The United States have one of the most liberal gun control policies in the world. Due to this, mass shootings have become common and school shootings are almost exclusively associated with the US in the public mind. There are many measures and restrictions that the US government can imply to overcome the gun problem in the country but there is a high chance they will face public outrage by doing so. The first step to taking control over the issue may be keeping guns away from teenagers and young adults for as long as possible.
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Teenagers in the US have access to guns at an early age, considering the number of shootings done by minors. In most cases of unintentional firearm deaths among children the shooter is also a child, which means there is much work to be done in regard to gun control (Hemenway and Solnick 6). Even if the shooters did not acquire the gun for assault legally, it is not uncommon that teenagers use the firearms their parents possess before buying their own. Speaking about legal age, people in the USA are allowed to purchase some firearms from the age of 18, which is lower than the drinking age in the country (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives). This is probably due to the fact from the age of 18 people can join the army, so increasing the legal age for gun possession would probably affect military laws.
Another way of keeping people away from guns while they are still young is to ban passing purchased weapons to a third party. The background check is only done for the person who buys a weapon and whether the person who is being gifted is responsible enough is up for the buyer to decide. Aside from this, weapons can be gifted to minors, which, while they cannot carry them until they reach a certain age, still sets a bad example, and can lead to romanticization of gun possession. What is more, having a weapon has an effect on a person’s psyche, whether it is the feeling of safety or power. The latter can lead a minor to pursue violence, as teenagers tend to be more impressionable than adults.
Minors also should not see guns on everyday basis and get used to its look. For example, Walmart has weapons on display in regular stores and they did not remove them even after facing public outrage (Bhattarai). Minimizing the visual representation of guns in civil spaces can change the attitude towards them. The officials should also make some regulations concerning adults who have children. Parents who own weapons should do their best to conceal firearms from their kids and follow the rules for storing them. The so-called social gun culture – being pressured into purchasing a gun – forces adults who face it buy firearms later in life (Kalesan et al. 218). Thus, to decrease the risks connected with gun ownership and use, the society should stop normalizing the social gun culture.
Preventing children, teenagers, and some young adults from being exposed to guns and gun violence in their everyday life is important, because it is a prophylactic measure. By doing this, the politicians would solve the problem before it occurs. It is hard to change an adult’s opinion on something they have lived with for years. However, by forming a cautious and responsible attitude towards firearms in younger generations, the society can minimize the risk of gun violence.
Bhattarai, Abha. “Walmart backtracks, begins putting guns back in stores.’ Washington Post, 2020. Web.
Hemenway, David and Sara Solnick. “Children and Unintentional Firearm Death.” Injury Epidemiology, vol. 2, no. 26, 2015, pp. 1–6. Web.
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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. “May an individual between the ages of 18 and 21 years of age acquire a handgun from an unlicensed individual who is also a resident of that same state? 2020. Web.
Kalesan, Bindu et al. “Gun Ownership and Social Gun Culture.” Injury Prevention, vol. 22, no. 3, 2016, pp. 216–220.