By Kaya Derin Ozkan
One of the biggest debates across the United States is over the Second Amendment – the right to bear arms. Many people believe that all guns across the United States should be banned, whilst others believe that a total ban on all weapons is not necessary, that the solution is more efficient background checks. A large percent of school shooters and mass murderers have been reported to have socio- or psychopathic tendencies, which have been completely overlooked by government checks.
An example of the need for more efficient background checks would be the the most recent school shooting in Florida, Parkland High School. The shooter even before he was hauled into a jailhouse hearing room on Thursday, head bowed and shackled at the wrists and ankles, Nikolas Cruz had been causing trouble as long as anyone could remember. Neighbors said patrol cars were regularly in his mother’s driveway. More recently, Mr. Cruz, 19, had been expelled from his high school. He posted pictures of weapons and dead animals on social media. He was under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), as he commented “I am going to do what he did” under a video titled “Texas University Clock-tower Sniper 1966” as well as commenting “Im going watch them sheep fall f**k antifa i wish to kill as many as i can” and “Iam(I am) going to kill them in the future”. The username wasn’t under a false alias either, it was his name, “Nikolas Cruz”. If this doesn’t prove the fact that this entire situation could be avoided by more efficient background checks, I don’t know what will.
At this point the only people to blame for allowing this massacre is the FBI, they were warned and they failed to take action. Could it have been more blatantly obvious? The suspect admitted that he was going to “shoot-up” his school, under his own name, a troubled student, that was suspended, this kid basically had a massive red arrow on him saying “School Shooter” and somehow, the FBI had two tips about this guy and the FBI still failed to act upon all the evidence.
Another example of why gun limitations won’t work is because there are too many guns already in the United States, all this would do would increase the amount of straw buying, which is an illegal act of where people who are legally able to purchase guns buy a gun then sell them to people who weren’t able to purchase the weapon. The U.S. has the highest rate of gun owners, as they rank #1 globally with 112.6 guns per 100 residents. Many people on the left-side of the political spectrum advise that a full confiscation of all firearms is an appropriate solution. But that would not work, even in Australia where the “full” confiscation of all firearms occurred, only ⅓ of the country actually gave up all there firearms, whilst ⅔ still own all their weapons. Even still some people still believe a full confiscation will work despite the Australian ambassador, Joe Hockey, saying this was a naive idea, he states “I was in Govt. that changed Aussie gun laws. Guns are more pervasive & cultural here in USA. We all ‘wish’ for change but it’d be a miracle.” and just to further prove this point, he also stated “Australia and the United States are completely different situations, and it goes back to each of our origins. America was born from a culture of self-defense. Australia was born from a culture of ‘the government will protect me.’ Australia wasn’t born as a result of a brutal war. We weren’t invaded. We weren’t attacked. We weren’t occupied. That makes an incredible difference, even today.” Even if a full confiscation of firearms took place this event would not happen as calmly in the United States, as this action will cause tensions to rise indefinitely, and many people would keep their weapons illegally, and what many people don’t consider is the more restricted and harder to obtain something is, the higher the value of it in the Black Market, and the more restricted and taboo it is to own a gun, the more people would want it. For example in Portugal, until 2001 they Portuguese government were fighting a war on drugs. What did they do? As alien as it may seem, they decriminalized all drugs, heroin, cannabis, cocaine, you name it. Through this approach over the last 17 years deaths from drug overdoses dropped substantially, and Portugal itself is doing far better than it was doing in 2001. This goes to prove that the less taboo something is, the less people will want to do it.
Overall, all of these prove that the US needs another viable solution for all these massacres and horrific events would be more efficient background checks as currently the NICS(National Instant Criminal Background Check System), only disqualifies one from the ability of purchasing a gun through any felony conviction, any offense designated as a “crime of violence” can result in a firearm ban. “Crimes of violence” include: murder; first- through fourth-degree assault, first- through fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct; robbery; and kidnapping. These checks only stop people who have committed crimes, but not people that might commit them in the future. So some further checks must include a full scanning of all of one’s social media accounts, and three affidavits from people that are not from family stating that this person, can legally purchase a gun. These additional checks and steps will make sure that people like Nikolas Cruz will never hold a legally owned firearm again.
By Kaya Derin Ozkan