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Gun Violence Must Be Stopped

Stephen Milbrath

English 1302

4/28/17
Gun Violence Must Be Stopped

Over the past decade mass shootings have become more and more prominent in the

United States. In 2016 in Orlando, Florida, an ISIS member killed 49 people in a gay night club.

At Sandy Hook Elementary, 20 students and 6 teachers were shot and killed. And again, in

Charleston South Carolina, 9 people were shot dead inside of a church. The people responsible

for these shootings either had mental illnesses, were on the terrorist watch list, or bought the

guns used in the shootings within the week of the massacre. The American medical made a

statement about all of the death, "With approximately 30,000 men, women and children dying

each year at the barrel of a gun in elementary schools, movie theaters, workplaces, houses of

worship and on live television, the United States faces a public health crisis of gun violence...

Our AMA 'recognizes that uncontrolled ownership and use of firearms, especially handguns, is a

serious threat to the public's health inasmuch as the weapons are one of the main causes of

intentional and unintentional injuries and deaths.' AMA policy supports legislation calling for a

waiting period before purchasing any form of firearm in the U.S., and supports requiring

background checks for all handgun purchasers (American Medical Association). If laws arent

passed to make it harder for people to get their hands on a fire arm, these mass shooting will only

become more common. These laws include not selling guns to people with mental illnesses,

people on the terrorist watch list, requiring a permit for people to purchase a gun, and have a

mandatory waiting period when trying to purchase a fire arm. All of these things seems like

common sense and yet nothing is being done to change the current gun laws in the United States.

One possible solution to the problem of gun violence in America is not allowing people

with mental illnesses to legally buy a gun. Roughly one out of every four murders have a history

of a mental illness. Even though this is not a very large number, there is a lot of risk in selling
guns to people with who are sick. But restricting these people from buying guns not only protects

the people who come in contact with this person, but it also protects the individual buying a gun.

Allowing them to buy guns poses an inordinate and needless risk to public safety (The

Editorial Board of the New York Times). There is too great of a chance that someone with a

mental illness will hurt himself or the people around him. According to the CDC, 21,334 people

die every year from suicides by fire arm. About 85 percent of suicide attempts using a gun end in

death. Many people argue that depression and mental illnesses have nothing to do with murders.

However, in all of the most recent mass shootings, people who knew the shooters all said that

they saw signs of depressions and bipolar disorders in the shooters in the days before the

shootings. With a law that restricts mentally ill people from buying guns, it would save not only

the lives of innocent bystanders, it would also lower the number of suicides by firearms.

Another possible solution to help lower the amount of gun violence in America is to

prohibit people who are on the terrorist watch list from buying a gun. As long as you are a United

States citizen, it is legal to buy a gun, even if you are on the terrorist watch list. "91% of

suspected terrorists who attempted to buy guns in America walked away with the weapon they

wanted (Murphy). And because of this, things like the shooting in Orlando can occur. Omar

Mateen was a United States citizen his entire life who was vocal about his support for ISIS, a

terrorist group in the middle east. He had been previously interviewed by the FBI in 2013, but

they didnt not find him as any sort of threat. Just a week before the shooting, Mateen walked

into a gun store and legally bought a gun. The guns that he purchased, along with others, were

used in this horrific attack. If he was unable to purchase a gun, who is to say whether the attack

would have happened or not. And even if it did, the amount of damage he caused would have

decreased significantly. Many states in the US sell guns to people on the terrorist watch list
because they will make more money by selling guns to these people, but how many more

innocent lives need to be lost in order for these states to understand that human lives are more

important than a couple of bucks. Until this issue is solved, there is a higher possibility that more

terrorist attacks will occur.

But being on the terrorist watch list should not be the only reason why Mateen should not

have been able to get his hands on a gun. Mateen bought the weapons he used in the night club

the same week of the shooting. This is yet another problem that must be solved by the United

States. The choice to use a gun to hurt someone, including yourself, tends to be a very quick and

irrational decision. Who among us is not aghast at the deaths of a mother and her two young

sons, all killed by that same mother with a handgun purchased just a few hours earlier? The

family, friends, neighbors and likely the person who sold the gun to her must be in agony

wondering what signs they missed and what they might have done to prevent this heart-breaking

tragedy (Blegen). This story is one of many where murders have occurred just hours after the

purchase of the murder weapon. By passing a law that requires people to wait at least two weeks

before obtaining a fire arm, this will eliminate a lot of the quick and irrational decisions made by

people who purchase guns. Many argue that these waiting periods are pointless and people who

have decided to murder will not let a little waiting period stand in their way. But even if this is

true, wouldnt it still be worth it to protect the citizens in this country. This law would cause the

number of murders go down in the United States and allow people more time to make a more

responsible decision.

The final thing that needs to be done to help slow down gun violence is to require

everyone who wants to buy a gun to receive a permit. Currently, only 7 of the 50 states require

that you must have a permit to carry a hand gun. Even if the state requires a permit, the process
of receiving the permit is practically a joke. Nicole Brodeur, a writer for the Seattle times, said,

Getting a permit to carry a concealed weapon in Washington state is as easy as buying a new set

of tires. [People can obtain a permit] without taking a single gun-training class (Brodeur). This

is an enormous problem because there are people going to buy guns that do not know anything

about them. This causes accidents to happen because the person who purchased the gun does not

know how to take care of the fire arm correctly. The NRA argues that most people who try to get

permits already know how to handle a gun and the training wouldnt be necessary. However,

there are still many people who purchase guns that dont know the slightest thing about them and

these people must be trained how to use the fire arm that they purchased because they are

endangering themselves and the people that surround them. Many seem to forget that guns arent

just toys. They tend to lose sight of the fact that people die from fire arms every single day. That

is why people need to be properly trained before they can just go buy a gun without knowing

anything about it.

When people hear gun control, they think people are going to try and take away their

guns but that is not the case. Every American should have the ability to buy a gun if they so

choose. But if someone is going to endanger himself and the people around him by buying a gun

then they should not be able to legally buy a gun. "The man who killed Ricky failed a

background check because of a restraining order, but was able to buy a gun through the

classifieds (Byrdsong). This is just one of the many examples of people who lost their lives

because of the loose and almost nonexistent gun control in the United States. In order to prevent

these shootings from happening, laws need to be passed that prevent people who have mental

illnesses, people on the terrorist watch list, and people who dont have a permit from buying

guns. So routine are shootings that only the particular horrors of mass shootings like a
Kalamazoo or San Bernardino or Charleston attract any national attention and even then not

for long. Kalamazoos senseless deaths, sympathy for the families, speculation about what drove

the accused gunman sorry, thats old news. Time to move on. (Washington Post Editorial

Board). There is no more time to waste. It is time to stop letting innocent American citizens lose

their lives to gun violence.


Works Cited
"AMA Calls Gun Violence a Public Health Crisis | Health ..." N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Apr. 2017.
Board, Editorial. "Gun violence in America is out of control." The Washington Post. WP

Company, 22 Feb. 2016. Web. 18 Apr. 2017.

Board, The Editorial. "Opinion | The Shock of Ordinary Gun Violence." The New York Times.

The New York Times, 26 May 2016. Web. 18 Apr. 2017.

"Echoes of Gunfire Hurt Tender N.R.A. Ears." The New York Times. The New York Times, 24

Mar. 2017. Web. 18 Apr. 2017.

Grinberg, Emanuella. "The real mental health issue behind gun violence." CNN. Cable News

Network, 25 Jan. 2016. Web. 19 Apr. 2017.

"Standing Ground Against the N.R.A." The New York Times. The New York Times, 11 Apr.

2017. Web. 18 Apr. 2017.