Why No Major Push for Gun Safety Legislation in US?

In 2020, there were more than 45,000 gun deaths in the United States — the highest number on record, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Last year, there were nearly 700 mass shootings in America — the highest number ever recorded by the Gun Violence Archive — and yet there was no major push for gun legislation.

The latest Uvalde shooting is just another horrendous episode of gun violence showing the numbness and inactiveness on the part of legislative quarters.

A student who survived the Uvalde school shooting by covering herself in a classmate’s blood has told the US Congress of the moment her teacher was killed during the massacre. Apart from physical death and tragedy such incidents leave a huge psychological impact on the mentality of young generation. The cost of education is high but it shouldn’t be so much so that it takes one’s soul apart from the body.

The preservation of gun culture is embedded in the spirit of US Constitution itself.  The Second Amendment in the US Constitution protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense. We can’t agree more to the words of Mari Matsuda – an early developer of critical race theory. She said: “The problem is not bad people, the problem is a system that reproduces bad outcomes.” So the problem of firearms possession is a problem within the system and constitution allows it so that it’s belligerent and lethal consequences hits the headlines time and again.

The 2021 U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to leave in place a Texas law banning most abortions has opened the door for states to seek to restrict other rights including guns by copying the measure’s novel enforcement mechanism. The Republican-backed Texas law takes enforcement away from state officials, instead empowering private citizens to sue anyone who performs or assists a woman in obtaining an abortion after embryo cardiac activity is detected – at about six weeks of pregnancy – with awards of at least $10,000 for successful lawsuits.

A brief histical insight of abortion laws would help understand understand the rationality behind the prolonged debate.

Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), was a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court ruled that the Constitution of the United States protects a pregnant woman’s liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction. The decision struck down many U.S. federal and state abortion laws.

Court also ruled that this right is not absolute and must be balanced against governments’ interests in protecting women’s health and prenatal life. The Court resolved this balancing test by tying state regulation of abortion to the three trimesters of pregnancy: during the first trimester, governments could not prohibit abortions at all; during the second trimester, governments could require reasonable health regulations; during the third trimester, abortions could be prohibited entirely so long as the laws contained exceptions for cases when they were necessary to save the life or health of the mother.

To cut it short, the moot point of discussion is that US gun laws should be amended on the pattern of Texas abortion laws. Those who’re concerned about the life and safety of fetus must also care about those who’re already born and must do endeavors to amend the pessimistic gun laws in the US.

If countries like Australia, New Zealand, Britain can resolve the gun violence issues then why not USA? These countries have sufficiently done away with firearms culture via legal forums. For that purpose, the example of Australia to help resist gun violence can be helpful.

Between October 1996 and September 1997, Australia responded to its own gun violence problem with a solution that was both straightforward and severe: It collected roughly 650,000 privately held guns. It was one of the largest mandatory gun buyback programs in recent history.

On April 28, 1996, a 28-year-old man with a troubled past named Martin Bryant walked into a cafe in Port Arthur killed 35 people and wounded another 28.

Australia’s prime minister at the time, John Howard, responded to the massacre via legal forums. He persuaded both his coalition and Australia’s states to agree to a sweeping, nationwide reform of gun laws. The so-called National Firearms Agreement (NFA), drafted the month after the shooting, sharply restricted legal ownership of firearms in Australia.

It also established a registry of all guns owned in the country, among other measures, and required a permit for all new firearm purchases. One of the most significant provisions of the NFA was a flat-out ban on certain kinds of guns, such as automatic and semi-automatic rifles and shotguns. 

Moreover, the country introduced a mandatory buyback: Australia’s states would take away all guns that had just been declared illegal.

In exchange, they’d pay the guns’ owners a fair price, set by a national committee using market value as a benchmark, to compensate for the loss of their property. The NFA also offered legal amnesty for anyone who handed in illegally owned guns, though they weren’t compensated.

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