The array of shootings that have occurred in the last decade have left an imprint on American society. Between the tragedies in Las Vegas, New Zealand, Poway, Parkland, and Virginia Beach, Democrats have politicized each shooting in an attempt to push for stricter gun laws that inhibit the Second Amendment rights of Americans.
Two pieces of gun control legislation passed through the House of Representatives in February. The first bill seeks to implement universal background checks, but the law does not cover gun show sales or online gun purchases. The legislation presents another loophole by allowing gun sales to continue if the background check takes longer than three days. The second bill creates a mandatory ten day waiting period before an individual can pick up their purchased firearm, similar to existing law in the state of California.
The unfortunate reality is that those intent on committing murder simply don’t care about the laws, otherwise they wouldn’t be breaking them. Universal background checks and waiting periods only regulate legal purchases, while about 80 percent of gun crimes are committed with illegally-obtained firearms.
The black market allows for a plethora of products to be bought without the government’s knowledge or ability to control. A 2016 survey of prisoners revealed that one in five inmates admitted having “possessed or carried a firearm when they committed the offense for which they were serving time in prison.” Furthermore, only about 1.3 percent of all prisoners purchased a gun from a retail store.
Everyone on both political sides is heartbroken by gun violence and committed to reducing it in order to save lives. Conservatives believe that a firm rule of law that targets violent offenders along with empowering citizens to defend themselves is necessary to keep dangerous criminals from harming more innocent people. Liberals argue that gun control, which will really only affect law-abiding individuals purchasing their guns legally, is the antidote to gun violence. We must recognize that we share the same end goal, while disagreeing on how best to achieve that goal to create a safer and freer country.