Preventing gun violence- it’s not that simple


In recent controversy on finding a solution to stopping gun violence, most anti-gun advocates focus their argument on closing the “gun show loophole” and requiring more thorough background checks; little do they realize that stopping gun violence is more complicated than that.

In the alleged “gun show loophole,” buyers can purchase firearms without background checks and are able to pay in cash. These assumptions are incorrect because gun show vendors will accept a person’s concealed carry permit and driver’s license instead of a background check before the purchase of a firearm. If the customer does not have that, then they will be prompted to present a background check and gun permit to the dealer.

The real issue of this “loophole” lies in private vendors. Private vendors are not required to have conduct  background checks on customers upon purchase of a firearm. Critics like say to the issue should be named “private seller loophole.”

Despite the security already in place at gun shows, not many of the firearms used to commit crimes were purchased there. According to a study by Bureau of Justice Statistics, only 0.7% of convicts bought their firearms at gun shows.

So where does the solution come from? Certainly not from the United States banning guns entirely or trying to close a mythical loophole; the issue needs a more comprehensive approach.

Researchers are looking more at the mentally ill in relation to gun crimes, eliminating other factors that may be a cause for mass shootings.

According to a study by Jonathan Metzl, MD, PHD and Kenneth MacLeish, PHD: “Yet, as we show, notions of mental illness that emerge in relation to mass shootings frequently reflect larger cultural stereotypes and anxieties about matters such as race/ethnicity, social class, and politics. These issues become obscured when mass shootings come to stand in for all gun crime, and when ‘mentally ill’ ceases to be a medical designation and becomes a sign of violent threat.”

Tragedies such as Newtown cause citizens to call a for a ban on firearms, but these incidents reflect the need to keep guns away from the mentally ill, not the certified gun owners.