Claire Douglas, journalist
The Second Amendment, the right to bear arms, was ratified in 1791. In the present day, a shopper can able to click a checkout button online and have a gun delivered in a matter of days. With such easy gun access and a problematic background check system, America saw 611 mass shootings in 2020, with a total of 43,224 gun-related deaths. Simply put, in 2020,, there were more mass shootings than there are days in a year. President-elect Joe Biden, who will be be sworn in on January 20th, 2021, has a plan to “get weapons of war off our streets.”
The current background checks one must undergo before purchasing a gun have a few critical loopholes, allowing unfit buyers such as Dylann Roof to obtain guns. Dylann Roof had confessed to drug possession, making him unable to own a gun, and yet he went on to buy one via a legal seller., This gun was then used to kill nine African American churchgoers in 2015 at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. The loophole that allowed Roof to purchase a gun involves a three business-day waiting period, during which the FBI must do a background check on a gun buyer. Once the three-day period expires, the seller is able to legally sell the gun, even if the background check on the consumer has not been completed. In 2018, the “Charleston Loophole” resulted in 276,000 unfulfilled background checks. Later, the FBI uncovered that at least 3,960 weapons ended up in the hands of buyers who were not fit to own a gun.
President-elect Joe Biden detailed ways in which he believes gun violence can be limited in his public proposal on the issue. In his plan, Biden recognizes the effectiveness of background checks, as well as many of the loopholes. One of the loopholes he plans to close is the aforementioned Charleston Loophole. Biden will do this by extending the amount of time the FBI has to complete a background check from three business days to ten. Furthermore, he states that within his first 100 days in office, he will request a report containing all background checks that have not been fulfilled in the ten day period. Additionally, he will work with the federal government in developing ways to help limit and prevent this occurrence as much as possible. The Charleston Loophole is one of three which Biden plans to close.
Biden’s plan describes many instances in which gun violence can be prevented, including plans to end the sale of firearms online and force those who owned guns prior to becoming ineligible to relinquish their weapons. One major point he details is the importance of banning the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Mass shootings that happen with the assistance of assault weapons have proven to be more harmful, with an increase in casualties. In addition to banning the sale of assault weapons, Biden plans to enact legislation that will attempt to buy back assault weapons. With these actions, Biden hopes to reduce the number of casualties in mass shootings.
A common argument used both by the National Rifle Association as well as many gun advocates is the belief that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” While it is true that an inanimate piece of metal is unable to kill a person of its own will, without access to these weapons people would be unable to inflict such large damage upon others. Because of this, many believe in the importance of limiting access to such weapons and promoting more extensive background checks.
President-elect Biden has made it clear that his priority is the safety of the American people, not the will of manufacturers. By instating more regulations regarding gun control, he hopes that mass shootings will become far less common and far less fatal..