Get the facts straight: Gun Control

What gun reform realistically looks like for our country

by Bri Branscomb, Assistant Editor

Mass shootings have shaken the nation since the Parkland massacre on Valentine Day. Many have responded by calling for more stringent gun control. Others have rebutted this by saying it infringes on their 2nd amendment rights. There have been several questioning how realistic gun control is with regards to our current climate. Here’s what you need to know.

What’s gun control?

Gun control is a set of firearm regulations or laws that regulate the manufacturing, selling, and possession of firearms for civilian use. Gun laws are put in place to hopefully create a safer environment for everyone.

What gun control laws do we already have?

There are two major laws already in place: civilians aren’t allowed to own automatic weapons, grenades, and other powerful firearms. There’s another law regulating the sale of weapons (with some exceptions): gun sellers have to be federally licensed, run background checks, and prohibits the sale of guns to people with criminal records, those with mental health issues, and other categories.

Private sellers do not currently have to run background checks, though they are not allowed to knowingly sell to someone with a criminal record. Other states have gun laws on top of the federal minimum. Texas currently has no laws making it harder to own a weapon but does allow open-carry with a permit.

How would gun control help decrease shootings?

This is a tricky question to answer. There are disagreements about just how stringent gun control should be, but experts say that a way to start could be as simple as universal background checks and limiting the pool of just who can purchase a weapon. The ultimate goal is to keep weapons out of the hands of dangerous people, and some hope that gun control would facilitate that.

There are some examples of countries that have implemented gun control with success. Australia, for one, outright banned assault weapons and military grade weapons following one of the deadliest shooting sprees in history- and it worked. They have yet to experience another mass shooting, and violent crime has overall seen a massive decrease.

What’s going on with gun control now?

The survivors of the Parkland shooting have rallied together and created the ‘Never Again’ movement. The students are advocating for gun reform, and have set on an international movement to try and prevent any instances of mass gun violence from ever happening again.