Safe and Free: Gun Control in the USA | Teen Ink

Safe and Free: Gun Control in the USA

March 21, 2018
By Anonymous

In the past year, there have been numerous massacres in US, several of them the deadliest to date. These shootings have sparked dozens of outcries by politicians and community leaders for harsher gun control laws. After the tragedies that have taken so many lives, the public has given a surge of support to these voices. This, however, has increased conflict with groups such as the National Rifle Association (NRA), whose members are fervent believers in the Second Amendment. I believe that there is a middle ground possibility, one that doesn’t totally infringe on gun rights, but puts a pause on the constant shootings. The solution that I lean toward is more extensive background checks, because that doesn’t interfere with law abiding citizens owning guns.


One of the greatest fears of a member of the NRA would be that their guns would be taken away, or that it would become nearly impossible to buy ammunition and guns by having to apply for extensive permits. People with those views tend to stockpile firearms and ammunition when they feel like their rights are going to be threatened by a politician. It seems that ownership of rifles, such as the AR-15, could require a permit that makes it slightly harder to get one. This would be accomplished by increasing the depth of the background checks. Several news organizations sent reporters out to different retail stores in the United States to see how difficult it would be to purchase an AR-15. Most found that it took around twenty minutes to purchase the firearm. However, several states have a period of time that a prospective owner has to wait before they can obtain the gun they purchased at the start of that period. It is reasonable to think that in order to have an effective background check done on a person, you need longer than twenty minutes.


To me it doesn’t make sense that someone would ever need a gun that fires a bullet that is half an inch in diameter. A gun such as the AR-15 is modeled off military assault rifles, ones that were designed to inflict maximum damage to a target. For non-military purposes the process of buying a semi-automatic assault rifle should take longer than twenty minutes. People can plan ahead to acquire a weapon with that type of fire power. This standard would not necessarily apply to ones that use smaller calibers, such as a .223, but for the ones that get up to .458. A gun with a caliber as small as a .223 is considered less dangerous than a .458, and as a result, should be easier to get. However, rifles using ammunition twice the diameter of a .223 seems excessive for most applications. Perhaps they would be used for large game, yet it seems they find their way into the hands of those who use it on their fellow US citizens.


One of the largest issues with putting in force increased gun control would be that it is seen as a violation of the Second Amendment of the US Constitution. The Second Amendment states “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”. Most people interpret this to mean that you can’t infringe on the right of the people to “keep and bear Arms”. I believe however, that it isn’t infringing on those rights if law abiding citizens will still pass the background checks, therefore maintaining their ability to own guns.


People, including NRA members and other gun owning advocates, like to defend their ability to own a gun by citing the Second Amendment. However, is it really infringing on the right to bear arms if there are more extensive background checks? As described above, more thorough vetting of gun buyers won’t hurt respectable citizens. People who value owning such weapons can still have them, the purchasing period would simply take longer and anyone with a criminal past, someone who is more likely to have intentions to harm people, won’t be able to get one. I believe that we can balance having a more safe America and a free America.

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