Gun control: If not now, when?

In wake of a further firearms incident, this one at a college in Texas on 22 January, pushes should be made towards additional control on weapons in the United States of America. Initial reports remain unclear on details; the event will certainly cement President Obama’s proposed increased gun restrictions.

Obama intends to introduce various bills to increase constraints on gun ownership. The first and possibly most difficult to implement is that to implement stringent background checks on all firearms purchases. It is currently estimated that roughly 40% of all weapons transactions are carried out without any sort of background check. With many of the ‘school shootings’ being attributed to people whom have not had sufficient mental health checks, this stands as a positive first step. Other plans include the banning of military-esque weapons, such as assault rifles and handguns.

The National Rifle Association dismissed these intentions as ineffective and unnecessary, but the President argued that “if there is even one life that can be saved, then we’ve got an obligation to try”. With a constitutional allowance for people to bear arms, there remains a staunch objection to firearms limitations.

Piers Morgan recently sparked debate with his participation in a string of celebrities speaking in favour of gun regulation. So strong was the furore that a petition has been both proposed and supported for Morgan’s deportation. A mother of a victim of the Columbine shootings stated she doesn’t think that banning all guns is a sensible idea, further evidencing the entrenched mentality of American pride in their constitutional rights.

With states deciding on exact regulations, liberal attitudes towards weapon ownership vary geographically. Only in very few instances do states ban assault-rifle style weapons. However, the most recent shooting in Texas will only aid the prospect of reforms. It remains to be decided whether tighter restrictions can only succeed with a real demonstration of the danger of guns. On the 22nd January, Texas saw one such demonstration.

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