Possible Solutions to America’s Gun Problem

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Category: Constitutional Interpretation, Criminal Law & Process, Political Processes & Rhetoric, Public
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Glock_19_Gen_4_frontThe first step in solving any problem is admitting that a problem exists. America has a gun problem. Guns are all too easy for those with ill intent to obtain. So why worry about gun control and not knife control? Guns allow murderers to exponentially increase fatalities. Compare, if you will, the knife attack in China in which six terrorists killed 29 people and wounded 130 others with the Virginia Tech shooting, in which a single shooter killed 32 people and wounded 20 others. Anecdote aside, one only need to intuit that guns possess extraordinary risks uncommon to other weapons. We need to acknowledge the risks that guns possess.

America averages one mass shooting a day. Clearly something needs to be done, and we must do it without delay. Several observers have suggested ways in which gun violence could be reduced, both from within and outside of the legal system.

Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn has repeatedly called for illegal gun possession to be a felony under Wisconsin law . It is currently a misdemeanor, no matter how often an individual has perpetrated the crime. This means that when police catch someone with a gun who should not have it, all they can do is take it away, slap that person with a fine, and let them go. This is not a sufficient deterrence for people who should not have guns and does not do enough to keep them from possessing guns.

Felons are banned from buying guns, but can get around this rule through “straw purchases.” Straw purchases are transactions in which someone buys a gun legally and then transfers it to a felon. Science may provide a solution to this problem through technology which allows a gun only to be fired by the person who bought it. It is a futuristic solution, but one that could reasonably reduce gun violence by people who cannot buy guns.

A person’s right to own a gun is found in the Second Amendment to the Constitution. Bruce Watson believes we can solve the gun problem by taking a more literal interpretation of that amendment. Mr. Watson has suggested forming community militias and limiting gun ownership to members of those militias. These militias, he proposes, will foster community involvement. The leaders of these militias will have the right to remove unstable people from these militias, which consequently restricts their right to possess a gun. I find this solution has a lot of potential, but just as many questions.

Other solutions such as divestment of gun manufacturers or more guns as a means of limiting casualties have been offered.

Simply accepting our gun problem is not enough. We must take some sort of action to alleviate this epidemic. If we take no action, we can expect the same results. I find this unacceptable and I hope you do too. Endorse whichever solution best fits your moral viewpoint (and certainly this list is not exhaustive). But it’s important to go beyond lamenting our situation and attempt a solution. Its better we try something rather than doing nothing.

 

 

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