Gun Background Checks #1

I want to make sure Kids Press doesn’t get all too biased to one side of an argument. In pretty much any issue there are pros and cons to each side. So I’m going to post two posts about gun control, specifically UBCs and I would like all of you to respond what you think based on the evidence and facts, plus logic and morals. Think of yourself as a judge, and these posts as the debaters.

Before I get into the arguments for UBCs I’d like to go over what UBCs are. UBCs, or Universal Background Checks, would mean every gun sale and transfer of ownership would need to be done through the government and you would need to get a background check first. There are arguments for and against it. Some states already require a background check through the NICS, but if government passed a law for UBCs every state would need to require background checks. In this post I’ll say why UBCs should be required:

In 2015 Dylann Roof received a pistol from his father for his birthday. Since he lived in South Carolina, he didn’t need a background check to receive this gun, despite the fact he had a criminal record. Two months later Roof walked into Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church and used that gun to shoot and kill nine African Americans just because of their skin color. If he had to get a background check before that gun transfer was made, those people might still be alive today.

This is why we need a background check, as I will explain in three points:

1.  The outrageous death toll.

Nicholas Kristof noted in the New York Times in 2016,

Yet this, too, must be said: Americans are absolutely right to be outraged at the toll of guns. Just since 1970, more Americans have died from guns than all the Americans who died in wars going back to the American Revolution (about 1.45 million vs. 1.4 million). That gun toll includes suicides, murders and accidents, and these days it amounts to 92 bodies a day.

Now, let’s look at the root of the problem in:

2.  Guns in the wrong hands

Guns by themselves aren’t the problem, but the threat happens when weak laws let guns get into the wrong hands. Daniel Webster, professor of public health at Johns Hopkins university wrote that

Guns don’t kill people by themselves, but guns substantially increase the ability of people to kill others and themselves. Many people own firearms and pose no threat to public safety. But when individuals with a history of violence, substance abuse, or serious mental illness can access firearms due to our weak gun laws, the risk of lethal violence increases greatly.

Guns get into the wrong hands because current laws leave many gun sales without background checks. Again from Prof. Webster,

The Brady Law created a system of background checks, but it applies only to licensed dealers. If you’re not a licensed dealer and want to sell a gun directly to somebody, then you don’t need to run a background check. Some people call this the “gun show loophole,” but it applies to all private sales—including, for example, those that take place over the internet. Criminals and gun traffickers learned long ago how to take advantage of this provision.

This loophole is what allowed Dylann Roof, and so many other criminals,  to get their hands on a gun. This leads to:

3.  Background checks improve the safety of Americans

In the same article from New York Times, Nicholas Kristof says,

Research suggests that the most important practical step would be to keep guns away from high-risk individuals, such as criminals, those who abuse alcohol, or those who beat up their domestic partners. That means universal background checks before somebody acquires a gun. New Harvard research confirms a long-ago finding that 40 percent of firearms in the United States are acquired without a background check. That’s crazy. Why empower criminals to arm themselves?

Empirical evidence shows that when background checks have been tried, they are effective at reducing violence.

A study in Missouri found background checks significantly reduced gun homicides

Nora Caplan-Bricker 2014 (journalist) NEW REPUBLIC “The Strongest Evidence We Have that Background Checks Really Matter” https://newrepublic.com/article/116657/johns-hopkins-gun-control-study-background-checks-really-work

The study, from the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, found the murder rate in Missouri jumped 16 percent—an additional 55 to 63 murders a year—after the repeal in 2007 of a state law that required anyone purchasing a handgun to obtain a permit showing they had passed a background check. (Though federal law mandates background checks by licensed dealers, private dealers don’t have to perform them in all but 14 states.) “This study provides compelling confirmation that weaknesses in firearm laws lead to deaths from gun violence,” said Daniel Webster, the study’s lead author, in a statement.

These days, you need to pass a background check just to volunteer in a school or a church. Shouldn’t you need to pass one to own a potentially dangerous weapon?

To reduce gun violence in America, support UBCs.

 

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