A lot of my UK friends are calling for stricter gun controls in both America and the UK in the light of recent events. There have been two shootings in Orlando, Florida, and even a shooting at home in Blighty. MP Jo Cox was gunned down by just some guy with mental issues who ended up with a gun. Whereas I agree with tighter regulations surrounding gun controls, I don’t think a blanket ban would work in the US at all.
It’s a fact that most of the guns used in the last 10 years of shootings that have made the media in America were legally owned and licensed firearms. Nobody can deny that, but if we take half a second to look at the stats, we find a lot of unlicensed and illegally owned firearms involved in shootings too. Like this page states, the data is hard to understand and sift through and there’s a lot of debate on who has the right numbers and what they’re proving. This not knowing of the stats is difficult and is making it very hard to understand how to tackle the gun crime issue in America.
Lots of illegally owned guns are involved in a lot of shootings, as the post I linked above states, the scales are definitely tipped in the illegally owned firearms favour. Unfortunately. This is the fear that a lot of pro-gun Americans are worried about. Their legal firearm is a safety net for if illegal gun crime ever comes to their neighbourhood. The more sane and legally abiding citizens who own guns this way; the less chance of mass casualties happening if a shooter should come to them.
We simply can’t enforce a blanket ban on firearms in America when there are so many illegal firearms around too – everyone having a gun is a far bigger deterrent to criminals than nobody having a gun. Leaving everyone defenceless could potentially see less gun deaths, but it would also see a lot more armed robberies, muggings, house invasions. Because the only people with guns are criminals.
Instead we should look at how current legislation has failed America. What went wrong in all of these situations that lead to a shooting. As I mentioned in a previous post, this is exactly why knowing everything you can know about shooters is important. For example, if we take Adam Lanza of the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary Shooting. Lanza used his mother’s rifle and his mother’s car to get to and commit his act of violence. This was a legally owned gun, which Lanza’s mother had bought and licensed. Unfortunately she had been killed by Lanza prior to the shooting at Sandy Hook.
What we learn from this is that legally owned firearms need to be secured and locked away from anyone who isn’t the licensed owner. This could be enforced with mandatory spot checks, the refusal to sell a gun to anyone who doesn’t own a secure gun lockbox, and even heavy fines for those who fail to comply with the gun safety legislation. This would make situations like Lanza’s; where a person steals a licensed and legally owned firearm, less likely to occur.
Of course this doesn’t solve all gun crime issues, there are a lot of issues to sift through and solve; but its a start right? If we had this legislation in place prior to the Sandy Hook incident then perhaps it would never have happened. Twenty eight people’s lives could have been saved that day. This is how we should be tackling gun crime in the US, finding the weak links in the chain and patching them up. Gun control doesn’t mean guns will be made illegal, the idea is just to patch up the holes that allow people to commit such shootings.