Strong Background Checks, Assault Weapons Ban Will Protect Communities
Obama's plan to strengthen background checks and ban military-style weapons will protect communities
January 18, 2013
There is no single solution to prevent gun violence because there is no single reason behind the homicides, assaults, and robberies committed with guns every day. That's why President Barack Obama's proposals should be enacted as a comprehensive effort to protect our communities from gun violence.
While the nation mourns the victims of Sandy Hook Elementary, it should not forget that 33 people are killed with guns every day. Many are killed because of our failed national background check system. In the case of the firefighters murdered in Webster, N.Y., the gun was bought through a "straw purchaser," who bought firearms with the sole intention of giving them to a convicted murderer. Others, like Zina Haughton, are killed with a gun purchased through a "private sale loophole" that allows people to avoid a background check by purchasing a gun online or at a gun show.
Scores of people, including 32 Virginia Tech students and six people at a Tucson grocery store, are killed by people who legally purchase firearms because their known history of mental illness isn't reported to the national background check system. More than 6.6 million guns—40 percent of all gun sales—are sold each year by unlicensed private sellers, without a background check required under federal law. Supporting the president's call for a strong background check system makes sense and can save lives.
We must also stop the sale of nonsporting, military-style weapons and accessories. Military-style assault weapons aren't designed for sporting—they're designed for killing. High-capacity magazine rounds and armor-piercing bullets are similarly designed for as much destruction as possible. Virginia police saw a sharp drop in criminal firepower during the assault weapons ban; the president's plan to reinstate the assault weapons ban can prevent mass shootings and protect law enforcement.
A true background check system and the return of the assault weapons ban would help prevent 30,000 senseless gun deaths each year. And yet, the president's plan goes one step further than by improving mental health access and school safety that could prevent the current generation of students from becoming another part of the increasingly vicious cycle of gun violence.
Most gun owners are sensible, law-abiding people. But support for the Second Amendment goes hand in hand with keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and other dangerous people. The president's plan will help prevent gun violence and ensure that all gun owners are sensible, law-abiding people.