Gun control advocates are calling for reforms to the legislation in the wake of the San Bernadino tragedy. While facts are still being ironed out after this week’s tragedy, which saw 14 killed and 17 wounded, one consistency that has continued to be found in any news story surrounding the case is that stronger gun control is needed in the United States.
Members of the Democratic Party, for sure, want to bring forward the argument that stricter gun control laws need to happen. This would seem to be true; in the last 337 days, there have been 355 mass shootings, which boils down to more than one mass shooting yearly, according to NPR. Women account for being the victim in about 50 percent of these mass shooting cases, and it is believed that they account for only 15 percent of gun homicides.
United States president Barack Obama has said that there needs to be stauncher gun control laws in the U.S. as “this just doesn’t happen in other countries,” according to CNN.
This would appear to be true; although there have been tragedies involving mass shootings in places such as Norway and Paris, the sheer volume of mass shootings simply does not occur in other countries the way it does in the United States. According to a report by Adam Lankford, a criminal justice professor at the University of Alabama, the United States had the greatest number of mass shooters over a 46-year period at 90. The Philippines is the next highest on the list at 18. Newsweek reported about Lankford’s findings, published in a report called “Mass Shooters, Firearms, and Social Strains: A Global Analysis of an Exceptionally American Problem,” in mid September 2015.
Small wonder that gun control advocates are clamoring for reforms to the current legislation and that, as leader of the Democrats, President Obama is leading the charge. However, this may not necessarily be a bad thing, as Democratic gun control proposals appear to focus on the sort of violence that is far more common than mass shootings, according to Slate. This can be seen as a source of some relief as it could mean a “band-aid” solution is not on the table.
Bloomberg View‘s Ramesh Ponnuru suggested that gun control in the U.S. will not necessarily lead to the confiscation and abolition of all guns. “Americans have hundreds of millions of guns,” Ponnuru wrote. “We are not going to get rid of them. That’s not because the National Rifle Association or the gunmakers’ lobby or a contested conception of liberty stand in the way. It’s because of the overwhelming opinion of the public — 72 percent oppose a ban on guns — and the practical impossibility of confiscation.”
Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Martin O’Malley have proposed tougher gun control laws as part of their presidential platforms, and while Bernie Sanders has not stepped forward with his gun control proposal, it is expected that his proposal will cleave pretty closely to those proposed by Clinton and O’Malley. Clinton has suggested that “straw purchasing” – purchases of guns made by those who know they will not pass the vetting process – will become a federal crime as part of her proposal, and she has also suggested that those who are deemed to be mentally ill will have their access to gun purchases limited.
O’Malley has suggested, as part of his gun control policy, that fingerprint licensing be used in addition to safety training being offered with each gun purchase. In addition, he wants to implement a national firearms registry and restrict gun ownership for those with any sort of domestic violence in their history.
However, it is important to remember that not all gun violence occurs with guns that have been illegally obtained. While it would be quite easy to blame criminals for all gun violence, gun control advocates need to remember that mass shootings such as the one that just occurred in San Bernadino can still happen.
[Feature Photo by David McNew/Getty Images]