For several years, teachers have looked to Congress to pass laws to keep guns out of active shooters’ hands. But it’s not just those returning to academia that is calling for gun reform. It’s the average U.S. citizen that no longer feels safe attending public events in America. One solution is up for debate, universal background checks for all gun purchases in the United States.
It’s estimated that 20-22% of gun transactions occur without a background check.
Currently, only licensed dealers are required to run background checks. There are many other “legal” loopholes for private sales, including:
- Gun Shows
- Online sales
- Unlicensed dealers and
- Transfer of firearms between private parties
The bottom line, there are too many ways for people who should not have a gun to purchase one.
While some states have embraced universal background checks for all firearm purchases, others are still struggling to pass necessary reform. Currently, only 13 states require universal background checks before buying a gun.
There is no denying these loopholes enable domestic abusers, people with violent criminal records, and people prohibited for mental health reasons to purchase guns from unlicensed sellers with no background check in most states.
However, there is also an argument that universal background checks do not work.
Areas of Concern
Data providing statistical proof that the gun control legislature impacts firearm-related deaths in America is lacking. One study conducted by the Gun Policy Research Review conducted a survey weighing statistical data for eight gun-related areas of concern against the effectiveness of 13 types of gun policies in the United States.
8 Types of Gun-Related Areas of Concerns
- Defensive use
- Gun industry outcomes
- Hunting and recreation
- Mass shootings
- Officer-involved shootings
- Unintentional injuries and deaths
- Violent crimes
13 Types of Gun Policies
- Background checks
- Bans on the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines
- Child-access prevention laws
- Concealed carry laws
- Firearms sales reporting requirements
- Gun-free zones
- Licensing and permitting requirements
- Lost or stolen firearms report requirements
- Minimum age requirements
- Prohibitions associated with mental illness
- Stand-your-ground laws
- Surrender of firearms by prohibited possessors
- Waiting periods
Although gun laws were deemed inconclusive for most gun use outcomes, child-access prevention laws were considered the most effective, indicating support in preventing suicide attempts and unintentional injuries and deaths.
Background checks were found to be moderate in preventing suicide and violent crime. However, mass shootings were deemed inconclusive about whether background checks laws were adequate.
Universal Background Checks Pros
- 94% of Americans support it, including 90% of current gun owners
- Decrease # of suicides and violent crimes
- Enables people who are not “supposed to be purchasing” firearms to be prosecuted
- Would drive up the price of illegal gun purchases, potentially decreasing their sales. For example, when Virginia passed universal background checks, their interstate trafficking of guns went down 29 percent.
Overall, the most extensive argument for universal background checks is the chance to save lives by keeping guns out of the hands of potentially violent or unstable individuals.
Universal Background Checks Cons
- It’s only as good as the data in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) database
- It won’t stop criminals from obtaining guns unless it’s adopted in all 50 states, and even then, they can purchase from friends and family in a private sale.
- May deter citizens from turning in firearms if they were purchased “illegally.”
Universal background checks are a start to help reduce gun violence in this country. Coupled with licensing requirements, age restrictions, and safety courses, our country could become safer and less violent.
Timothy Dimoff – Speaker, National Expert, Author
Tim Dimoff’s engaging and thought-provoking presentations are sure to enlighten, inform, and move you into taking action on such critical issues as workplace risks, security, and societal threats. Feel free to contact Tim today for more information.