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Essay: Gun Control Regulation in USA: Reduces Number of Gun Murders in Half

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  • Published: 1 January 2021*
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The history surrounding the gun violent is not a recent issue, but it has been last long time already until the debate to enact the effective measure finally appears to be brought up to the Congress. William J Vizzard, the Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at California State Univerisity, Sacramento, claims that, “A second effort in the wake of the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King produced the Gun Control Act of 1968, which largely remains the primary federal law.” The unforgiven murder of civil rights activists who fights for the equal rights and treatments for all races and colors of Americans in 1968 has shifted its position to bring a significant and initial change regarding the gun violent. The Gun Control Act drafted and immediately passed after the assassinations of prominent activists which has served its purpose to end the gun violence remains actively used until the Brady Handgun Violence Act, or Brady Act was passed during the Clinton’s administration.  Professor Kevin D. Cole of the University of Nebraska points out that, “In 1993, Congress passed the Brady Handgun Violence Act, establishing the National Instant Criminal Background Check System that gun dealers are to use before selling a gun.” The information provided by the system is significantly used to assist the federal and states’ government to determine the parties involved in gun transaction. The governments finally play the important role in making a decision on whether or not the transaction should be processed or denied based on the individuals’ background information who wish to own a gun.

The effective of Brady Handgun Violence Act on reducing the significant number of guns has been surprisingly released to the public, and it brings down the gun possession to the amount where States’ governments manage to take control. States News Service, as a result, reports that, “As of today, Brady background checks have prevented the sale of more than 3 million guns to dangerous people.” The result is overwhelmingly positive that the prevention to gun possession which might fall in a wrong hand if there is not background checking system. Furthermore, it also provides information as a database to either federal government or states’ governments to track down the number of gun possession which individuals have as it is one part of the necessarily considered information. According to Pearl Stephanie E, an associate in the Litigation Department of the Washington, D.C. office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, stated that, “The entire [National Instant Criminal Background Checking System] process generally takes place within minutes, and often within seconds.” The system does not require long period of time to check the background of individuals, and the status of application will result in three categories either it is approved, denied or even delayed. In the circumstances which requires further information, the result will be delayed, and it will take three business days. Pearl, however, illustrates that, “If the [Federal Firearms Licensee] does not receive sufficient information from the FBI to make a decision within three business days of initiating the background check, the Brady Act gives the FFL the option of deciding whether or not to transfer the firearm, subject to any state-law limitations.” The Brady Act clearly sets out the specific time to determine the status of application, so it will not affect the guns industry.

Thanks to the regulation of background check system, the significant decrease of gun violent has been seen as a positive result and also bring a change to the perspective of gun possession. Dr. Olusola O Karimu, confirms that, “… rate of murder per 100,000 of the population has been decreasing since 1993 murder victims from fire arms continue to be significant.” (see Table 1) This result contributes to the reduction of gun possession and the high-risk individuals of those who either commit a crime or felony resulting in prohibiting from using the firearms. The thirteen years of enacting the Brady Act into effect reduced the number of gun violence across the nation in half, and it has been continuously decreasing. As a nation where gun is accessible, this law has made it full potential as a tool to bring down the horrific and unexpected event. Similarly, the Connecticut Senator Christopher Scott Murphy acknowledges that, “This bill wasn't easy to pass, and it took a long time to do it, but the benefits it produced were well worth the wait.” The six-year hardworking process through thick-and-bone to bring the Brady Act into effective in 1993 is the success brought upon the blessing of liberty to provide a peace and prosperity to the society. The Brady Act was a controversial debate in Congress because of the pro-gun activists. They raised up the issue of violating the second amendment of the Federal Constitution as the individuals’ rights. Finally, the Brady Act was passed the Congress, and signed by the former President Bill Clinton. This law was considered as the triumphant to the gun activists who participated in voicing their concerns on social issue. The advantages of this bill are undeniable and should not be looked………Table 1. This table shows the estimated murder rates and firearms between 1993 to 2011, provided by state agencies to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The public safety is the top priority to the nation interest. Hence, the government has to guarantee that there shall be an upper-hand procedure to manage the number of gun transaction in place before it goes out of hand. In fact, certain state governments have adopted the stricter gun control which they believe it will add the efficiency on the background check system the federal government as well as the Congress has passed and executed more than 20 years. The result is witnessed by people regarding the necessity to perform the checking system in a way that all state governments will benefit from screening the potential criminals and felonies from gun purchase. The experience which shall be deemed as the regretful of misunderstanding the concept of the system contributes to the disastrous moment. Chatham University Professor Paolo G Corsor insists that, “Following a mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub in June of 2016, which was perpetrated by an individual recently removed from the Terrorist Watchlist, the Senate proposed two gun control measures specifically aimed at preventing individuals on the Terrorist Watchlist from purchasing firearms.” The background checking has already provided the images to disarm the potential threat, but the failure to prevent the public safety laid in the hand of those in duties. The tragical Orlando nightclub event offers a bitter experience to give a serious thought on the information provided by the background checking system. The idea of disarming individuals who are considered as danger is put on the table by the Senate, and it shall be done earlier because the system has already proved its effectiveness and efficiency on the issue. Meanwhile, mass shootings and gun violence in the United States have happened for a long period of time since the civil rights movement in 1960s.

The background checking system shall be recognized as a serious plan to lay out the map to ensure such events will not happen again. Leonard Robert, the author of the New York Times newspaper and also the news director for the radio stations KNIA and KRLS, endorses the idea of preventing individuals on the watchlist from purchasing the guns, and quotes that, “[Police-officer friend] believes that better background checks might help prevent some gun violence, and that people need to do a better job security their firearms (especially from suicidal teenagers).” This newspapers article was written when Leonard visited Texas, a red state considering guns as parts of their daily lives activities. The belief to disarm individuals based on their background is welcomed partly despite the fully cooperated requirement to meet the standard needs shall be taken into accounts. However, it will not be as easy as the other states when guns have been deemed deeply as the culture of Texas’s people for such a long period of time.  Another example of the necessity why the background checking system should not be overlooked is regarding the Sutherland Springs and Parkland disastrous mass shootings. Texas Representative John Culberson admits that, “Had existing law been enforced, the horrific tragedies in Sutherland Springs and Parkland would have never occurred.” In other word, this highlights an effective measure which is already introduced, but the failure to comply with the existing law gives criminals a chance to commit serious mass shootings which are not supposed to happen. Representative Culberson’s point of view on the Brady Act has been changed after admitting the necessity of Texas to comply with the existing law in order to prevent the unexpected event like in Sutherland Springs and Parkland.

On the other hand, some critics argue that the Brady Act or simply called background checking system does not contribute any result in the decline of neither gun violent or mass shootings, the system only takes off the people’s rights to possess the gun as guaranteed by the second amendment to individual’s rights. In the Supreme Court case, District of Columbia v. Heller, Adjunct Professor David B. Kopel notes that “…Heller is very clear that the individual right to keep and bear arms does not require any militia or military nexus for either the individual or the arm.” The word “militia” has been on debate for long time even though the Supreme Court is crystal clear to define the term incorporated to the whole second amendment as individual’s rights which does not require to have anything related to the military or warfare. However, the prominent author Vivan S. Chu also reports that, “… the Court stated that “[l]ike most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited.” In other word, it means the rights to bear arm as guaranteed by the second amendment of the Constitution is also subject to the background checking system on those who wish to equip themselves with the weapons because it is not an absolute right to possess the firearms, especially those people who have the criminal records or are on the Watchlist considered as a threat to the national defense and security.

On other one hand, some critics argue on the certain circumstances which even the Brady Law falls to act effectively. Jason Hanna and Holly Yan, digital journalist and reporters at CNN, report that, “At one point, the shooter tried to get a license to carry a gun in Texas but was denied by the state, Abbott said, citing the director of Texas' Department of Public Safety.” The perpetrator of the Sutherland Springs church shooting once was already denied based on the background checking system; however, the question is how the perpetrator got his hand on the gun. It is the Texas State’s government to investigate this illegally transaction which indicates that there shall be either black market or illegal smuggling of firearms. The Brady Act has already executed its duty to provide solid information to disapprove the gun transaction application from the perpetrator. Hence, to prevent the repeating horrific and unexpected event like the Sutherland Spring church, the thorough investigation on unknown transaction shall be begun to track down the origin of the tragedy.

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