303 Ashe Avenue
Raleigh, NC 27606
October 22, 2016
Dear Next President,
As the President of the United States of America, you are responsible for the laws and you are the one that can introduce new laws. In America, if you turn on the news, a story you are most likely to see is a gun incident, either on purpose or by accident. There are so many ways to use guns that are okay, like self-defense or hunting, but there is the few that have malicious intent. It is a big problem no matter where you go, and it is something we need to fix. There are laws and even a whole division of the FBI called the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) who go through and run background checks, but they are not enough. You as the President, are the only one that can change these problems by making better laws and I want to give you some reasons why you should make new laws for guns.
Of all of America, the worst area I know of would be Chicago, Illinois with their many gangs and drug problems. In Chicago, their gangs kill and their drugs impair the judgment of many. An infographic by Every Town Research reported that just this year they have already had 141 murders and 677 shootings . This is the worst area in America, but it is not the only place we have problems. Every Town Research also reported that in America as it is there are about 12,000 deaths per year because of guns. There are many instances where people with mental illness, drug history, depression, or anger issues have been given guns because they were thought to be okay to have a gun. These people given guns have been known to go and cause mass shootings, for example, Omar Mir Seddique Mateen in an all gay club in Orlando, Florida, which was believed to be an anger or hate crime against gays for ISIS, according to CNN’s report on the shooting. These things are not right and we need to find ways to at least lessen the problem.
We do have measures in place to make the gun accidents go down, for example, we have background checks to find out who can actually own guns. That does not seem to be working because the background checks are for permits or sometimes for buying a gun, but in some cases, you only need photo identification to buy a gun. Just Facts reported on research done by investigators with the Government Accountability Office that if you get a fake ID you can buy a gun with it, and also if you buy it from someone else or a “private citizen” you do not even have to go through a background check (March 22, 2001) . Even for background checks, criminals can have their civil rights restored, some with past drug history, and these people still can legally buy guns, according to Just Facts extensive research (July 27, 2016).
Some guns like military style machine guns are illegal, but the following guns are legal and most of them I think should not be. A BBC News article reported the following guns are legal to own. The AR-15 which is one of some semi-automatic guns that are legal, a .50 caliber rifle which is only banned in two states, the 30-round magazine guns are banned in only 8 states, and 3-D guns with at least 3.7 oz. of metal are all legal to own (8 October 2015) . The laws we have are a good start, but we can do better to work towards a preferable future and safer place for everyone to live in.
I think that we need to rethink what the NICS search for when doing a background check. They look for all types of things, but they do not take into account previous drug history according to Just Facts research. If a person was allowed to possess a gun while on a drug like marijuana, which impairs judgment, they might not think before they went out and possibly used the gun harmfully.
Also, I think that any person wanting to buy a gun should have to go to at least two gun safety classes and always follow the five safety rules by the NRA. These safety rules include: keep the gun pointed away from other people, keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire, keep the gun unloaded until ready to fire, be aware of what’s behind your target, and never use a gun if you have recently ingested alcohol or anything that impairs judgment. I believe that it should be a law that the owner of the gun should keep it locked up in a safe and secure place where only they know where it is. This will cut down on accidental kid shootings, teen/adolescent shootings, and other adults or people stealing the gun to use for the intent of harm. It also gives the people who want to own a gun understand what it really takes to safely use a gun, either for protection or other reasons. In my personal opinion, I know a lot about gun safety from my dad, but most kids don’t so they are more likely to cause severe harm if using a gun. With saying that, I believe that guns in a self-defense sense should always be used as a last resort because there is always the chance that something could go wrong.
The problem President Obama had with the gun laws is that he could not get the Congress to agree with him about the severity of the gun laws. Some agreed but majority rules, the ones that did not agree, didn’t because of the Constitution. The Second Amendment states, "A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a Free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." It says that people have the right to bear Arms, and the people of Congress do not want to change or take away some people's Second Amendment rights. In this case we need to strive towards changing that Amendment to something along the lines of “A strong police force and military are necessary to the security and protect of the Free State, the people have the right to bear arms, if they use them in an unsafe and harmful way to others then that right can be revoked . It will not be granted to those who have been deemed unfit to own by the NICS or have a mental illness where it makes one unsafe to possess such gun.” This way people can all, if they are safe in the first place, have a gun and/or use one and it will only be revoked if they do something wrong. It also covers that the people not allowed to use guns will be determined by the NICS who run the background checks. It is very hard to change an Amendment, but it will be worth it to make our country safer.
I hope you will think about what I have written because nothing can happen on its own; to make a difference you need to take action. Thinking about it, both the candidates have daughters, so what would you want for your own children? Would you prefer for them to live somewhere with fewer shootings and murders or a place where it’s not that hard to acquire a gun to possibly use for harm? Let’s change what’s in the news to something with less violence and more happy stories of people making a difference. It is up to you because you are now in charge of what happens in this country, and it’s up to you to make a difference. Thank you for your consideration and good luck for your term as the new President of America.
Sincerely, Samantha Foust and Ever Anderson
Wake Young Women’s Leadership Academy
Dent, Millie. “21 Unbelievable Facts about Guns in America.” The Fiscal Times, 7 Jan. 2016, www.thefiscaltimes.com/2016/01/07/21-Unbelievable-Facts-About-Guns-America. Accessed 14 Sept. 2016.
EveryTownResearch. “Gun Violence by the Numbers.” EveryTownResearch, everytownresearch.org/gun-violence-by-the-numbers/#America. Accessed 22 Sept. 2016.
“Gun Control.” Just Facts, 1997, www.justfacts.com/guncontrol.asp. Accessed 8 Sept. 2016.
“Gun Laws.” NRA-ILA, Chris W. Cox, www.nraila.org/gun-laws/. Accessed 8 Sept. 2016.
Mascia, Jeniffer. “Students Were Caught with Guns in School at Least 269 Times This Year.” Thetrace.org, 6 July 2016, www.thetrace.org/2016/07/guns-in-schools-2016/. Accessed 14 Sept. 2016.
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“National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).” Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Government, www.fbi.gov/services/cjis/nics. Accessed 14 Sept. 2016.
“Orlando Shooting: 49 Killed, Shooter Pledged ISIS Allegiance.” CNN, 13 June 2016, www.cnn.com/2016/06/12/us/orlando-nightclub-shooting/. Accessed 22 Sept. 2016.
“Quiz: Which Guns Are Banned across the US?” BBC News, 8 Oct. 2015, www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-34450218. Accessed 22 Sept. 2016.