Mass shootings seem to be occurring more often here in the United States year after year. Now we ask what we can do to eliminate the threat of mass shootings or at least significantly decrease the chance of it happening. It seems to be that the common solution to the problem is the idea of stricter gun control. Gun control encompasses laws that prevent the unnecessary use of guns and keep them out of the hands of people who pose a risk to the community when armed. It also covers the sale of guns, to whom, the use of guns and the production of guns (NY Times, 2015). There are many people who do not have the ability to obtain or own a gun legally. These people include felons, drug addicts, illegal immigrants, and anyone who is legally considered mentally ill. The current law requires for gun owners to complete a background check to assure they can legally obtain the weapon (NY Times, 2015).
Generally speaking, gun control laws are up to the discretion of the state. As a result, the gun control laws vary between states. The New York State gun control laws do not require a license to own long guns; however, anyone who has a pistol must acquire a permit. New York City has separate gun control laws and requires a permit for any gun. Section 265 in the Penal Law handbook is where you can find charges for the criminal possession, sale or use of a weapon in New York.
Mass shootings have many commonalities that have been shown and recognized over the course of time. Studies have displayed mass shootings tend to be similar in nature and pattern. Typically, the shooters carry multiple weapons, out of two hundred ninety-nine guns discovered since 1966, one hundred sixty-eight were not legal. Fifty-two of those two hundred ninety-nine guns were legal and seventy-nine were unclear how they were obtained (Washington Post, 2018). The most common gender of the shooter is male, of the one hundred fifty-nine shooters since 1966, one hundred fifty-six were male. Eighty-nine of these shooters died at the scene, most commonly by suicide (Washington Post, 2018). Mass shootings per year have increased dramatically since 1966 and we have yet to find a solution. For the period from 1966 until 2017 the United States accounted for almost one third of the global mass shootings.
According to CNN, “the United States has 5% of the world’s population, it had 31% of all public mass shootings” (CNN, 2017). According to data, many of the United States shooters were diagnosed mentally ill either prior to or after the incident occurred. A notable and contributing factor to the issue at hand is that the United States houses more weapons, guns specifically than any other country. There are nearly three hundred and ten million guns in the United States, this would be almost enough for each and every citizen in the United States to have one. There are many different possibilities as to why someone may commit this horrific crime. Adam Lankford, a professor of criminal justice at the University of Alabama, believes that people do it for attention. His belief is that people of this generation want to be famous so bad that they will obtain this goal in any way possible, including criminal activity. It is not possible to totally eliminate the threat of mass shootings but there seems to be many ways we could significantly decrease the chance of one happening.
One possible way that we could combat the threat is by arming teachers and giving them adequate gun training as a part of their job. This is an unlikely scenario to happen because many teachers do not support the idea of being required to possess a gun in the workplace. However, there are many teachers that may agree that carrying a weapon is a great idea because if something happens you are already on the scene and well-trained and prepared. The reason for many deaths in mass shootings is because they occur during the time of which the officers and first responders are in route to respond, by having someone to combat the shooting already there it will increase the chances that some lives will be saved. Believe it or not, many scientists believe shootings have a connection with videogames. The videogames are so realistic that it appears to the brain as a real scenario.
Today, videogames are extremely viscous and bloody. Maybe our videogames and television shows need to be more censored and not promote gun violence or violence in general. Now here is a more obvious solution to the problem, make the background checks more extensive. These tests should not only look at your past and criminal record, but people should also be required to pass a mental stability test. Not only can we make the process to get a gun more difficult, but we could even raise the age required to purchase a firearm. This would diminish the idea of teenagers and young adults, who have yet to fully develop mentally, from making an irrational decision. We could even study the brain and administer tests for children at a young age.
Some events that occur in a child’s life have a long-term effect on them. Death of a family member, bullying, troubled childhoods, these are all examples of cases in which children may need help. If we provide some mental health assistance to children who have experienced these traumatic events, they may be less likely to commit a horrific crime such as a mass shooting. The alternative argument regarding gun control and possession of guns is to have more of the public legally obtain guns. This is a very interesting way to look at it, but if more every day citizens have guns then the faster the suspect of a shooting can be detained or met with deadly force. Having more citizens who have met the requirements of carrying a gun would decrease the amount of time the shooter has to shoot or the amount of shots he has the ability to fire, resulting in less casualties and injuries.
In the United States there should be standardized gun control laws that every state is required to follow. The choice of whether a permit is necessary to purchase a gun should not be up to the discretion of each and every state. The use of semi-automatic weapons and large magazines are completely unnecessary for anyone in the United States to have. I believe that these weapons should be banned and only available for military use. Each and every shooting is followed by the same thing, false promises.
The shootings draw an extreme amount of attention and there is always a public uproar that occurs afterward. Action for change is demanded by the public but since 1966, very little changes have been made. These shootings are becoming more and more prevalent and we need to do something about it. Innocent lives are being lost each and every year because a mentally ill person decides he wants to commit a mass shooting that day. We need to act, we have to combat these shootings and figure out a way to diminish the chance of this happening. No crime will ever be able to be totally eliminated, but by taking the correct actions we can keep the public safer and decrease the chances of these events from happening.
- Perez-Pena, R. (2015, October 07). Gun Control Explained. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/10/07/us/gun-control-explained.html
- Analysis | More than 50 years of U.S. mass shootings: The victims, sites, killers and weapons. (n.d). Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2018/national/mass-shootings-in-america/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.defcb8218579(Total Deaths in U.S. mass shootings chart)
- Mass Shootings in the U.S. (2018, September 22). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_shootings_in_the_United_States(Countries with most mass shootings chart)
- US home to nearly a third of the worlds mass Shootings. (2016, June 14). Retrieved fromhttps://wgntv.com/2016/06/14/us-home-to-nearly-a-third-of-worlds-mass-shootings/
- Preventing Mass Shootings: Examining Solutions (n.d.) Retrieved fromhttps://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/neuroscience-in-everyday-life/201802/preventing-mass-shootings-examining-solutions