Columbine High School, Virginia Tech, Aurora Theater, Sandy Hook Elementary School — they all have one thing in common: people walked into those places and never walked out.
Gun violence is a major problem in the United States, and until we get serious about finding a solution, it will continue to be a problem.
Some people believe that guns are too accessible, or that psychiatric care needs to be more readily available to potential killers. Others believe that more “good guys” should be armed so that they can stop dangerous gunmen.
Whatever the argument, the motive is the same: to put an end to the violence that plagues this country. The problem, however, is much broader than many people believe. Each incident has a different motive, and each motive has different factors leading up to the occurrence.
The question is, what do we do? How do we slow these increasing outbreaks of gun violence?
According to Mother Jones, an independent investigative news source, from 1982–2012, there were 62 mass shootings in the US. Of those 62 cases, 49 killers obtained guns “legally,” twelve did not, and one was unknown. So, how are these killers getting guns legally?
When buying a gun, one must go through a background check, offering a “photo-identification issued by a government entity,” (such as a Driver’s License or Identification Card).
Sgt. Jacques Croom of the alcohol initiatives unit of the Montgomery County, Md., Police Department estimates that 50% of underage high school and college students have a fake ID.
Using a fake ID to buy alcohol is one thing, but to buy firearms? That can’t be possible … right?
Well, in 2001, the Government Accountability Office wanted to test this. They bought firearms from five different states that met the minimum requirement of the federal background check system, and “legally” obtained firearms in each state with a 100% success rate.
According to the Government Accountability Office, the federal background check system “does not positively identify purchasers of firearms.” This means that if buyers use a fictitious name, no felonies will pop up in the background check because the name that is checked does not exist — and they don’t check to see if the name existed.
Now, if you can’t afford a fake ID, you can just visit a local gun show and buy a gun from a local private gun seller, which requires no background check at all. You just need some cash in your hand, and a shiny new gun can legally be yours.
Guns can easily be obtained illegally. I’m not trying to argue that we should take everyone’s guns away; I’m advocating for more clear background checks, higher standard of regulation, and a less apathetic view on this serious issue. If you’re a law-abiding citizen, you don’t have to worry about these protocols anyway.