Gun Control: Will Raising The Age of Firearm Sales Stop The Killings?
I don’t like politics. I hate talking about it. I feel all politicians are just in it for the money and they don’t care about the country. But, gun control affects all of us. I am for the Second Amendment, “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.” Now, I don’t own a gun or use a gun, but I do support it. I don’t blame guns for the actions of people. I do believe in people killing people, no matter what their chosen weapon is.
On March 14, 2018, students across the United States of America walked out of school at 10 a.m., their local time, for 17 minutes. The 17 minutes was for each person who was killed at the Parkland, Florida high school shooting. CNN reported, “More than 2,500 walkouts were planned.” In my hometown of Taylorville, Illinois, 156 students participated in the walkout.
What does all this mean? The students are wanting stricter gun control. With many places raising the age limit to 21 years of age, they may get their wish. Per Giffords Law Center, (subject to change as time goes by), Federal Law for a licensed firearms dealer for the sale of handguns, “Dealers may not sell or deliver a handgun or ammunition for a handgun to any person the dealer has reasonable cause to believe is under age 21. Dealing with Long Guns (Rifle and Shotguns), “Dealers may not sell or deliver a long gun, or ammunition for a long gun, to any person the dealer knows or has reasonable cause to believe is under age 18.” unlicensed persons, dealing with handguns, “Unlicensed persons may not sell, deliver or otherwise transfer a handgun or handgun ammunition to any person the transferor knows or has reasonable cause to believe is under age 18, with certain exceptions (Federal law provides exceptions for the temporary transfer and possession of handguns and handgun ammunition for specified activities, including employment, ranching, farming, target practice and hunting). Dealing with long guns (rifles and shotguns), “Unlicensed persons may sell, deliver, or otherwise transfer a long gun or long gun ammunition to a person of any age.”
Though Federal Law has their age limits, the states are adding stricter minimum age requirements with 21 being the minimum age. Per Giffords Law Center, New York City has a law, “no person under age 21 may be granted a permit or license to purchase, possess or carry any firearm, with certain exceptions. It is also unlawful to transfer a firearm to any person under age 21 unless he or she is exempted. A person under 21 may carry, fire or use a rifle or shotgun without being subject to the permit requirement if he or she is in the presence of, or under the direct supervision of, a permit holder, or engaged in a military drill, competition, or target practice at a firing range.” Per National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, CDC, number of firearm deaths (and rates per 100,000), the number of deaths in 2016, in New York, out of the population of 19,745,289, there were 900 firearm deaths. In 2015, out of the population of 19,747,183, there were 849 firearm deaths. Those are what was reported, who knows how many are not reported, and yet to be discovered.
I am for raising the age for firearms sales, ALL FIREARMS SALES. With exception to gun ranges and hunting (with a RESPONSIBLE LICENSED ADULT present). And for those whose jobs, like the military, or police academy. Why? People are living longer, which means the children of today can be children longer. No more of being married at 12 years old like in the 1500s. No more teenagers being teachers, like in the 1700s up to the early 1900s. Kids get to be kids longer, instead of adults at age 12 or 13. But, will raising the age of firearm sales stop the killings? I doubt it.
But, will raising the age of firearm sales stop the killings? I doubt it.
Is the U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Department of Education, Safe School Initiative, working? If we still have school massacres, no it is not working. But, for it to work, we as a society need to make it work. Wait, never heard of Safe School Initiative?
The Safe School Initiative is a study that the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Department of Education did of 37 incidents of school violence from December 1974 through May 2000. The idea is to use a threat assessment to prevent school shootings. They are using 1974 as a start date due to it being the earliest case they were able to identify. But reports of school shootings date back to 1840 when Joseph Semmes shot a teacher, John Davis. They used attackers who are boys in their study. The report stated, “Although all of the attackers in this study were boys, there is no set of traits that described all–or even most–of the attackers. Instead, they varied considerably in demographic, background, and other characteristics” (page, 19).
- Attackers ranged in age from 11 to 21, with most attackers between the ages of 13 and 18 at the time of the attack
- 76 percent of the attackers where white.
- 63 percent of the attackers came from two-parent homes. With 44 percent living with both biological parents and 19 percent living with one biological parent.
- 41 percent of the attackers were getting good grades, A’s and B’s.
- 47 percent of the attackers socialized with mainstream students or were mainstream students.
- 44 percent of the attackers were involved in organized social activities.
- 63 percent of the attackers had never been in trouble or were rarely in trouble.
- 17 percent of the attackers were diagnosed with a mental health or behavior disorder before the attack.
- 71 percent of the attackers felt they were bullied, persecuted, threatened, someone attacked them or injured by someone before the incident. “In several cases, individual attackers had experienced bullying and harassment that was long-standing and severe. In some of these cases, the experience of being bullied seemed to have a significant impact on the attacker and appeared to have been a factor in his decision to mount an attack at the school. In one case, most of the attacker’s schoolmates described the attacker as “the kid everyone teased.” In witness statements from that incident, schoolmates alleged that nearly every child in the school had at some point thrown the attacker against a locker, tripped him in the hall, held his head underwater in the pool, or thrown things at him. Several schoolmates had noted that the attacker seemed more annoyed by, and less tolerant of, the teasing than usual in the days preceding the attack” (page, 21).
Their Key Findings:
- The attacker did not “snap.”
- Someone(s) knew what the attacker was planning. Usually another child.
- The attackers did not threaten anyone.
- The attackers show some change in behavior, before the incident. But not sufficient enough to cause an alarm.
- Attackers have problems coping with loss or personal failures.
- Most of the attackers have thought about suicide.
I think this study needs to be updated. What do you think? But, I can see what they are talking about. Can you?
We need to look at the reason why these shootings are taking place. We need to get to the root of the problem, and it is not firearms, it is society. I know, here comes the “victim blaming” comments, but it is true.
We need to get to the root of the problem, and it is not firearms, it is society.
Society ignored Nikolas Cruz. From the students who went to school with him to teachers who taught him. From the FBI, who knew months in advance, to those who knew him on social media. Per Fox News, his therapist was given warning signs. Before his mother passed away, she knew something was wrong with her son.
With the Columbine school shooting, per Washington Post, Sue Klebold said about her son, Dylan, “we simply — and drastically and lethally — underestimated the depth and severity of his pain and everything he was capable of doing to make it stop… Dylan did show outward signals of depression. . . If we had known enough to understand what those signs meant, I believe that we would have been able to prevent Columbine.” Per The New York Times, the Klebold filed an “intent to sue” against the Jefferson County Sheriff’s office due to them being alerted in 1998 of Eric Harris threatening to kill another student. They felt if the sheriff’s department followed through on Randy and Judy’s Brown report, the Columbine shooting would not have happened.
But, will raising the age and more gun control stop the shootings? Maybe not.
In 1927 the deadliest school massacre in U.S. history did not use a gun, but a bomb, The Bath School bombing in Michigan. On May 18, the north wing of the school exploded. A member of the school board and local farmer, Andrew Kehoe was to blame. He used 1,000 pounds of dynamite in the basement of the school building. Not all the dynamite was detonated, those in the south wing failed. Blowing up the school was not enough for him. He stocked piled his truck with dynamite and shrapnel. He pulled up close to the superintendent, and others, including himself. He used his rifle to cause the dynamite to explode, killing everyone around it. Before he left his farm, he set fire to his home, killing his family and animals. He left a sign on his fence, “Criminals are made, not born.” 44 people died, 38 of those people were students.
Were there signs leading up to the massacre? Yes, there were. He received a forecloser notice on his farm, which could have been the trigger. He also had two head injuries, which can hinder brain function. Before the bombing, he killed his neighbor’s dog and beat his horse to death, which was unusual for him.
But, will raising the age and more gun control stop the shootings? Maybe. It may stop “shootings,” but not the school massacres. If someone(s) wants to kill someone(s), they will find a way. We need to stop blaming inanimate objects for the killings and focus on the root of the problems. Why are these shootings happening? Is it mental health, is it bullying, or is it something else? It is up to us, society, to help find the root of the problems and deal with it then before it is too late. It is our actions towards one another the will help stop the killings. It is not gun control we need, but common sense to return to society and take responsibility for our own actions.