Gun control in the U.S.

More than 32,000 Americans are killed each year due to gun violence and another 75,000 are injured, reports Rep. Bobby Scott of Virginia’s third congressional district. These numbers pose a terrifying threat on the health of American citizens: in fact, the American Medical Association considers gun violence as a public health crisis, observes Representative Scott. The medical expenses and lost work from these deaths and injuries cost the economy more than $48 billion per year, according to Adam Winkler, a professor of constitutional law at the UCLA School of Law. Clearly we need to take action to reduce these numbers. We need more laws and regulations to decrease gun violence in America.

Background checks on all potential firearm buyers are an easy way to lower the risk of a gun entering a dangerous person’s possession. Although all states require licensed firearm dealers to perform background checks, 33 states don’t require private or unlicensed dealers to perform background checks, notes Lori Haas, state director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. Compared to states that do not require background checks for all handgun sales, states that do require background checks see 47 percent less women shot and killed by an intimate partner, observes Richard Martinez, the father of Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez, who was shot and killed in the 2014 rampage in Isla Vista, California. If the sale of firearms to those identified as ineligible to own a gun would be denied in all firearm transactions, through a licensed dealer or not, gun violence incidents would be greatly reduced.

There are many other simple ways to increase gun control and make communities safer beyond background checks. In “We Must Curb Gun Violence,” an article featured in the Daily Press, Newport News, Virginia, Scott claims that “banning military-style assault weapons and large magazines, requiring safe storage, improving our nation’s mental health system and investing in evidence-based youth violence prevention initiatives,” are just a few beneficial improvements Congress could enact. It is clear that there are many regulations Congress should pass to make our communities safer. Gun-rights advocates argue that more regulations on gun control would violate their Second Amendment rights. These opponents fail to realize that while constructing these possible policies that would reduce gun violence, the House Democratic Caucus Gun Violence Prevention Task Force created by Representative Nancy Pelosi, the Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives, made sure to respect the Second Amendment, states Scott.

In conclusion, there are many straightforward policies such as background checks on all firearm sales from licensed dealers or not, that could be enacted to reduce gun violence and make our communities safer without violating our Second Amendment rights. I encourage you to call your state’s representatives and senators and ask them to push for background checks on all firearm sales and other regulations that would limit gun violence without disrespecting the Second Amendment, especially if you live in a state that doesn’t currently enforce unlicensed dealers to perform background checks. Gun violence in America is a preventable epidemic that must be put to an end.