- Posted January 17, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Gun control debate: Background checks
Gun control wont work....by itself
If you have ever purchased a firearm from an authorized salesman, then you have likely been through the background check process. You are asked a few questions about your mental health, history, and if you’re planning on killing anyone. While I believe this will help eliminate some mentally unstable people from owning a firearm, one must also realize that many people who have mental problems do not seek help and have not been properly diagnosed. Until we can remove the social stigma around mental disabilities, it will be difficult to successfully screen firearm purchasers. These changes may also prevent some people from getting the help they need in fear of being placed in this category.
This is inevitably infringing upon some citizens second amendment rights. Veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD as it is commonly called, suffer some difficulties with their lives, dependent upon their deployment and missions. While they are able to function normally during the day, night terrors, nightmares, and other problems could cause these veterans their 2nd amendment rights. Until our health care system becomes efficient in screening and diagnosing mental illnesses , many people will slip through the cracks and be allowed to purchase firearms, while others will be screened out and have to file paperwork and wait for a decision that may take months just to be denied.
Limiting magazine sizes to ten is one of my favorite proposals that Obama has proposed. While more crimes occur with handguns and semi-automatic weapons, most hunters and sportsman do not use or need magazines that can hold more ammo. While the second amendment clearly protects the right to bear arms, it does not state anything about ammunition. This could be because the M-16 and AK-47 was invented after the Bill of Rights was written. By limiting ammunition that can be fired in rapid succession, you leave the firearm alone and simply limit the power to cause destruction. I always joke with pro-gun activists that if you can hit a deer with the first ten rounds, another twenty won’t help.
For the last point I chose to address, I wanted to point out a few statistics. In 1994, when Bill Clinton signed the assault weapon ban, there were 18,948 gun related homicides in the United States as compared to 12,672 in 2005, a reduction of 33% across America. (Department of Justice) While I do not believe a ban on weapons of this type will reduce crime significantly, I believe it is a step that needs to be taken. Automatic weapons should be reserved for members and veterans of the military, people who are thoroughly trained in safety, and law enforcement officers. A safety course much like that is required from motorcyclist before obtaining a full license would be an effective idea that would not limit lawful purchases of firearms.
While these and other ideas are nice and good, none will truly be effective until we realize and address the underlying issues that cause these problems. Instead of profiling people for crimes they may never commit, common sense solutions are available. Safety courses, digital locks for weapons (such as the kind used for account authenticators), and effective mental health practices are good measures to take, but we must also address income inequality, gang wars, family violence and our own criminal justice system. Our country incarcerates more people than any other country in the world. At the end of 2011, 1 out of every 50 people was supervised on either probation or parole while 1 out of 107 was incarcerated. Revising our criminal code to promote community sentencing over incarnation, ending the war on drugs, and creating new ways to re-educate our non-violent offenders so that we may have more productive citizens and less people wasting their lives in jail cells.