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America Needs Background Checks For Gun Purchases

1470 words - 6 pages

Tragedy after tragedy, people find themselves mourning over the lives lost. And over and over again, they look back to see how they could have prevented it. People continue to argue and constantly debate what actions should be taken, and while doing so, more and more people lose their lives at the hands of gun violence. It’s clear to see that not much has been done to keep these weapons out of the wrongs hands: the shootings at Columbine High School and Virginia Tech have shown that. What would happen if there were to be another devastating shooting to occur? How would people react? Or would they just argue some more, while the wrong people can still easily get a hold of guns? The only way they can ever gain control of anything is by controlling the source of the problem, where people are able to freely purchase guns without restrictions. In order to reduce gun-related crime, unlicensed gun sellers should be required to run background checks on their customers.
Right now, the U.S. has a National Instant Background Check System; however, it contains many flaws. This system is meant to act as a filter to stop the wrong people from having guns. In 2007, the Bipartisan legislation was passed to strengthen this system. It relies on data supplied by the states, but the data is often incomplete and inadequate (Merino 104). Unlicensed gun sellers have also created a dangerous loophole. The law makes an exception for gun sellers who aren’t federally licensed gun dealers. These sellers sell guns informally through venues such as gun shows, and are not required to run background checks. This is a dangerous loophole where people who should not have guns can get them (“Gun”). Senator Frank R. Lautenberg once stated, commenting on the gun show loophole, “A special exemption allows anyone…to buy guns without a background check from so-called private sellers, who sell hundreds of guns every year at gun shows, fully exempt from any responsibility for those sales” (Alters 128). With a flawed background check system and a dangerous free zone, the two prove to be a deadly combination. To close this loophole, the background check system should be strengthened and unlicensed gun sellers should be required to run checks on buyers.
Several laws have already been passed at an attempt to reduce gun crime and keep them out of the wrong hands. In 1968, the Gun Control Act was passed. This law restricted gun sales of any kind from a “prohibited person” (Carter 158). In 1993, the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act was passed. Under this act, gun buyers would have to wait up to five days for their purchase. During this time, the sellers would report the purchases to local or state authorities, who would then run a background check on the buyer (“Gun”). A “prohibited person,” under both laws, included criminals, addicts, the mentally ill, people convicted of domestic violence, people who are or were under restraining orders, and more (“Gun”). But even with all these...

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