US gun policy: It’s time to change
May 24 was just another day for the kids at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. The school year was almost over and summer was fast approaching. But, what started out as a bright, sunny day ended as a dark nightmare. An 18-year-old gunman maliciously entered the school and killed 19 students and 2 teachers in a tragic display of gun violence. Unfortunately, gun control has been one of the most contentious topics in America during the 21st century, resulting in several political debates over gun continuity. Year after year, gun crime rates increase dramatically and the debate continues to rage. Yet the gun control dilemma remains unresolved. There has been no clear action plan on gun control, just empty promises. As the debate escalates, people must choose between two divided camps, one supporting the removal of guns and the other supporting the implementation of guns. However, this article will not focus on these two sides. Rather, this article will focus on several proven solutions that America could consistently implement. Many of these solutions have been outlined by various countries in their journey to address gun violence.
Before discussing possible solutions to gun violence in America, it is important to understand why eliminating all guns is not viable. Even though the prohibition of all firearms is very attractive and justified, especially with the recent spike in gun violence, that’s just not feasible. Guns are commonly found and used throughout America, making it very difficult to completely ban all guns. If America were to ban all firearms, a new black market for the illegal arms trade would emerge. This could have pronounced effects on the economy. Nevertheless, that is no excuse for America to stand still and not address the issue of gun violence. It is time to act and change.
One of the strictest countries when it comes to gun control, Japan has dramatically reduced its gun crime rate to virtually zero. According to Statista, in 2021, Japan recorded only 10 total incidents related to gunfire. Compared to the United States, Japan has a head start in gun control due to its disciplined approach. To own a firearm, Japanese citizens must participate in a written exam, marksmanship exam, mental health evaluation, drug test, background test, and character references from family and friends. friends. On top of all that, gun licenses have to be renewed every 3 years. This arduous process protects the Japanese people from gun violence and could be a model for possible American gun control solutions.
Another possible country the United States could consider is one of its closest allies, the United Kingdom. According to World Population Review, the number of gun-related deaths per 100 people in Britain in 2022 is the 9th lowest at 0.23. To achieve this remarkable phenomenon, the UK adopts a rigorous, yet fair, firearms certification process. According to Max Fisher of The New York Times, to obtain a firearms certificate in the UK, the citizen must have a valid reason (not including self-defence), pass a background check, and must have two references from temper. Because of its close relationship, the US should be strongly encouraged to learn from the UK’s gun control process and generate a possible solution.
The last example of strict gun control mentioned in this article is Australia. Australia is often characterized by one of the simplest answers to gun control, one that America could use. According to Zack Beauchamp of Vox, from 1996 to 1997, under a government buyback scheme, Australia collected 650,000 firearms from private individuals. In addition to the buyback program, Australia’s National Firearms Agreement (NFA) heavily restricted gun ownership, required permits, banned automatic and semi-automatic rifles, and more. In a 2011 study by David Hemenway and Mary Vriniotis of Harvard University, the rate of firearm homicides decreased by 42% in Australia 7 years after the buyout program. Clearly proven, Australia’s direct approach could greatly benefit America and rapidly reduce gun violence.
Ultimately, whether it’s background checks, character references, redemption programs, written/shooting exams, or mental health assessments, America has a plethora of options and combinations of gun laws to choose from. Even after reading this article, some people may still argue that implementing strict gun control laws is unreasonable because it is the mentally unstable people who are at fault, not the guns. However, this claim is false because guns provide mentally unstable people with a method to express violence. If firearms were strictly regulated, these instances of violence would be greatly reduced. Ultimately, innocent lives are lost every year due to gun violence. It is time for justice to be served for grieving families. It’s time to implement new gun control laws and protect the American people.