Jacob T. Michigan

Gun Violence

Important facts regarding gun violence in the US and proposed solutions

Dear Future President,

It is with much concern that I ask that there be some reform with our gun laws in this country. Gun violence recently has become way too common a topic that plagues news stations and social media. Everyday approximately 306 people are shot, with almost 100 dying. In a whole year this adds up to almost 112,000 shootings a year whether they be accidental, homicide, suicide, etc. Evidently, these numbers are too large to overlook, and it is time for something to be done, but proponents of gun rights claim the constitutional right to own a gun. This is problematic because the Constitution was written almost 250 years ago in a time where citizens had to protect themselves from the government, so it may be a little outdated. Nowadays, obtaining a gun is pretty easy for anyone, even those with past criminal records and a history of mental illness. This seems completely unjustifiable due to the fact that these people have a much higher chance of actually firing their weapon and injuring someone.

Dylann Roof, made infamous for the shooting of nine African Americans in a church in Charleston, South Carolina in July of 2015, was able to obtain a gun legally even though he had been arrested for drug possession earlier in the same year. He was required to have a background check to purchase the gun, but somehow he passed. The question that arises to most in this situation is how can someone who was arrested legally obtain a gun with such ease? Well in our society today when a background check takes longer than three days, the seller of the gun can go ahead and make the sale. The seller doesn’t even need to report this sale to the FBI which seems ludicrous because this is the sale of a deadly weapon. Stemming off that, let’s say the FBI decides after these three days that the person does not qualify for their gun, they must notify the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or known as the ATF, to retrieve the gun. Interesting enough, these retrievals are very rare, leaving somewhat unqualified people with a gun at their disposal. This is undoubtedly problematic because people who should not be able to obtain a gun seem to have a found a loophole and this is how Dylann Roof was able to get a gun and murder nine innocent people.

This process is clearly flawed and does not sit well with me because of how ambiguous background checks are these days. Currently denials are too rare, so a solution to combat this could be extending background checks to social media pages to catch those who send hate messages. Also, lowering the bar for the denial of a firearm to a person with a history of mental illness would lower the general risk of violence. Most states use only the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or the NICS, instead of also doing their own checks which leads to less and less denials of purchased weapons. It appears our society is almost encouraging criminals and the mentally ill to buy guns due to our inability to take action and that needs to change. This country needs to lessen the capabilities of one person and the amount of harm they can inflict on others because ultimately no one person should have that much power in their hands. I know and hope you can do something to get rid of this horrible problem.


Jacob Tomlinson

Oakland Writing Project (Michigan) - CASA

CASA - AP Lang

9th-12th grade students who come from 3 different schools.

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