Gun Control or Damage Control?

The first step to gun control in US is additional security.


The use of guns in the United States has always been a controversial subject. The discussion began to gain its importance in 1999 after a mass shooting at Columbine High School, and again in 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Several other shootings have followed these tragedies, yet no drastic changes have been made. It is said that more than 32,000 Americans are lost to gun violence per year (Everitt), and that can be changed if the security in the US improves.


Instead of the focus being solely on gun control, it should be on gun security. The cause of gun violence depends on who has access to a firearm, whether it be a child, an unlicensed citizen, or an unstable being. The US General Accounting Office, or GAO, states that 100% of child deaths that involve guns could be avoided with child-proof safety locks, or simply the presence of an adult (GAO). With teenagers and adults, this could also apply to suicide. Between 1999 and 2013, there were 270,237 gun-based suicides in the United States, which accounted for about 52% of all suicides during those years (CDC). That is why it is important that firearms do not fall into the wrong hands.


It can be argued that gun control would go against America's Second Amendment. This amendment states that "a well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed" (Madison). Beside the fact that this article was written in 1791, over 200 years ago, it clearly mentions a militia. It is a militia's job to be armed, for they are a military force that shields the civil population from terrorist activities, and general danger. The military also consists of responsible workers that would not abuse the purpose of a firearm.


The main solution is to require a background check with every gun sale. The National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, is an American system for determining if firearm buyers are eligible to purchase (Walter). Currently, about 40% of gun sales are conducted without any background check (Everitt), which allows convicted criminals and abusers to get a hold of a weapon and put innocent lives at risk. This is unacceptable, especially in today's world. In order for the chances of gun violence to decrease, background checks must become strict and consistent. If the screening process is strengthened, the red flags of violent behavior, mental illness, or drug abuse will no longer be neglected.

There is another step we can take as a community to protect our citizens. Instead of demonizing the mentally ill, they deserve support and proper treatment. The Prevention Institute states, "while gun ownership has been rising, mental health services across the country have been slashed. We must face this challenge head on, reduce the stigma associated with mental health needs, and support our children, friends, family members and neighbors in seeking-and obtaining-high-quality treatment (Prevention Institute)." If treated in a healthy environment, the urge to use a gun will not be a top priority.