Gun Control?

Yes, we need it!

Imagine a world where gun reform is taken as seriously as putting a hold on all the Johnson & Johnson vaccines because they have a very small chance of causing blood clots. This is not to downplay the importance of well-functioning vaccines, but rather to emphasize that gun control is absolutely necessary and needs to be talked about. Our society has normalized mass shootings and murders into news stories we skip over. We need to take cautionary steps to ensure a safer community.
You see it every week on the news: mass shooting in state x, y number of people killed. Open Instagram, and you will see countless celebrities sharing their condolences on related posts, whether they care or not. This is not enough. The solution is simple: stricter gun laws and fewer guns mean fewer gun deaths. The United States has some of the most relaxed gun control laws in the world. We also lead the world in homicides by firearm per one million people. We, a developed nation of freedom and equality, have not put the correct laws in place like some of our first-world counterparts and we are constantly paying the price.
But what can we do? Universal background checks (UBC’s) are a good start.
In the United States, about 1 in 5 gun transactions happen without a background check and only about 1.5% of background checks run by the FBI each year result in denials. But with a universal background check, all firearm purchasers would be required to pass a criminal records check administered by the state background check system. As of April 2021, thirteen states, including New Mexico, require UBCs in order to purchase a firearm, but so far the US Senate hasn’t taken up the House’s UBC bill. Studies have shown that UBCs do generally decrease gun violence and deter buyers, which is great, but millions of Americans already have weapons. Luckily there is a law that allows those weapons to be taken away from dangerous people.
Red flag laws are gun control laws that permit police or family members to petition the court to order the temporary removal of firearms from a person who may present a danger to others or themselves. A judge makes the final decision as to whether or not the person in question can keep their weapon. Nineteen states, including New Mexico, have implemented this law and it has prevented thousands of suicides across the country. 62% of US gun deaths from 2008-2017 were from suicide and the Red Flag laws have proven beneficial to this cause, more so than mass shootings. 71% of people who have deliberated suicide have said that they thought about doing it for less than an hour. If a gun is less readily available, it is more likely for someone to contemplate their decision longer and ultimately decide against it. A gun is often too tempting when people are in the wrong headspace and they do something they cannot take back.
Immediate action on the issue of gun control is essential to the well-being of our country. We need politicians to create change instead of just sending their thoughts and prayers to the victims’ families. We need to stop nodding along and start speaking up. A change needs to happen so we can live in a safe and peaceful world without worrying about whether our loved ones will be the next victims.