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Gun Laws In The United States

1306 words - 6 pages

Access to guns in the United States (US) is too easy and the laws governing access should be strengthened. Current US gun laws are very permissive, which has led to excessive gun-related violence and deaths. Guns are one of the leading causes of violence in the US at the moment, and access to guns (legally and illegally) is very easy. Currently, there are ~211 million firearms in circulation and 70 million are handguns. (1) Today, there is at least one gun in fifty-percent of households in the United States. In 24 states, any person who is 18 years of age or older can go into a gun store, fill out a form, wait a couple of weeks and then go home with a gun. In 33 states, gun owners are not restricted from selling guns to anyone at gun shows. At gun shows the gun buyer is not required to submit a federal background check and gun show dealers are not required to be licensed to sell guns at shows. Critics call this the “gun show loophole” allowing gun owners to buy and sell guns as if they were selling from their home without the need for more strict background checks and waiting periods before acquiring the gun. Supporters of buying guns without background checks do not believe this is a “loophole” because they believe guns will just be obtained illegally anyway.(2)

Currently with easy access to guns, gun violence occurs all too commonly on our streets, in our schools and workplaces. A child or teen is killed or injured by guns every 30 minutes. (3) Young children and teens have become insensitive to this gun culture, and in many neighborhoods, children expect to die violently, probably by being shot. Despite living in the world's richest, strongest, freest nation, children often do not have the freedom to believe one day they will be adults (4). This fear of being killed or injured by a gun has created a belief that everyone else likely has a gun so they should have one too for their protection. Unfortunately, guns in the home are five times more likely to kill a resident of the home rather than an intruder. It could be argued that having a gun in the home makes the home less safe, rather than more safe (5). This fear of gun violence is also supported by the static that in the US when a person kills another he or she generally uses a gun: 60 percent of US homicides occur using a firearm, which is the 26th-highest rate in the world (6).

There are other gun-permeated countries, such as Finland, Germany, Switzerland and Great Britain but because of more strict gun control laws in these countries only about 19 percent of homicides involve a firearm. Other countries have been more successful in limiting access to guns. In some countries, such as Germany and Switzerland, a license is required to obtain and own guns. In Italy, local authorities issue permits to own guns. In Great Britain, automatic and semi-automatic assault weapons are banned (7).

There is desire among many in the US to restrict access to guns in the hopes of reducing gun-related...

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