Next president should reform gun legislation

Around 30,000 people die from gun-related occurrences each year, according to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. In the last 30 years, there have been 61 mass shootings, or single incidents involving multiple victims of gun violence —- and most of the guns used in these shootings were purchased legally. In light of these alarming — numbers, one would think that gun violence and regulation would be important election issues.

But neither candidate’s campaign even has a minor focus on gun control. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who signed a ban on assault weapons while governor of Massachusetts, has backed off of the issue completely, stating in 2007 that he doesn’t “support any gun control legislation.” President Barack Obama, who often speaks of gun control while citing his hometown of Chicago, has actually loosened gun regulations during his presidency.

The next president will have many pressing issues to focus on, but gun control cannot be one that continues to be overlooked.

Current gun laws allow for firearms to be purchased at gun shows without a background check, and a ban on assault weapons — signed by former President Bill Clinton in 1994 — expired eight years ago, leaving semi-automatic firearms with militaristic features available for unrestricted purchase. Obama talked about reinstating this ban when running for office four years ago, but during his term as president he instead signed bills that allow guns to be brought into national parks and on Amtrak trains.

As the economy appears to slowly be gaining momentum, jobs remain a constant issue. Though the war in Iraq has officially ended, the topic of war is frequently discussed. Yet while gun violence continues to worsen, it is ignored.

Two weeks ago, three people were shot and killed and four injured in Brookfield, Wis. by a man with a handgun, purchased from a private owner. This summer saw the mass shootings at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo. and a Sikh temple in Wisconsin. And  the country is just five years removed from the deadliest shooting spree in U.S. history, the shooting at Virginia Tech.

In the wake of these recent tragedies, there are many who continue to oppose greater gun control. The main argument against it holds that it violates the Second Amendment by taking away the right to bear arms. Gun control opponents note that gun laws won’t stop criminals from using guns and that people need guns to protect themselves.

Not every firearm-related tragedy would have been stopped with stricter regulations in place, but with stricter background checks and ammunition limits in place, many of them absolutely would have. New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts have instituted statewide assault weapons bans, and gun-related murders, assaults and robberies per 100,000 people are all significantly lower in these states, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

It is not to say that advocating for stricter gun control is to oppose  the Second Amendment. No gun control advocates have seriously proposed banning all weapons. Instead, they want to implement laws that make it more difficult to obtain guns, such as changing gun show rules, where unlicensed sellers are allowed to sell guns next to licensed dealers, but are not required to conduct background checks. This is reform that could significantly reduce the number of gun-related deaths each year — and reform that makes sense.

Strong gun control advocates are not the only group that supports new legislation, either. Citing polls that were conducted in 2007 and 2008, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence notes that 87 percent of Americans support background checks on private sales of guns and 82 percent support limiting the sale of military-style assault weapons.

Public polling shows overwhelming support for stricter gun laws, yet neither candidate has taken notice. The issue of gun control is a controversial one, but controversy does not mean political candidates should shy away.

Though it might be unreasonable to expect the president-elect to put forward a specific solution offering an immediate plan to quell the problem of gun violence, it should not be unreasonable to expect the leader of the country to address a problem that results in more than 30,000 deaths per year.

Obama and Romney have talked about combating deaths as a result of health care, war and pollution. Whoever is elected on Nov. 6 must take action to prevent further deaths as a result of guns, too.


Mat Goldstein is an undeclared sophomore.

16 replies
  1. blake
    blake says:

    wow using polls from 2007 and 2008 a bit out dated i think, and last time i check it was spit like the election polls with more people against new gun laws, sorry that i cant cite it sadly. but like any poll it depends on who dose it, and to whom they as, makes you wonder if they chose basis people, and besides look at the elections polls, every one just about different.

  2. John F
    John F says:

    Hmm and over half of those “Gun” deaths are suicide (kind of hard to pass laws that keep people from killing themselves, what would be the punishment, make them live forever?)

    How many of those “Gun” deaths were legal intervention, or legal self defense?
    Experts surmise about 11%

    Chicago PD did a study that estimated of 70% of homicides (all methods) the victims were felons (Not exactly a lost to society.)

    So once you factor out suicides, and felons being killed that leaves about 3900, subtract about 700 for accidents and you are down to about 3200, now while still tragic, it might well be of a better benefit to do things to control drivers under the influence (DUI’s kill around 10,000, and injure thousands of others year in and year out, but we blame the individual, not the car or what they consumed)

    Also bear in mind that the St Louis Public Law Review estimated that armed citizens stop 400,000 violent crimes per year, and deter an additional 800,000, and that is one of the more conservative studies done on use of guns by law abiding citizens.

    So stricter gun laws stop violence? explain Chicago to us.

    So before you make up your mind about things, you might want to consider more than one source, and check your sources.

  3. Lee Kramer
    Lee Kramer says:

    (Reader’s Digest Version)

    I ought to be a poster boy for more gun-control laws. My mother was a forty-four year old a (nobody) when she was shot to death Wednesday morning September 9, 1981, in Houston, Texas. She was waiting to clock into work with co-workers that morning. She was gunned down right in front of them. There was nothing anyone could have done to save her. Her attacker was the only one present who was armed. He emptied all six shots from his revolver into her body. After she was shot and down on the ground he used his empty pistol like a rock and started to pistol-whip her. Neither mercy nor quarter was given. After his gun was empty and the pistol-whipping was going on her co-workers finally restrained the attacker and held him for the police. She died about an hour later in the hospital E.R. Pardon the details but I have had over thirty one years to live with this fact-of-life no one should have to live with. Being graphic may give a better understanding about what I have come to believe.

    Murders exercise real “cruel an unusual punishment” anytime on anyone they please. They’ve no qualms with capital punishment “except” their own. It’s open season on us all. We of course only hear of the bloodshed when they target a high profile (somebody) or (groups) especially if children are involved. For the forth and fifth estates the higher profile, the larger the group and especially with children all the better. Emotions will rule the day and logic be-damned!

    The cost a typical murderer pays is small compared to their crime. Freedom from “cruel an unusual punishment” is only a right reserved for the guilty. Their victims just get to die! It wasn’t until many years later I learned my mother’s executioner had murdered before! Just so it is understood a number of major laws were broken that that morning. Here was a violent convicted felon, a convicted felon under a restraining order; a convicted felon with a gun and a convicted felon committing murder again! Any one with half a brain knows these things are all against the law! Simply put neither laws nor the police protect anyone, but more on that latter. Is it just me or is a pattern taking shape here? It sure as hell isn’t a gun.

    Murder victims never receive a jury trial; they have no rights to appeal. They are required to die. Often a painful brutal death! That morning my mom just thought she was going to work. She was just going to die! I don’t get to see her again, ever! She has no visits from friends and family as her murderer probably received. I just visit a stone in a graveyard and wonder what might have been if only… At that time we also learned we couldn’t be informed about his trial or his fate. It seems that too was against the law! It took the advent of the internet to finally learn a few meager details, most notably, six years and out. Betty was a (nobody), but as “Momma” she was a (somebody) to me!

    So an average of six years in prison is the price most murderers pay. A few years confinement on the taxpayer dime for all of those wasted innocent lives. Now a high profile victim a (somebody) or a (large group) a killer may serve a little more time, maybe life. Maybe, don’t bet on it! Occasionally some do get the needle or as it is being called nowadays by clueless moral crusaders “cruel an unusual punishment”. This of course as opposed to the charity they show their victims I suppose.

    Murderer uses the best weapon available to them. Guns, hammers, knives nor rocks simply don’t jump up and kill by themselves. They are all inanimate objects, tools. There are no calls to ban deadly knives, hammers and rocks. Just guns! Any tool used to kill is irrelevant. Dead is dead! So why do the crusaders only advocate gun-control or bans? Is it merely because of the efficiency of a firearm? I’d doubt it, besides as a tool what good is an inferior firearm? ‘We the people’ wish to live free or die trying. Gun-control proponents claim not to too understand or accept these facts.

    The Second Amendment isn’t nor was it ever about deer, duck or turkey hunting! The hallmark of the Second Amendment is liberty. The superiority of a firearm makes it the best tool against crime and tyranny. Proponents of gun-control understand it but will never admit it. If it wasn’t true the police and military would both be armed with knives, hammers and rocks. Odd too that civil liberty and gun-control crusaders show more confidence, faith, and trust with firearms in the hands of rogue cops, the standing army and those “victims” on death-row. One could be tempted to think that when you listen closely to them. How strange they think so little of innocent, law-abiding, peace loving and armed citizen. At the same time they think so highly of armed bureaucrats, rogue cops, and murders! Criminals, the media, politicians and the anti-gun crusaders fear a vigilant, armed and defensive citizenry. The media, politicians and anti-gun crusaders want a government heavily armed with defenseless and submissive chattel slaves. I’ve stated before the motives of the fourth and fifth estates are clear. They understand the stakes in the gun-control game. No longer content to lead as elected to do they’re maneuvering to rule, and rule unimpeded! That is the eight-hundred pound gorilla in the room. That should be in the conversation too! But any reasonable conversation must be derailed with sophistry.

    Sure I’m emotional about this subject. That doesn’t alter the logic. I’d finally had enough. For years I’ve watched celebrities and politicians, listened to countless anti-gun moral crusaders, talking heads and read all their agenda driven “news” articles. Clueless cunning people with a public platform I’ll never have. They all express the same mindless pap this article did. Big deal! Go right ahead, explain the logic of this ideology to my mother, and shout it real loud. The dead don’t hear well!

  4. Patrick
    Patrick says:

    You could take guns away if a person wants to kill a person or a group of people they will find a way. I cannot believe people think if you pass gun laws the bad guy will follow the law and not do something because it is illegal.

  5. libertyMinded
    libertyMinded says:

    Medicine and doctors kill more than 200,000 every year. This is with massive regulation and about 59 cents of every health care dollar spent by governments. Bigger government in the gun sphere will likely mean a worsening of the statistics you quoted.

  6. Lead Arrows
    Lead Arrows says:

    “82 percent support limiting the sale of military-style assault weapons.” This is a lie. You sir have no integrity and no place in America.

  7. sfcmarkc
    sfcmarkc says:

    “Yet while gun violence continues to worsen, it is ignored.” I’m a bit confused on this comment. Violent crime has been going down steadily downwards for a bout the past twenty years. You need only check the FBI’s website to confirm that.

  8. TL671
    TL671 says:

    “In the last 30 years, there have been 61 mass shootings”

    In the last 50 years, all but one of those mass shootings has occurred in a “gun free zone”. I agree that firearms laws should be reformed, but they should be reformed in the direction of more freedom, and the ability to protect ones self in more places. Criminals are among the biggest cowards on earth, they look for easy, unprotected targets. It has been proven time and again that when gun laws are liberalized, crime of all sorts reduces, including that which involves firearms.

    • Manny
      Manny says:

      Yeah because more guns in the hands of general untrained people in the movie theatre would’ve lessened the carnage in Colorado and other places. Do you honestly trust a bunch of people you don’t know right around you holding guns? The real world is very diverse. It is simple probability: the more guns in a diverse population, the larger chance one of them goes off. Then, all the dominoes fall.

  9. Going Bust
    Going Bust says:

    The next president should reform the federal government’s involvement with state and personal issues like firearms ownership by rescinding all the current federal laws and letting the states make their own rules. If you want the federal government involved, then I want the federal government involved too – by limiting state laws by allowing people of any state to buy guns in all states and allowing any state’s permits to be valid in all states. So keep it up getting the federal government involved because we can pass federal laws too.

  10. North University Park
    North University Park says:

    Both major political parties and all politicians fear the NRA.

    If the NRA targets you your goose is cooked. Therefore do not expect any change.

  11. Bob in AZ
    Bob in AZ says:

    “Next president should reform gun legislation”

    The President has little control over what the Representatives of the People want. They can veto, but that’s about it.

    What folks need to keep in mind is that there are some odd 300,000,000 firearms in the private possession of some 80,000,000 Americans. The main bogeyman is usually the NRA (I’m surprised it’s absent from the piece) has less than 4,000,000 members.

    One thing to note that brings it into focus is this:

    President Obama could not have been elected in the first place nor will he be reelected without the votes of millions and millions of gun owners.

    No one knows more than legislators that gun owners vote.

  12. mike
    mike says:

    Only 30,000 gun deaths per year, abortion kills over a million ppl every year why don’t you have government reform that. Talk about a tragedy , It is not to say that advocating for stricter abortion laws is to oppose Roe vs Wade see how that works. What state doesn’t require background checks a gun shows, they do in the state I live in. Maybe we should ban cell phones because texting while driving can and has killed ppl.

  13. Bob McKinnon
    Bob McKinnon says:

    Guns Do Not Kill People!!!! People Kill People.

    In the Second World War, the Japenese did not Invade the United States. They hear that everyone had Guns.!!!!

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