America's War Unto Itself: Access to Firearms

Judith Boza - Teen Aspect - July 25th, 2022
 

Located in Grapevine, Texas, “Texas Gun Experience Retail” makes purchasing a gun as easy as buying a puppy. (1) Bring a valid government-issued ID between the hours of 8am and 10pm, and you can start filling out the required documentation right away. You will be given a federal Firearms Transaction Record, often known as Form 4473. This form asks a series of “yes” or “no” questions ranging from inquiries about race all the way to marijuana usage. (2) After that is complete, the receptionist will then continue to do an “on the spot” background check through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). (3) According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, checks are usually determined within minutes of initiation. If there is no match in any of the checked databases, the dealer is cleared to proceed with the transfer. Hand them your credit card, and voila! You are officially a gun owner. (4) Oh, and don’t worry- you only have to be 18 years old to purchase a long gun in the state of Texas. So, if you are in the market for an AR-15 as a high school graduation gift, you are in luck.



It isn’t the responsibility of “Texas Gun Experience Retail” to make the judgement on whether a buyer is suitable to own a gun or not. Similar to the 52,799 federal firearm dealers in the United States, these retailers do their best to uphold the function of the second amendment and execute the procedural screenings enacted by state and federal law and. Used for neutralizing threats and establishing a sense of self defense, owning a gun is not inherently a “bad thing.” (5) Yet, as we reach over 300 mass shootings and 22,000 deaths due to gun violence in this year alone, the American people are growing impatient with the lack of gun safety in this country. Many are forced to wonder if the issue rests in the lack of restrictions this nation places on its citizens' ability to obtain firearms.


Since the United Kingdom has the most strict gun regulations in the West and possibly the whole world, it makes sense that it also has some of the lowest rates of gun homicide among developed countries. But before Great Britain established these strict guidelines for gun laws, a horrific gun massacre was all it took to spark a national outcry as it set the stage for systemic change. A school shooting that took place at Dunblane Primary school in 1996 sounded suspiciously similar to the Connecticut attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. Before killing himself, Thomas Hamilton entered a primary (elementary) school in Dunblane, Scotland, and shot and killed 16 young children, aged four to five, as well as their teacher. Hamilton had been in legal possession of the two rifles and four handguns he used in the slaughter for approximately 20 years prior to this incident. Since the self-titled “Dunblane Massacre”, the United Kingdom has made the decision to impose changes on gun access in their nation. (6) In contrast to U.S laws, as a prospective gun buyer in the U.K, it is mandatory for you to provide a "valid reason" for having a gun. In the United Kingdom, one can not purchase a gun simply to own it. The “valid reason” in question is then reviewed by local police chiefs in order to verify that an applicant's reasons for owning a gun is legitimate. It begs the question of whether simply asking a potential gun purchaser "why?" could avert the danger of a callous and perhaps preventable mass killing.


Additionally, to obtain a firearm in the U.K a buyer is required to pass a series of background checks, which entail examining a person's criminal history, mental illness, alcoholism, drug addiction, and the listing of two individuals who will serve as the buyers referees. These individuals must live in the UK, have known you for at least two years, and be trustworthy people. It should be mentioned that family members are not permitted to serve as referees. Additionally, they cannot be employed by the police or the Police and Crime Commissioner in your region, nor can they be licensed gun dealers. And besides stating your “personal attitudes towards guns,” your application will also need to give permission for the police to approach your general practitioner to ensure you are sound of mind and health. Every five years, licenses must be renewed; however, they may be revoked sooner if authorities determine that a person's gun ownership poses a risk to the public's safety. Despite the obstacles involved, being a gun owner in the U.K is possible. More than 700,000 certificates were in force during the time between 2008 and 2009, despite the fact that the regulations are rigorous.


Is there any possibility that this nation will adopt gun control measures that are as thorough as those in the United Kingdom? For the people of Great Britain, all it took was a single mass shooting to enact some change within their country. Yet, how many more Sandy Hooks, Stoneman Douglas’s, Highland Parks, Buffalo Supermarkets, Robb Elementary School’s, and Pulse Night Clubs need to be “shot up” before some government intervention.



(7) The first significant piece of gun safety legislation voted by Congress in over 30 years was signed into law by President Biden on June 25th. The bill, which was approved by the Senate on Thursday and passed the House on Friday night by a vote of 234 to 193, includes incentives for states to pass so-called red flag laws, which let organizations ask courts to take away the weapons of people who are deemed to be a threat to themselves or others. In addition, the measure broadens a ban on gun ownership for anyone convicted of domestic violence to include dating partners as well as spouses and ex-spouses. Additionally, it broadens background checks for anybody wishing to purchase a firearm between the ages of 18 and 21. Yet, rather unsurprisingly, the infamous National Rifle Association claims to oppose the largely-supported bill, choosing organizational profit over American lives.


References


  1. How To Buy A Gun. (n.d.). Texasgunexperience.com. https://texasgunexperience.com/how-to-buy-a-gun

  2. Section B -Must Be Completed By Transferor (Seller). (2012). https://www.atf.gov/firearms/docs/4473-part-1-firearms-transaction-record-over-counter-atf-form-53009/download

  3. FBI. (2016). National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) | Federal Bureau of Investigation. Federal Bureau of Investigation. https://www.fbi.gov/services/cjis/nics

  4. PENAL CODE CHAPTER 46. WEAPONS. (n.d.). Statutes.capitol.texas.gov. Retrieved July 11, 2022, from https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/PE/htm/PE.46.htm#46.06

  5. Hall, S. G., Madison. (2022, May 25). The US has had 214 mass shootings so far in 2022. Here’s the full list. Insider. https://www.insider.com/number-of-mass-shootingsin-america-this-year-2022-5

Lopez, G. (2015, December 4). How gun control works in America, compared with 4 other rich countries. Vox; Vox. https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2015/12/4/9850572/gun-control-us-japan-switzerland-uk-canada

0 comments
Teen Aspect (1)_edited_edited.png