My Take on Gun Reform. Hint, It's Not Gun Confiscation.

Mass Shooting Map I’m not saying you can’t have a gun; I’m saying let's be more thoughtful about it.

The United States has one of the highest rates of gun ownership in the world, with an estimated 393 million guns in circulation as of 2018. With this high number of guns comes a significant amount of gun-related deaths and injuries, including homicides, suicides, and accidental shootings. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 39,740 gun-related deaths in the United States in 2018, which is an average of over 100 deaths per day.

The need for gun reform in the United States is evident, especially in the wake of several mass shootings that have occurred in recent years. While the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects the right to bear arms, it is essential to recognize that this right is not absolute and should be balanced with public safety concerns.

One of the most significant issues regarding gun reform is the use of assault weapons, designed to kill many people quickly. These weapons have no practical use for hunting or home protection and have been used in several mass shootings, including the 2018 Parkland shooting, the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, and the 2012 Aurora shooting.

Smart gun regulation should limit guns to handguns, hunting rifles, and shotguns with fewer than five rounds per magazine. These types of guns are suitable for hunting and personal protection, but they do not have the capability of causing mass destruction in a short amount of time.

A balanced gun reform approach should include background checks for all gun purchases, including private sales and gun shows. A 2019 survey by Pew Research Center found that 89% of Americans support background checks for private gun sales and sales at gun shows. Additionally, the implementation of red flag laws, which allow law enforcement to temporarily remove guns from individuals who pose a danger to themselves or others, should be enacted.

Background checks for gun control are essential to gun reform in the United States. They are designed to identify individuals who are prohibited from possessing firearms, such as felons, domestic abusers, and individuals with a history of mental illness. However, it is crucial to recognize that background checks should look at criminal history and involve a more comprehensive evaluation of an applicant’s behavior and social media presence.

In addition to criminal history checks, background checks should include interviews with family members, friends, and coworkers to assess an applicant’s mental health and behavioral patterns. These interviews could provide insight into any potential red flags indicating a gun violence risk. For example, if an applicant has a history of violent behavior or has made threatening statements in the past, this information could be uncovered through interviews with those who know the applicant well.

Furthermore, social media has become a significant part of our daily lives, and it can provide valuable insight into an individual’s behavior and mindset. An applicant’s social media presence should be evaluated as part of the background check process. Social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram can reveal a lot about an individual’s interests, beliefs, and behavior patterns. For instance, if an applicant has a history of making violent or threatening posts on social media, this could be a red flag for potential gun violence.

It is essential to note that including interviews and social media checks in the background check process does not mean that individuals’ privacy rights should be violated. Background checks should be conducted by qualified professionals, and the information gathered should only be used to evaluate an applicant’s eligibility to purchase firearms. The focus should be on identifying individuals who pose a threat to public safety, not on invading individuals’ privacy.

One solution that could address the issue of assault weapons is the storage of guns based on military formats in rifle/gun clubs rather than in homes. This would allow individuals who want to use these types of weapons to do so in a controlled environment and reduce the risk of them falling into the wrong hands. This approach would also allow for greater oversight of who has access to these weapons, as gun clubs could conduct more thorough background checks and monitor the use of the weapons.

Background checks are a critical component of gun reform in the United States. Including interviews with family, friends, and coworkers and social media checks can provide valuable insight into an applicant’s behavior and help identify individuals who may be at risk of committing gun violence. By taking a comprehensive approach to background checks, we can help keep firearms out of the hands of those who pose a risk to public safety while respecting individuals’ privacy rights. The need for gun reform in the United States is clear. While the Second Amendment protects the right to bear arms, balancing this right with public safety concerns is essential. The use of assault weapons, which have no practical use for hunting or home protection, should be banned. Smart gun regulation, including background checks for all gun purchases and the implementation of red flag laws, should be enacted. By taking a balanced approach to gun reform, we can reduce gun-related deaths and injuries while still respecting the Second Amendment.

This may seem like an infringement upon the second amendment to some; however, this is my opinion and since my opinion is proteced by the First Amendment, here we go. Both the First and Second Amendments of the U.S. Constitution are vital to protecting the fundamental rights of American citizens. The First Amendment protects our freedom of speech, religion, assembly, and the press, while the Second Amendment protects our right to bear arms.

While the Second Amendment is often seen as a symbol of individual liberty and a means of self-defense, the First Amendment is just as crucial to protecting our democracy and our way of life.

Without the First Amendment, the government could censor and control the flow of information, limiting our ability to express our opinions, hold public officials accountable, and advocate for change. The First Amendment also protects our right to worship as we choose, assemble and protest peacefully, and access the news and information we need to make informed decisions as citizens.

The First Amendment also ensures that individuals and organizations have the right to speak out against the government without fear of retribution, which is essential for maintaining a healthy and functional democracy.

Therefore, we cannot prioritize one amendment over the other. The First and Second Amendments work together to protect our individual liberties and ensure our government remains accountable to its citizens. Both are essential pillars of our democracy and must be equally protected and upheld. That said, it is critical that we also have the foresight and open-mindedness to shape and guide these amendments to today’s United States of America.

I am a realist; guns have become an integral part of our society, and as much as I’m not a gun supporter, I know it is within our constitutional right to own weapons. Despite ongoing debates about gun control, it is unlikely that guns will disappear from our society anytime soon. However, the issue is not the presence of guns but rather the design and use of firearms intended to cause mass casualties.

The key to addressing this issue lies in finding common ground between gun enthusiasts and anti-gun citizens. This may involve implementing stricter regulations on the design and sale of firearms, such as background checks, waiting periods, and restrictions on high-capacity magazines. It may also involve promoting greater education and awareness about gun safety and responsible ownership.

Ultimately, it will take a concerted effort from all members of society to address the issue of gun violence. While it may be challenging to find a solution that satisfies everyone, it is crucial that we work together to create a safer and more secure future for all.

** Image from from an article written by Mark Keierleber on Dec. 6, 2022.