It’s Time for America to Pass Universal Background Checks: An Op-Ed

Patrick Kissel, Reporter

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Throughout the United States, there have been multiple mass shootings over the past week. One shooting occurred in West Chester, Ohio with four killed. Another occurred at the Poway synagogue with another dead, and at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte with two dead.

Coming out of these shootings are stories of heroism in the face of the shooters, as everyday people save the lives of their peers, and in some cases at the cost of their own. This was demonstrated by student Riley Howell, who was shot and killed after the gunman entered his classroom, knocking the gunman off his feet which saved lives, according to CNN. These stories are great, but America should also be asking itself why. Why are students being put into a situation where they must give their lives, or put their lives in extreme danger in order to save their peers? Why are people being shot in their places of worship? What can be done to stop it?

One way to stop mass shootings are universal background checks. During these shootings, a vast majority of the guns are purchased legally. While these background checks may not stop every potential shooter from acquiring a gun, it would stop a significant number, especially those with a criminal record. Further, while these would not stop every shooting if they can stop one shooting it is worth it. If background checks can save one life then it is worthwhile.

While buffing up security could be an option, all that this would do is jeopardize the lives of those serving as the security, and create a more negative image of these places. Furthermore, this increased security would not be able to be implemented at every place that a shooting could occur at. It’s simply impractical. It is far more practical to deal with the main issue, to attack the base of the flame, and the base of the flame is guns.

America should not take away everyone’s weapons, but America needs to restrict just who has access to such deadly tools to prevent another mass shooting, and the easiest way to do this, and the most productive way to do this is with background checks. In cities with mandatory background checks, the crime rate dropped, showing their effectiveness. It’s time for America to stop ignoring its citizens, politicians, moviegoers and students and start protecting them from mass shootings occurring nearly every day. It’s time for America to pass universal background checks.