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Do Background Checks Make Gun Ownership Safer?

1434 words - 6 pages

According to “Closing Illegal Gun Markets”, “Forty percent of all annual firearm sales are through secondary or informal markets which involves felons, friends, and family and do not go through licensed retailers.” That number is almost half of all gun sales and of the half that go through licensed retailers. It is unknown how many people are purchasing guns for people who could not buy one legally. The problem with illegal gun purchases lies in the national background check system that is used, when someone purchases a gun at a licensed retailer. When these people go into buy a weapon, we have no idea what their intentions are. If they can pass the background check they are able to walk out with any guns they chose, from there these guns can end up in anyone’s hands. Background checks are not sufficient to stop gun violence due to back doors in the system and lack of punishment for offenders.
The main issue with background checks is a broken system it now operates under. The national instant criminal background check system has been in use since 1998 and to date has processed “160 million transactions of these almost one million were denied.” (National Instant Criminal Background Check System Operations 2012) While these numbers may sound promising we will explain later on why it has not had the desired effect. “As a result of the gun control act of 1968, certain people, such as convicted felons, immigration violators, sexual offenders and many others are prohibited from possessing firearms.” (National instant criminal background check system operations 2012).This system was initially put in place to control who had access to weapons and the hope was that criminals would be unable to purchase weapons. Most background checks only take a few minutes to complete. There is also an appeals process for those who are denied initially. They may go through multiple steps to be allowed to buy a gun legally up to and including having a meeting before the alcohol tobacco and firearms board. “The system is very easy to use and has been up and running 99.2 percent of its entire existence making it a very reliable system to use.” (National instant criminal background check system operations 2012)
The current punishments or lack thereof for people who use their ability to pass a background check to get guns into the hands of people who would not pass is the major problem with the system. If there were punishments in place for these individual’s, they would be less likely to attempt to make the initial purchase. If the owner of the gun had to declare it by bringing it in on a yearly basis that would make it impossible to buy the guns for others. But with the current system it is impossible to fight gun violence when the only people submitting to these background checks are the ones who are going to pass them anyway. There is no reason any criminal should not use secondary markets to get a gun since there are currently no punishments for doing so. “The system...

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