Putting A Stop To Gun Violence Putting a stop to gun violence is important for the lives of Americans to end the problem of using violence to resolve conflict between groups and discrimination.

Glossary

  • Reform: make changes in (something, typically a social, political, or economic institution or practice) in order to improve it.
  • Mental illness: Many people believe that mental illness is the main link to gun violence, so it is important to know that is consists of disorders that affect mood, thinking and behavior in a person.
  • Trafficking: This is important to understanding the concept of gun violence trading illegal guns is a cause to most violence.
  • Background checks: Background checks are used to detect red flags before handing out guns to sellers. It is the process of looking up and compiling criminal records into a system.
  • Violence: Violence is the key word in the topic of gun violence which occurs when a persons behavior involves physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone.
  • 1995 Connecticut Law: This is important to Gun Violence because it requires permits to buyers after successfully passing background checks which declined gun violence but still isn't being used properly as it should be.

What steps have been taken to decline the amount of gun violence?

The government has passed laws including the 1968 Gun Control Act and ensured secured approaches like background checks to try and control the amount of violence that occurs from people with mental illness. Background checks However, these laws and restrictions are not being heavily looked into which could be why gun violence has not been resolved. The law requires background checks but they need to be properly used when guns are being purchased. As stated in the 1968 Gun Control Act, you cannot posses a gun if you have involuntarily been committed to mental health treatment (Ewing). People with mental illness are still being able to purchase these guns because gun dealers are failing to identify the red flags in background checks. However, there has been restrictions on people who have been institutionalized and they don't apply, this also connects to the idea of gun dealers selling illegally to consumers. According to Ken Norton, executive director of the New Hampshire chapter of National Alliance on Mental Illness, suggested a better approach would be to stop dangerous people from buying guns rather than focusing on people with mental illness. For example, unlicensed gun dealers need to be found and stopped to prevent trafficking of guns. Also, Society focuses on people with mental illness buying guns rather than just dangerous people with aggression which would be more threatening in certain cases. These steps have shown progression in the effects of gun violence, however, there should be more in an effort to show a dramatic decline. Background checks should be used in order to protect families and preventing gun violence from becoming a bigger health issue.

Is gun violence a public health issue?

Gun violence is putting many lives in danger and has become an epidemic. According to the American Public Health Association, guns kill almost 30,000 people and cause 60,000 injuries each year (Firger).Since it has become such a problem and dangerous act in our modern day society The American Public Health Association are making more efforts to ensure safety within our communities and our world itself. Rather than just continuing to debate gun reform and the failings of the mental health system, they say the way to stop the cycle is to treat gun violence as a disease and involve health care workers in combatting it. Even though many researchers believe that the way to treat gun violence is to see it in a perspective of disease but congress restricts further research that could aid in the treatment of the crisis and the amount of injuries and death that comes along with it. Overall, public health is concerned with protecting the health of entire populations. Public health is also important to people with mental illness so they can receive the help that they need to keep not only themselves safe but the people around them.

People are protesting for gun violence because it is putting many lives in danger causing conflict between groups.

Is there a connection between mental illness and gun violence?

There is very little evidence to prove that people who are diagnosed with mental illness are closely linked to gun violence. But many researchers suggest an improvement in the background check system to find a better answer. In 2013, New York passed the Safe Act, which mandated that mental-health professionals file reports on patients “likely to engage in conduct that would result in harm to self or others”; those patients, who now number more than thirty-four thousand, have had their guns seized and have been prevented from buying new ones (Konnikova).The link between mental illness and violence suggests more efforts for background screenings and treatments which could reduce the amount of killings that take place. Background screenings are presumed effective to spot dangerous behavior before the purchases of guns however mental health experts suggest that the media influences people to believe there is a strong connection. Another reason why many people think there is such a close connection between mental health and gun violence is the way it is portrayed on popular media sites. Mental health advocates say media reports of mass shootings by disturbed individuals seek public attention and reinforce the impression that severe mental illness leads to violence (Grinberg). The media influences the way the public looks at people with mental illness and how guns are being handled. Although, the connection between mental illness and gun violence has become a topic that people have been questioning, it is not clearly evident that specifically mentally ill has a correlation to the violent behavior. Mental health advocates even suggest that mentally ill people can be the least violent. However, many people question if gun violence is actually a public health issue that needs to be addressed. This is important to why people with mental illness need to be stopped before purchasing guns. Background checks should effectively be used to see the indicators of potential danger.

This picture is supposed to represent the feelings and emotions of mentally ill people.

How effective are background checks?

There's no perfect agreement on how well or effective background-check work. However, there has been research that has shown that it has had some improvement on the amount of gun violence. In one, researchers found that a 1995 Connecticut law requiring gun buyers to get permits which required background checks was associated with a 40 percent decline in gun homicides (Grinberg). But this 40 percent gain only works when they are properly tracked and warnings are detected in the system. If the buyer of the guns name is listed under the disqualifying mental health records, the dealer is supposed to refuse to sale the gun to the customer (Ewing). But, in many cases dealers have failed to notice the indications of danger within the background checks. Background checks have been presumed as effective but dealers have made them seem like they are not important when selling guns. Researchers are further looking into solutions that could help to stop gun violence in America. If background checks are used properly and are taken more seriously then this could lead to decreasing or even potentially stopping random acts of gun violence in America.

What could work to stop gun violence in America?

There have been many solutions that have decreased gun violence by a little but there have not been any that have leaned towards stopping it completely. Therefore, many researchers are investigating different ways that could move this problem in the right path that it deserves. Communicating directly with young men involved in illegal acts and offering both assistance and intense law enforcement attention”(Beckett). Attention from law enforcement is essential to target the certain people who are showing any acts of violent behavior to prevent dangerous situations. Some may say that is stereotyping but it might protect many incidents from happening in the first place by detecting aggressive behavior in many people. "In the 32 states where unlicensed sellers can offer handguns in so-called 'private sales' without background checks, criminals exploit those sales to obtain guns despite being prohibited from owning guns" (“Strategies for Reducing…”). This is why it is important for Americans to block access to these sellers so guns are not being dealt out the wrong people. Gun dealers who are trafficking guns to criminals are feeding into the criminal's schemes. The key solution to preventing the events of gun violence starts with our community and the people who are apart of it. It also includes identifying signs of gun violence in our community. Although stopping gun violence might take some time, it is important to put more attention and thought into what Americans can do.

U.S Senator Tom Kaine speaks out on Gun Violence at the Gun Safety Press Conference.
Created By
Ariyanna Watts
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Created with images by SAED - "the knotted gun sculpture non-violence"

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