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Solving Gun Violence, A Legislative Equation

Haley Mullins

Posted on April 17, 2021 15:09

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In a country where over 100 people die from guns each day, this is the least we can do.

I'll admit that I'm neither gun expert nor mathematician, but I have a data-driven equation that I believe will drastically decrease gun violence in the US:

Federal restrictions on who can own + strict legislation addressing illegal and unregistered weapons = drastic reduction in firearm-related casualties.

Federal Restrictions on Who Can Own

Many gun-control activists place great emphasis on the types of firearms available for legal purchase, suggesting assault weapons pose a greater threat to public safety. While I, too, don’t want to see the average civilian walking down the street with an AK-47, data suggests that it’s not so much the type of guns allowed, but the people permitted access that should be regulated.  

Gun legislation remains largely up to individual states. States like Massachusetts that have some of the tightest restrictions on who may own guns see the least gun violence, yet still have thriving gun retailers. While states with restrictions such as universal background checks, waiting periods, permit restrictions, etc. experience less gun violence than those with looser restrictions. The inconsistency on the federal level makes it too easy for someone to travel to a neighboring state to purchase a gun where there are fewer hurdles.

Enacting federal gun regulation that prevents those convicted of violent misdemeanors and felonies from legally purchasing a firearm, however, is just part of the equation.

 

Addressing Illegal and Unregistered Guns

Gun enthusiasts often point out the overwhelming number of illegally acquired weapons that are used in violent crimes as support for their anti-regulation stance. Truth is, they’re not wrong. A nationwide system that determines who can legally purchase a firearm won’t be enough to significantly reduce gun violence in the US. In conjunction with federal gun control, there should be legislation that regulates ghost guns, parts, and kits.

Not sure what a “ghost gun” is?  Imagine if IKEA sold weapons--guns created by easy-to-use parts, kits, or 3D printers. These guns don't contain serial numbers and therefore cannot be tracked, and there are no regulations obstructing anyone from buying these parts online. As of today, building a ghost gun from internet kits is easy to do and legal almost nationwide. To tackle the issue of undocumented firearms being bought and exchanged, 80% of receivers and unfinished frames should be classified as firearms and thus held to the same federal restrictions previously proposed.

There’s also the issue of straw purchases, where someone purchases a weapon and transfers it to an ineligible party. Currently, only seven states penalize the buyer in a straw purchase. Adding a federal law that prohibits and punishes all knowing parties in a straw purchase would discourage these transactions and allow prosecutors to target the source of the problem: the buyer.

 

Is This the End Solution?

No. I'm not naive; I know this equation won't eliminate gun violence, but it would drastically reduce it. In a country where over 100 people die from guns each day, this is the least we can do.

Haley Mullins

Posted on April 17, 2021 15:09

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