The recent debate over gun control in the United States has stirred extreme feelings on both sides of the issue. There are those so in favor of gun control that they would like to see a ban on all weapons, while some gun enthusiasts want nothing more than to see looser regulations controlling ownership of firearms. Neither side is likely to walk away from negotiations completely satisfied, but they must come to an agreement for the benefit of the nation they serve. These are five reasonable compromises to reforming America’s gun laws.
Requiring waiting periods between the day a person buys a gun and takes it home is a controversial mandate. The argument for it is that it gives anyone buying a firearm to commit a “crime of passion” time to calm down. Gun rights advocates, however, claim that it imposes needless hindrances to those buying for self defense and will not stop someone truly bent on murder. In light of these criticisms, most politicians have cooled on waiting periods in search of less polarizing positions.
Stricter Background Checks
A common saying from gun advocates is that guns don’t kill people; people do. Supporters of higher regulation retort that guns are the most effective killing tool available. For both groups, it seems to be common consensus that the main trouble lies in putting a dangerous weapon into a potential criminal’s hands. With that in mind, several of President Obama’s 23 executive orders focus on the background check system currently in place while buying from a licensed gun dealer. Under the new rules, federal agencies and states will have greater incentives to provide all relevant information.
Better Mental Health Coverage
The majority of gun owners are peaceful, law-abiding citizens who own firearms for sport and self defense. If the government is not going to restrict access to certain guns, it must begin to research the deviant individuals who use their weapons to harm innocents. Every time a mass shooting occurs, there always seems to have been plenty of warning signs in hindsight. A stronger mental health system, including more options for concerned parents, may go a long way toward reducing violence. At the same time, when most shootings are not the result of a psychological condition, it is important that Americans avoid stereotypes and stigmatization.
Tougher Penalties for Straw-Gun Purchases
A straw-gun purchase occurs when a person legally able to buy a firearm does so for another who is not. It is the fastest way to work around a criminal history, and it is how almost 10 percent of illegally obtained guns fall into criminal hands. Currently, anyone caught lying about a gun’s intended owner faces large fees and years in jail, but often only after the second offense. Immediate punishment and more thorough enforcement can help to keep guns in the possession of those who are legally able to own them.
Background Checks for Private Sales
The “gun show loophole” has been a major point of contention in the latest round of debate. The name is not entirely accurate, as it actually refers to the practice of selling guns privately, which does not require a background check in many states. The concern is that a person who knows he or she will not be able to buy a gun from a dealer can simply buy from an individual in mass gatherings such as gun shows and gain access to a weapon that way. Some states, like Pennsylvania, already treat private sales like any other, but a national standard may appease many lobbying for tighter gun control.
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Gunsmith Robert Farley views firearms as a craft, as his specialty is restoring antique guns and creating replicas of famous or historical pistols and rifles. He also contributes to BecomeGunsmith.org for other firearm enthusiasts who may be interested in learning this art form.