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Cornell Student Articles on Topical Affairs

The time for stricter laws regarding US gun control has come to pass

While there is much good being done in the way of civilian awareness – in the form of free criminal records being posted online, as well as victim support groups – the simple fact is that, until stricter laws are enforced in the US around gun control, the number of gun-related deaths will continue to rise. Each year, around 33,000 deaths centred around gun violence occur in America, and the epidemic has faced little to no push-back from the authorities – the emergency services, including the police and the ambulances, can only do so much without the support and criminal laws being in place that prevent such easy access to firearms. The law system in this country has failed the innocent before, but this is the one area of criminal justice and law enforcement that is a constant let down to the entire country. If the people cannot rely on the very government put in place to protect them, then the epidemic that is gun violence will continue to spread like a vicious plague, claiming the lives of the innocent at an alarming rate.

Since 1968, more Americans have been fatally wounded by guns than in America’s history of war. This is a terrifying reality. Over 1.5 million people have died in the US as a result of gun violence (1,516,863 to be exact) and that number will only continue to rise if the US government refuses to listen to its people and enact stricter gun policies. The gun violence that is plaguing this country is more than a human rights crisis, it is an outright epidemic. With more deaths from guns than every war America has fought in combined, there is no doubt that the criminal laws and gun laws are too lax (and that is putting it mildly). While there are criminal laws in place for those who injure and murder peoples using firearms, the issue lies in the fact that these laws get so much use because of the lax attitude displayed by the government in terms of obtaining a gun in the first place.

The American Medical Association (AMA) has recently endorsed multiple measures aimed at controlling gun-related violence. Among the endorsements are renewed support for banning assault weapons and bump stocks, as well as actively raising the legal age for purchasing firearms and ammunitions from 18 to 21. With so many school shootings happening within the last year (on average, 1-2 per week), the most horrific realisation lies in the fact that the year is not even over yet. The AMA has been updating and adding additional measures to its gun control and public safety agenda for a few years now, but the only lasting, profound action will come from criminal law and justice system that is responsible for forging, upholding, and updating laws within the USA.

With a yearly influx of school shootings, massacres, suicides, and domestic violence gun fatalities (among other incidents involving guns), the halt on tightening gun laws is not coming from the public, but the government itself. The irony that the system put in charge to protect us is the one allowing such unspeakable, mounting violence to continue is so alarming that it is almost laughable – except that it isn’t. America exhibits more common gun violence than any other first world country, with gun-related injuries becoming so common in US hospital ER departments that they seldom are presented as shocking cases anymore. When injury at the hands of such a demonic weapon is so common, there is a problem in the system. Generally, criminal law in the US rarely fails the people. Gun violence is one of the circumstances that nearly always fails the people, the system, and the country.

There are some states that appear to have finally had the stark realisation that the senseless brutality cannot continue, with as many as fifty-five gun safety bills being passed in just five months after the Parkland massacre shook the nation once again. But all in all, the first plausible step toward logical gun regulation is simple: repealing federal laws that ban gun registries and gun tracking. The basic idea is that, with an insurance requirement necessary to purchasing and maintaining a weapon, it will create an environment where the incompetent and mentally unstable would find it near impossible to obtain a gun – this simple action in itself could have significant positive impact on gun violence in this country, and for this reason it should absolutely be considered.

The law system in the US seldom lets down the people, but laws and regulations around gun control appears to be the one constant where the people are not only let down, but gunned down – literally. This inhumane trend in America is one that is rarely replicated in rate and brutality in a first world country, but it remains one of the most common and disturbing occurrences on US soil. As long as anyone is able to get a gun, the violence will continue, and perpetrators will continue to take the lives of the innocent while the government insists there is little to nothing they can do to stop it. The time for action was yesterday.

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