their ways and resistant to change. It would basically take a miracle to see any bipartisan effort on the issue of gun control.
The Need for More Effective Gun Control Policies in the United States Is Growing
The United States of America is the land of opportunity and freedom. However, this country also has a dark side that often goes unnoticed. The gun control debate has been a contentious topic for years due to the high rate of gun-related crimes throughout the nation. The recent shooting in Colorado Springs has dragged this issue back into the spotlight and turned the issue into a powderkeg of conflict between leftists and conservatives throughout the country.
With so many shootings, there is a growing need for more effective policies regarding the possession and usage of guns. Ideally, gun control laws need to become stricter and more comprehensive to stay ahead of the damage.
With so many gun owners in the United States, the likelihood of them being used in criminal activities such as mass shootings, domestic violence, and homicide continues to rise. Without prompt and decisive legislative action on a national level, the violence could easily continue to spiral out of control.
Why Background Checks Are Not Enough
Background checks are the initial step to purchasing a gun, but they fail to ensure that the person purchasing a firearm is fit to own one. Many guns are bought and sold privately from person to person, effectively circumventing the background checks imposed by conventional gun vendors entirely. A startling number of gun sales take place in the open market with no background checks.
For example, a relative can sell or give a gun to another relative without having to perform a background check. This is why background checks should be mandatory for every sale, purchase, and transfer of a firearm.
That said, background checks alone are not enough. Many of the people that engage in mass shootings are mentally unstable. Buying a gun should be a privilege that should be earned after passing a comprehensive psychological evaluation in addition to standard background checks.
18-Year-Olds Should Not be Able to Buy Guns Without Checks and Balances
People who are 18 years old are generally considered adults in the United States, at least in the eyes of the law. However, this should not mean that they can do whatever they want. Although there are various restrictions on what they can and cannot do, these restrictions are not strong enough when it comes to gun control.
If they are not allowed to purchase alcohol at the age of 18, it stands to reason that they should not be able to buy semi-automatic weapons, and yet, that’s exactly what they are doing in several states.
An 18-year-old should not be allowed to buy guns without going through a thorough background check, a psych evaluation, and a training program. Even background checks are not enough to safeguard the rest of the population from an 18-year-old with a gun. When you think about it, running a background check on an 18-year-old might not deliver much valuable information as many of them are too young to have anything on their record yet.
Most people under the age of 21 have little to no experience with guns and have not developed mature judgment about when it is appropriate to use a gun. This is another reason why there should be mandatory safety training programs in addition to background checks and psychological evaluations.
Currently, if someone is 18 years old, there are a number of states where they can walk into a gun store and walk out with a gun on the same day with virtually no checks and balances whatsoever. Let that sink in for a bit; there are multiple states in America where 18-year-olds can buy guns, including semi-automatic weapons. With some modification, these weapons can be converted to fully automatic weapons, making them even more dangerous.
Gun Control Laws Don’t Mean That the Government Is Going to Take Everyone’s Guns Away
There are certain misconceptions about what gun control actually means. Many people believe that the government is trying to take away their guns, especially those on the far right. This is false.
The government is simply trying to regulate the use of firearms which is a noble effort that can help reduce the number of tragic shootings like the one that just happened in Colorado Springs. In other words, rather than trying to eliminate gun ownership in the United States, the government is trying to prevent additional tragedies by making it harder for the wrong people to buy guns.
There are many ways to regulate gun ownership, such as implementing a stricter screening process and mandatory waiting periods before purchasing a gun. Similarly, the government can also require people to store their guns in locked cabinets when they are not using them to prevent other people in the household, especially teenagers, from accessing firearms. Ideally, gun control laws can be leveraged to regulate the possession and usage of firearms in a manner that reduces the number of shootings in the country.
There Are Too Many Shootings in the United States, it’s Time for a Change
The number of deaths in the United States from gun violence is unacceptable. Indeed, for a first-world nation, it’s practically inexcusable. This is an epidemic that needs to be prioritized and addressed by U.S. lawmakers. That said, they have been struggling to do so for years due to stalwart and consistent resistance from the far right.
Being on the right is one thing, but the sheer volume of recent shootings throughout the United States should be a wake-up call for conservatives across the nation to reach across the aisle and work on finding a bipartisan solution before things get even worse.