The question of guns, too many, lack of enforcement, lax laws on federal and state levels? – The Times of Wayne County

Second Amendment

Whenever there is a mass shooting, knee jerk reactions follow. The public entity/community involved pushes for tougher gun laws. Politicians make promises, stating this is the incident that will make a change on state and federal levels.

Gun lobbyists, owners and the powerful NRA (National Rifle Association) have poured millions into the coffers of elected officials to fight off change and current laws already on the books. The Second Amendment is the battle call for gun owners and sellers in answers for more gun regulation.

There is no question the U.S. gun lobby stands as the stalwart to change, even though the New England Journal of Medicine has proclaimed: firearm deaths have now replaced motor vehicle accidents as the leading cause of death for American children.

The U.S. leads the world in gun related deaths, except in countries in current war conditions. 

Data gathered by the Gun Violence Archive sheds light on the harrowing impact of gun violence on America.Gun-related deaths have been on the rise in recent years. Excluding suicides, 20,923 people in the U.S. died in gun violence-related incidents last year, a huge increase compared to 19,515 in 2020, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

Suicides account for a large portion of gun-related deaths, with more than 21,000 people dying of suicide by gun every year, from 2014 to 2019, according to data gathered by the Gun Violence Archive.

The number of mass shootings has also increased largely in recent years, according to the Gun Violence Archive, which says the number of mass shootings last year was 692, compared to 610 in 2020.

The Gun Violence Archive defines a mass shooting as an incident in which at least four victims were shot, either injured or killed, not including the shooter.

Could gun violence be curbed by outlawing guns?

As the U.S. gun control debate intensifies, some Americans are looking overseas for ideas on how to prevent mass shootings.

Australia did it with sweeping gun laws following their uptick in mass shootings and gun violence. To own any type of gun in Australia, a person must have a firearm licence to possess or use a firearm. Licence holders must demonstrate a “genuine reason” (which does not include self-defence) for holding a firearm licence and must not be a “prohibited person”. All firearms must be registered by serial number to the owner, who must also hold a firearms licence.

Regardless of some public upheaval and refusal to comply, Australia held gun buy-back programs and an amnesty of unregistered, or unwanted firearms. 

Some studies on the effects of Australia’s gun laws have suggested that Australia’s gun laws have been effective in reducing mass shootings, gun suicides and armed crime,while other studies suggest that the laws have had little effect. Polling showed strong support for gun legislation in Australia with around 85 to 90%

Japan boasts one of the lowest rates of gun violence in the world. There were more than four firearm homicides in the U.S. per 100,000 people during 2019, compared to almost zero in Japan.

A gun owner must jump through a series of hurdles and almost a year before obtaining a gun license. There’s mandatory training. You have to pass a written exam, plus a physical and mental health evaluation. Even then, the police will go and ask your family and friends whether you have any violent tendencies.

Japanese police do carry handguns, but they’re the only ones who can have them, and they’re rarely drawn.

In the United Kingdom, access by the general public to firearms is subject to some of the strictest control measures in the world. Members of the public may own sporting rifles and shotguns, subject to licensing. However, handguns have been banned in Great Britain for most purposes since the Dunblane school massacre in 1996.

Police are routinely not armed and fatal shootings are extremely rare.

So, why not curb gun ownership in the U.S.?

The United States has a unique situation called the Second Amendment. So, what exactly does the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution say?

It reads, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” It was adopted on 17th December 1791 as a part of the Bill of Rights(the first ten amendments of the constitution).

Of course everything is up to interpretation, but to stringent gun owners there is only one meaning…”I have the constitutional right to a gun”.

Unfortunately, the Second Amendment was written by forefathers who had no idea a AR15 type of weapon would ever exist, or mass shootings would become a reality.

In the US, guns can be primarily bought from 2 sources – stores and gun shows. Although laws regarding possession of firearms vary from state to state, in most of the states it is just a matter of minutes before you can buy a gun from a store. 

Story continued on Page A3

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