Firearms in Dangerous Hands
The recent shootings in Connecticut and Portland has left the nation shocked and bereaved. It is reported that 26 people, out of whom 20 were children, died in Connecticut elementary school shooting. This tragedy, one of the worst shootings that this country has witnessed, is not the only mass-shooting incident we have faced this year.
In the U.S., there are 129,817 federally licensed firearms dealers vs. 143,839 gas stations, 36,569 grocery stores, and 14,098 McDonald’s restaurants. So clearly there are a lot of guns being bought and sold in this country.
Is there a way to control the buying of these firearms? It is important to set some regulations/checks while screening the people who are buying guns, while keeping in mind the second amendment. It is fine as long as the people who buy firearms have legitimate needs, like personal safety, hunting, target practice, etc.. The problem arises when people who could be a danger to themselves or to others get their hands on a gun.
The Federal law states that people who sell firearms regularly need to perform background checks on their customers, through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, run by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. However, this rule does not apply to occasional vendors.
According to the Science Daily, a new research from the University of Alabama at Birmingham shows that the rate of homicides and suicides is lesser in states that require more comprehensive background checks before gun purchases; these states also have fewer homicide and suicide deaths by firearms. Also, states that have “specific checks for restraining orders, fugitive status, mental illness and misdemeanors, which are considered more comprehensive checks, are associated with a 7 percent reduction in homicides and a 2 percent reduction in suicide deaths. Also, firearm homicide deaths are 13 percent lower when states have checks for restraining orders and 21 percent lower when fugitive status is checked.”
Studies show that in the past ten years, more than 100 million such background checks have been run, out of which 700,000 have been denied. Unfortunately, background checks alone cannot ensure that tragedies like the killing in Colorado, Portland and Connecticut will not take place; it will though, help in reducing the occurrence of such terrifying incidents.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those families affected by these horrific shooting.