233 Mass Shootings in 152 Days of 2022, why Guns are so easy to Get in the USA
#USA, June 6, 2022 – A mass shooting as described by the Gun Violence Archive a non-profit organization as “has a minimum of four victims shot, either injured or killed, not including any shooter who may also have been killed or injured in the incident.” The US has had 233 of them in the first 152 days of 2022.
But how easy is it really to purchase a gun in America? In order to establish that, we’d have to go back to 1968.
The United States had moved past the assassination of John F Kennedy 5 years prior, Lyndon B Johnson was President and Martin Luther King Jr. was in the prime of his life.
About 6 am on April 4th as he stood on the second floor balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis Tennessee a sniper’s bullet took him in the neck. Shock and outrage poured out from people around the world at another towering figure taken down by a gun.
Two months later to the day, Robert F Kennedy was shot in the chest just hours after winning the California and South Dakota primary elections. Prior to 1968 you could order a gun on the mail but outrage from these shootings sparked the creation of the Gun Control Act (GCA) of 1968 which created the first federal framework to investigate and prosecute firearms crimes.
The GCA required people who dealt firearms to obtain a federal license and prohibited transfers of those firearms to certain persons and regulated the importation of firearms not suitable for sporting purposes.
This law kept guns out of the hands of felons, fugitives “drug addicts”, mental patients, persons dishonorably discharged from the army, illegal aliens, persons convicted of domestic violence and anyone under the age of 18.
The GCA did not include provisions for a firearm registry or licensing requirements for gun owners. At most it prevented licensed firearms dealers from selling to children and the other persons listed above and only licensed firearm dealers could be arrested for breaking those rules. In terms of banning certain types of weapons the GCA says Under the Act, all imported firearms must be “generally recognized as particularly suitable for sporting purposes”.
At the time, 53 years ago, Time magazine printed: “It may take another act of horror to push really effective gun curbs through Congress.”
A very important thing that the GCA did though was control the flow of firearms, by prohibiting the transport and shipment of guns over state lines.
By 1986 that particular aspect of the GCA was repealed by a new law.
The Firearms Owners Protection Act, the purpose of which was to make sure that the GCA “did not place any undue or unnecessary federal restrictions or burdens on law abiding citizens.” It is an ideology that took root in America and continues to shape the discussion about gun laws until today.
While it outlawed machine guns for civilian use and punished everyone who sold firearms to prohibited persons, the FOPA seriously slackened the controls on gun purchase and distribution.
The FOPA not only allowed persons to sell guns away from their state of residence, it prohibited the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF) from centralizing or computerizing firearms purchasing records, it permitted the sale of ammunition without a license, it allowed convicted felons to get firearms and reduced criminal penalties for recordkeeping offenses committed by licensed firearm dealers from a felony to a misdemeanor.
These changes widened the pool of who could get their hands on a firearm and narrowed the options of the ATF on how to track and regulate gun sales. It took the heat off of the gun making industry by removing/lessening the federal laws that could punish gun distributors for certain sales.
Some ground was made up in 1994 with the introduction of laws that required background checks on customers for handguns which helped keep guns out of the hands of felons and required License gun dealers to submit photographs and fingerprints and certified that their businesses complied with all state and local laws.
In the early 1990s schools were designated gun free zones in response to several school shootings and Congress made it illegal to transfer handguns to juveniles or for anyone to have handguns near a school.
The Youth Handgun Safety Act which put this into law does not apply to long guns. No federal law press prohibits the position of long guns or assault rifles by juveniles, it is not unlawful for an unlicensed individual to give a long gun to a child.
It is unlawful to own, manufacture or transfer semi-automatic assault weapons in the US. But what counts as a semi-automatic assault weapon in law? To qualify under law a gun must have three things to be banned: a detachable ammunition magazine, which allows for clips with hundreds of rounds, a flash suppressor and folding stock. But many guns evade this category by having only one or two of these characteristics. Gun makers who make assault rifles that fit all three categories can remove one and rebrand it as a different weapon, which is then totally legal, and available to most people over 18 years old.
For context the guns used in the Columbine High School massacre in 1999 were legal by this definition, so was the gun used in the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, and the gun used in the Buffalo supermarket shooting and the gun used in the Uvalde shooting.
Stricter gun control laws are proven to work in countries worldwide while US lawmakers argue over the issue, there has been a consistent increase in mass shootings since 2014. In 2014 in total there were 269 and 2022 seems on par to eclipse that number
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