Gun Reform: How Many More Deaths Will it Take?

Diamond Scott, Columnist

Did you know that it takes only 15 minutes to buy a gun in Virginia? How about the fact that on an application to purchase a firearm your social security number isn’t required?

These two facts tend to be quite surprising to people as is the fact that, according to the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) statistical records of death certificates, in 2017 (the most recent year for complete data), close to forty thousand people died from gun related injuries (39,773). According to a Pew Research Study by John Gramlich, “This figure includes gun murders and gun suicides, along with three other, less common types of gun-related deaths tracked by the CDC: those that were unintentional, involved law enforcement or whose circumstances could not be determined.”

With access to guns still quite open, one can only imagine how high that number is as we arrive in the last two months of 2019.

I could go on with more statistics about the level of gun violence in the U.S., including mass shootings, school-related acts of violence, and even suicide by gun, but it’s safe to say we all know that there is a huge issue involving gun control in America. To me, the big question is how many more innocent people have to die until it’s finally resolved? My guess is millions.

To some, background checks are the key, but there is already a required FBI background check for in store purchases of firearms, though its overall effectiveness is questionable. Jose Pagliery and Arraon Smith of CNN reported that “all federally licensed gun dealers must run checks on every buyer, whether a purchase is made in a store or at a gun show.” However, they add that denials are less than one percent.

Additionally, Pagliery and Smith make it clear that some guns are sold legally, “but without any background check, since the system is only used by gun sellers with a federal license.”
There are no specific statistics for the number of illegally obtained guns, but a number of sources place the number quite high. How individuals obtain these varies with stolen guns and the illegal market being the two most prominent sources. Additionally, people illegally obtain guns from other individuals, including family members. No matter how a gun is obtained, the truth is, we have an issue- an enormous one that’s affecting citizens’ everyday lives. It has gotten so bad that Active Shooter Drills take place in most schools and stores sell merchandise to help children protect themselves in an active shooter situation.

We have become a country that teaches its children how to protect themselves instead of doing it ourselves. Change won’t come unless action is taken, starting with ending gun ownership in America, stricter punishments for firearm crimes, and politicians working together.