With much of the country lifting lockdown restrictions, many Americans are finally able to be comfortably out in public again. Despite the excitements that this new freedom brings, it has its drawbacks. Gun violence has begun to rise again. In just the past month, there were mass shootings in Boulder, Colorado and Atlanta, Georgia, killing ten and eight people respectively. Although these two shootings were the ones that consumed mainstream media, that does not mean there were no other shootings. According to the Gun Violence Archive, in just 2021, there have been 133 mass shootings in the United States. We are less than one hundred days into the year, and we are averaging more than one mass shooting every day. Does returning to a normal America mean we are returning to the daily realities of gun violence? Is there any way to damper the rise in mass shootings to prevent gun deaths from being the new normal?
Key Questions to Consider:
- How has gun violence in the U.S. increased?
- What do conservative and liberal lawmakers think about government-mandated gun control?
- What measures will President Biden take toward gun control?
1: How has gun violence in the US increased?
The Gun Violence Archive defines a mass shooting as a “single incident where four or more people are shot (not including the shooter) in the same incident in roughly the same time and place.” Since 2014, the number of mass shootings per year has only increased. Some of the country’s most tragic moments were in the wake of mass shootings, such as the Sandy Hook shooting which killed twenty elementary school-aged children, and the Vegas Shooting which killed 58 people.
In comparison to other countries, the United State’s gun statistics are noticeably different. Americans own 46% of the world’s guns, homicide rates are 25% higher than other wealthy nations, and Americans own more guns per capita than other countries. The United States deviates a little bit from the rest of the world when it comes to guns in more than just these stats. The Second Amendment to our country’s Constitution states: “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.” We have a constitutional right granted to us as citizens to bear arms. The government cannot just ban guns altogether; Americans have the right to own guns to protect themselves. However, is there still a way to maintain this freedom, while protecting harmless Americans from being tragically killed by guns?
2: What do liberal and conservative lawmakers think about government-mandated gun control?
Conservatives: Conservatives tend to be against gun control because they fear it infringes too heavily on the Second Amendment.
Liberals: On the other hand, liberals mainly support stricter gun laws that would make it harder for people to purchase guns. For example, requiring more detailed background checks and participating in an instructor-led firearm course have been previously proposed forms of gun control, mainly from Democrats. Although some forms of gun control have been adopted, like increasing background checks, gun violence persists as a threat to American society.
3: What measures will President Biden take toward gun control?
On Thursday, April eighth, President Biden delivered a speech about gun control, which he calls an “epidemic and an international embarrassment.” During his campaign, Biden advocated for much stricter gun control, but with the speed bills move in the legislature, it is unlikely that every policy Biden wants will actually be implemented into practice. One of the major propositions Biden made in his speech was to add limitations to ghost-guns, which are bought without a background check, and are assembled with the lack of serial numbers. Thus, these guns cannot be traced to a specific person or area, making them especially appealing to criminal organizations. Mr. Biden says, “I want to see these kits treated as firearms under the gun control act,” which would subject owners to background checks and place a serial number on the gun itself.
Another restriction that the President would like to be implemented regards the use of a stabilizing brace. When this brace is being used, it effectively converts the firearm into a short-barrel rifle; as a result, it should be classified as one under the National Firearms Act, which would require more extensive background checks and license renewal policies. Lastly, Biden would like to add “red-flag” statutes to the states. This law would give the police and even family members the authority to testify in court to temporarily remove an individual’s right to own a gun if they are a clear danger to themselves or other people. The President thinks that the Red-flag law would prevent mass shooters from committing crimes.
President Biden recognizes this is only preliminary control, and that further measures will have to be taken down the road if this emerging culture of gun violence perpetuates, like importing assault weapons. Biden says, “This is just a start,” he said. “We have a lot of work to do.”
- Mass shootings have been on the rise in the U.S. for several years, and with COVID restrictions being lifted, the presence of gun violence has become dramatically more prevalent in American life.
- Americans have the right to bear arms (Second Amendment), so the discussion of gun control can be a sticky ground for many politicians, but the question is: are guns too accessible to the wrong people?
- President Biden gave a speech on his approach to gun control, in which he declared he wants to crack down on “ghost-guns”, subject guns with stabilizing braces to further investigation and have states sign red-flag bills into law.