Enact Gun Violence Restraining Orders

Kensley Hamm, Reporter

Currently, the debate on how to handle firearms is at the forefront of our media. After the Parkland shooting, “gun control” is a phrase you hear every day. On one side of the spectrum, people believe that in order to reduce the amount of gun related deaths, we should have more guns in our everyday society. However, other people believe that to solve the issue we should completely eradicate guns.

I believe that to minimize the amount of victims from acts of gun violence, we need to take action to restrict certain types of guns, make firearms more difficult to purchase, and enact gun violence restriction orders.

One way to limit the amount of mass attacks in America would be to limit what kinds of guns are available for purchase. At age 18, you can legally buy an AR-15 assault rifle. At age 21, you can buy a handgun. Neither of these guns are meant for hunting, and the AR-15 is most definitely not used for self defense. The only reason a non-military civilian would have an automatic or semi-auto type gun would be for mass destruction.

However, the stores that sell these types of guns are starting to change their policies. Dick’s Sporting Goods placed tighter restrictions on what guns they sell and the ammunition that goes along with it. In a statement from Ed Stack, Dick’s CEO, he expressed his regret and concern over their current process for selling guns.

“We did everything by the book. We did everything that the law required, and still he was able to buy a gun,” Stack said. “When we looked at that, we said the systems that are in place across the board just aren’t effective enough to keep us from selling a gun like that. And so we’ve decided we’re not going to sell the assault-type rifles any longer.”

Walmart also took steps and raised the minimum age for purchasing firearms and ammunition from 18 to 21.

Another way to more effectively control guns and their usage would be to make firearms more difficult to purchase. When you are old enough to purchase a gun, you then have to pass a background check before purchasing your firearm. If this background check was effective, we’d probably have a lot less gun violence.

A glaring example of how ineffective the current background check process is would be Dylann Roof. In June 2016, Roof shot and killed nine people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Carolina. He was able to legally buy a .45-caliber handgun, despite being arrested for drug possession and the FBI being fully aware and suspicious of this. There are so many loopholes in the system, and one simple background check with many loopholes is not effective in keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people. Japan has a much more effective process for acquiring guns.

According to a 2017 article from the BBC written by Harry Low, in Japan, to legally purchase a firearm, you have to go through a rigorous process.

“You have to attend an all-day class, take a written exam and pass a shooting-range test with a mark of at least 95 percent,” Low said.

As well as the tests, there are mental health background checks. Police in Japan are required to search your criminal record, as well as look for links to extremists groups. They also search your relatives and colleagues.

These extensive tests ensure that firearms don’t fall into the hands of the wrong people. What may seem like being overly cautious has prevented thousands of lives from being lost in Japan.

According to a 2018 Business Insider article written by Chris Weller, Japan rarely sees more than 10 gun deaths a year. This is a massive difference from the amount gun deaths in America, which is already 2,487 in 2018 alone.

As well as a stricter process for purchasing guns, I believe there should be an easy way for the government to remove guns from specific people. For example, before the Parkland shooting, multiple students expressed their concerns about the student who ended up killing 17 people. However, the FBI didn’t take the proper precautions, and 17 lives were lost. Gun violence restraining orders could fix that.

According to a National Review article written by David French, a gun violence restraining order, “permit[s] a spouse, parent, sibling, or person living with a troubled individual to petition a court for an order enabling law enforcement to temporarily take that individual’s guns right away.”

I truly believe this is one of the most effective compromises. It creates action behind the “if you see something, say something” mantra. While currently, saying something does almost nothing, gun violence restraining orders could change that.

By taking guns out of the hands of dangerous people, we can prevent mass shooting and attacks with guns. This is also a good middle ground between completely getting rid of guns and leaving them the way they are. Instead of taking everyone’s guns away, this only punishes specific people.