An officer reloads his gun during a certification test at the Arizona Law Enforcement Academy. (Photo by Tynin Fries/Cronkite News)
Possible solutions to the country’s gun violence problem
Gun violence is one of the hottest issues impacting Americans today. Millions of students in the nation’s schools practice active shooter drills each year to prepare for the next mass school shooting. Acts of gun violence in crime-ridden neighborhoods happen on a daily basis, killing tens of thousands of people each year. The country is struggling with how to solve this deadly problem and keep the people safe. Here are some ideas for solutions to America’s serious problem with deadly gun violence.
Better Mental Health Treatment
One topic that has been associated with mass shootings and gun violence is mental illness. Some mass shooters, like James Holmes, a mass shooter who killed 12 people in an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater, have been led to violence due to mental illness. Some legislators believe that giving the public access to better mental health treatment could potentially lower the gun violence rate. Others suggest that more needs to be done to keep deadly weapons out of the hands of people who struggle with mental illness.
More Parenting and Community Education
Another way to potentially curb the gun violence rate is to invest more in community education and give more resources to parents. In many inner-city neighborhoods, children go home to empty houses and have no supervision if parents are stuck working. Instead of letting that unstructured time turn into trouble, some community leaders are working to bring after school programs and other positive enrichment activities to these areas. Giving kids something productive to do after school and on breaks, such as sports, clubs, and community building projects can help lower the risk of them turning to drugs and violence.
Firearm Prohibition Programs for High-Risk Groups
Legislators around the country are also taking action and passing new laws to keep guns out of the hands of people at high-risk for violence. Some people believe that limiting gun access to people in certain groups, such as domestic violence offenders, substance abusers, and individuals under the age of 21, can help prevent tragedies from occurring. States like Maryland have passed legislation supporting this idea. The Maryland Red Flag Law allows people to alert the police to an individual who may be at risk of committing gun violence.
Gun Sensing Technology
Next, innovators are working on technology to help detect guns and keep them out of places where they are prohibited. Metal detectors and x-ray machines are the current standard for security technology that prevents people from bringing guns to public gatherings, courthouses, stadiums, and other big events. Some companies are taking this technology one step further with devices designed to scan and sense if a gun is in the vicinity. In Las Vegas, a weapon-sensing radar machine is being used in casinos like The Westgate Resort.
Comprehensive Background Checks
It’s also important for lawmakers to start taking gun violence seriously and expand background checks for people trying to legally purchase a gun. While most gun dealers are required to run a standard background check before completing a firearm transaction, some guns are purchased outside of the dealer’s regulations. Guns purchased at gun shows or through a private seller don’t need to be assigned a background check, and that presents a problem. In some of these transactions, violence has resulted. Some lawmakers are supporting more background checks to prevent these tragic acts of violence.
Stronger Regulation of Gun Sellers
There is also a campaign to place more responsibility on the shoulders of gun sellers. To be a licensed firearm dealer, it’s required to secure a Federal Firearms License from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. Lawmakers around the nation want to increase the requirements to obtain this dealer license and put more regulation on monitoring the licenses and renewing them. Shady gun dealers are often responsible for sales of guns to criminals.
Banning Certain Types of Guns
Finally, the general public is mostly on board with lawmakers starting to ban certain types of deadly weapons. High-powered assault weapons, bump stocks, high capacity magazines, and other weapons that can kill hundreds in minutes are being brought up for possible banning. There is lots of debate as to whether or not this may help lower the violence rate.
Mass killings of innocent people with guns need to stop. These possible solutions may start becoming a reality to help keep Americans safe from the tragedy of gun violence.