Gun control and violence in the U.S.

By Derek Jennings - Guest columnist

The issue of gun control and violence in the United States seems to be a growing trend in the previous decades. With raising gun violence, there has been an effort put forth to control the use of guns and the purchasing and owning of a firearm in a household. This has many gun owners arguing that having their firearms regulated by the government is in violation of their personal privacy. Also, the growing crime rates involving firearms in the U.S. are on an incline in the previous years and doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon unless there is a new set of laws and procedures put in place to decrease the growing crime rates involving firearms.

The owner of a firearm feels the sense of protection with a gun in their possession. But what they do not realize is they are more likely to harm themselves or someone else with the intent of self-defense from a threat. According to Franklin Zimring, in Detroit, more people died in one year from firearm-related accidents than from rubbery and burglaries in the last five years combined. Of the average in one year, 33,000 U.S. citizens die by the use of guns; only 11,500 are from a case of homicide and 21,000 are from self-inflicted suicide, which is 62 percent of firearm deaths according to Everytown research.

This leaves the question: why do people feel the need to possess a firearm in their household when it seems to do more harm than good? Here is when the Second Amendment comes in for gun owners, saying they have the right to own and possess a firearm because of the Second Amendment and that right cannot be taken away from them. They feel that if the government has a regulation on what they have the right to own and possess, then they feel the sense of their personal privacy has been invaded. The government has to try and regulate the use and purchasing of firearms to try and protect the general population and not just care about the personal interest of a group of individuals.

There are enough guns in the country to arm every man, woman and child. People tend to turn to other countries and point out their terrorist attacks and shootings. But what we all seem to be blind to is that the U.S. leads all other nations in gun-related violence and does not have any look of slowing down. We don’t see it as a big deal in a smaller rural community, but the gun violence in the U.S. is growing out of control in other parts of the country and at some point, needs to come down to the larger population and the safety of everyone as a whole to attempt to put an end to the gun violence. But some states see that even when they increased the overall gun control laws that the crime rate involving firearms increased as a result. But what if there was an increase in the amount of jail time served with a gun-related crime and increase in prison punishment then that could sway people from committing the crimes? There is no way of finding out if that system would work until its put to work, according to Michael Sommers.

If there was a system in play that would require any person in the interest of acquiring a firearm that they had to go through a screen of test and pass, to make sure that they are capable of possessing a firearm. It would be just like a driver’s test or a permit test going covering the overall area of gun safety and the proper ways to use and possess a firearm. Once passing the series of tests, then they would have to take courses on proper gun safety before even having the ability to possess a firearm. This could have the effect of stopping illegal gun ownerships in the U.S., and also have the ability to educate the general gun owner on the proper ways of gun safety.

But even with the proper training and knowledge of gun safety, people would still push the fact that it’s human nature to kill and the homicides will continue, according to Franklin Zimring. There already is a background check in place and according to Everytown research, is the center component of America’s efforts to keep guns from criminals and has blocked nearly 3 million firearm sales to prohibited people from 1994- 2016. This seems to be a great system that the government is pretty proud about, but over the 22 years of the 180 million applications, only 2 percent of the people applying were rejected. There has to be more than 3 million people unstable to possess a firearm. Which leaves the thought, how many that did get allowed to possess a firearm from the application were just as bad as the people who failed and later committed a gun-related crime? Where this happens is in what is called the “gun show loophole,” in which a firearm purchased at a gun show is from one individual to another, but only background checks are required when buying a gun from a licensed dealer. If somehow the gun shows could be put to an end or if the “loophole” in the gun shows was closed, then the background checks or even the proposed classes would bring a much bigger effect to gaining the possession of a firearm.

Gun violence is a great concern in the United States, and seems to be in a never-ending fall. Guns are in American culture but the self-inflicted violence is not, with the increasing rates of gun ownership brings the increasing rates of gun related homicides and crimes. At some point, either the people and government need to come together, or there needs to be a greater set of rules and regulations to help bring gun violence in the U.S. to a decrease. Until people start to realize the mess our country is in with our own gun violence problems and stop worrying about the other world events, then that’s when the reform begins.

By Derek Jennings

Guest columnist

Derek Jennings is a student at Edison State Community College.

Derek Jennings is a student at Edison State Community College.