Global Understanding: Gun Violence in America
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Global Understanding: Gun Violence in America

(The Verge) – On Tuesday, April 10, Monmouth University professor Jennifer Shamrock hosted a presentation for the Global Understanding Conference called “Fully Loaded: Gun Violence in America.” With so much controversy about gun control occurring over the past year, this topic was relevant and important to learn more about.
Shamrock and two student speakers, Rachel Fisher and Jose Aguilar, started the presentation with some attention grabbing facts about gun violence. “The United States has the highest gun ownership rate in the world, about 88 guns per 100 people,” stated Shamrock. The United States accounts for 4.5% of the world’s population, and 40% of the world’s firearms.
Many different video clips were shown during the presentation, all providing valuable information and stories about gun violence. A clip of a news report stated that this past November, Americans tried to buy 2 million guns. It also stated that there are more gun stores in the United States than there are gas stations or grocery stores. There are more than 130,000 licensed firearms dealers in the United States, with about half of them being large retail stores. For whatever reasons, Americans value their firearms highly.

The shooting in Newtown, Conn. sparked talks of Gun Control once again in the US. Image taken from: The Newtown Bee

While many people believe that we have enough laws to prevent gun ownership, the facts tell us otherwise. While federal law does require a background check to buy firearms, there are private sellers who do not exactly follow these rules. Hidden cameras revealed that gun shows, where many private gun sellers do business, are a huge loophole in the law. Out of all of the illegally trafficked guns in the United States, 30% come from these shows.
A team of investigators worked undercover at some of these shows, asking sellers if they needed a background check. Federal law states that “if private sellers have a reason to believe a buyer could not pass a background check, it is illegal to go through with the sale.” Then, a private seller of the investigators from the undercover video stated, “Well that’s good I don’t need a background check, because I probably couldn’t pass one.” To this, the seller simply responded, “I don’t care.”
While some private sellers did stop the sale after the investigator stated he could not pass a background check, the majority did not. It’s scary to know that these sellers only care about the money they are making, and not the welfare of the surrounding community. They could be selling to criminals, or psychologically unstable citizens. This is clearly a huge problem. Since the adoption of the background check law in 1968, it has stopped the sale of 2 million guns that could have been in dangerous hands. The background check law should apply to all gun sales, not just licensed sellers.
After acknowledging the problem, several stories were shown where gun violence has affected the lives of innocent individuals.
Most recently, on April 8, a shooting occurred in Toms River, New Jersey. Somehow, a 4 year old boy got his hands on a 22 gauge rifle, and accidentally shot his 6 year old neighbor. The 6 year old died from his injuries. This is not an example of illegal gun ownership, but irresponsible gun ownership. There is no excuse for a rifle to be easily accessible to a 4 year old.
After this, the presentation tugged at the heartstrings of the audience by showing photos and reading stories about all of the young victims of the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut this past December.  It was extremely sad and moving to hear about the loss of such promising young lives.
The presentation wrapped up with some information on how anyone can help reduce the problem of gun violence in America. You can write to your members of congress and urge them to pass tighter gun legislation, or get involved at www.DemandAction.com.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Eric Winters

    Alright where do I begin? First of all this article is an incredibly biased piece of reporting which pushes an anti-gun agenda on the reader. Aside from this your “facts” and statistics need explaining. “While federal law does require a background check to buy firearms, there are private sellers who do not exactly follow these rules”. There are no federal laws for private citizens to be subject to background checks when selling to another private citizen. Private sales at gun shows account for a fraction of the sales of firearms, both in general and at gun shows specifically. FFLs, or federally licensed firearms dealers must conduct background checks whether they are on their own premises or at a gun show. “Out of all of the illegally trafficked guns in the United States, 30% come from these shows”. Do you know how much 30% is? I would like to know where you found this statistic because that is an obscenely high number that simply cannot be taken at face value. “The background check law should apply to all gun sales, not just licensed sellers”. Do you know why we, gun owners, are opposed to background checks being applied to private sales? It is because the seller, as well as the buyer must be subject to a background check. The ATF currently licenses and approves dealers as you wrote, which allows the federal government to sleep well at night knowing firearms are being sold by those who they have approved (and who must by law keep records for a certain period in case they really wanted to know who bought what guns). If universal background checks were instituted the sellers would be checked, but it would not be effective unless the government knew exactly what firearms he or she was selling, since the controls they have in place on FFLs need not apply. Since potentially every firearm in the United States could potentially be sold in a private transfer there would need to be immediate gun registration and registration of all future firearm sales as well (licensed and unlicensed). Everywhere where gun registration has been instituted confiscation has soon followed. This may seem innocuous to you, but for gun owners like me that would be the death of liberty as we know it. “A 22 gauge rifle”. The correct term is .22 caliber. Gauge is a unit for measuring shotgun barrels. This can be forgiven since you are most likely not a shooter, but when you are reporting you should be held to a higher standard, especially on controversial issues. “This is not an example of illegal gun ownership, but irresponsible gun ownership. There is no excuse for a rifle to be easily accessible to a 4 year old”. You are correct. This was irresponsible however there is a a reason for a rifle to be easily accessible to a four year old: education and training. Our children are our future and it is our responsibility to teach them about safe and responsible firearms ownership and operation. A loaded rifle should not be easily accessible to a four year old, except when shooting in the proper conditions. Of course this is my opinion, but tighter gun control is not the answer. These laws have failed and are actually dangerous where they have been implemented, New Jersey included. Unfortunately, although you comment on the specific presentation, your article fails to address any of the real underlying problems that are underneath the superficial covering of “gun violence” all the while trying to chip away at the Second Amendment rights of American citizens that I and many other hold dear, even if you do not.

  2. Dan Gunderman

    Eric, appreciate the read! Though the article does not go as far in-depth as YOU discuss, this was because it’s simply the content covered at a Global Understanding convention. We may have an editorial in the near future about the progress of the package of gun-rights through the NJ Senate, however. Would love to see what you think of that!

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