According to gunviolencearchive.org, as of Nov. 1, there have already been 301 mass shootings in 2018. That’s about as many shootings as days passed in the year so far.
After the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh that killed 11 people on Oct. 27, Americans called for action against gun violence. But what action can be taken?
Make it more difficult to buy guns.
Potential gun owners should be required to have a permit. Think about the process of driving a car: people don’t simply get behind the wheel. First, they must study the rules of the road and take a permit test. Then, they are allowed to have supervised practice for the test, and the test examines if they are fully knowledgeable on the operations of the vehicle and if they can safely operate the vehicle. After this long process, people can finally drive on their own. Americans understand that this is a necessary practice for vehicle safety; why aren’t guns thought of in the same way? Buying a gun must become a process to ensure safety.
Require gun safety training.
Again, most people would not let a new driver drive their car without any training. Gun safety training should be required before allowing purchase. This includes testing the knowledge of potential gun owners; they should know how to safely load, fire and store a gun, as well as demonstrate knowledge and understanding of local gun laws. Gun owners should store guns safely by keeping them locked away from other members of the household, especially children.
Require background checks for every gun sale.
All handgun sales require background checks, but not all long gun sales do. Private sales of long guns, such as those at gun shows, don’t require a federal license to sell and don’t require a background check. Also, there are no required background checks for sales between friends, family or strangers that met online.
Ban assault weapons and bump stocks.
The average citizen should not have access to assault weapons. In 2017’s Las Vegas shooting, the gunman fired more than 1,100 rifle rounds on a crowd within 10 minutes, according to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. The gunman used a bump stock, which is a device that helps semi-automatic weapons to fire faster. Even the National Rifle Association supports regulation of bump stocks; in a statement made after the Las Vegas shooting, they said:
“The N.R.A. believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations.”
Require a registry.
In Pennsylvania, it’s illegal for the state government and/or police to keep a registry of firearms. Some handgun sales can be recorded but not all sales for all guns. To help stop guns from being passed from person to person with no background checks or other restrictions, there must be a registry of every gun owner and every gun they own.
What can the average citizen do to help? Promote gun safety: if you are a gun owner, ensure that you have safe gun storage. Vote on Nov. 6 for candidates that support these regulations. Donate to Everytown for Gun Safety, an organization working to end gun violence.
Alexis Lincoln is a third-year majoring in English writings and minoring in journalism. AL892562@wcupa.edu