Opinion: Gun Control debate should include markets

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It is time to focus gun control efforts on the illegal gun market. Law-abiding citizens should not be punished.

With the recent outbreaks of mass school shootings throughout the nation, gun control has become the top debate in Washington and across the country. Top politicians, led by Vice President Joe Biden, are leading a task force to combat the NRA in the attempts to establish codified gun control laws for the near future. But that’s only half the battle. While Biden’s work is admirable, it does not encompass the entire spectrum of gun safety. It is true that laws should be established that set the parameters of the 2nd Amendment. At its inception, the United States needed regular townsfolk to have weapons in order to raise a militia against invading forces, since there was no true standing army.

That has since changed, however, as America now prides itself on having the greatest military in the world. And while it would be unconstitutional to take weapons away from American citizens, there is no need for any regular American to own an assault rifle. Shooting sports do not (or should not) require the use of a semi-automatic or automatic rifle. There simply is no need for it. Those weapons are high grade military material, designed to mow down enemy combatants in hostile territory, not for recreational use in the local forest. Thus, it is very encouraging to see the Obama administration addressing this issue directly and attempting to fix it.

What the administration has not yet addressed is the availability of guns through the black market. There is an extremely large black market in America, with goods such as AK-47’s to cocaine available. In order to prevent these massive shootings and the occurrence of gun violence as a whole, the government needs to crack down on this market and eliminate, as best they can, the availability of military grade weapons. Presently, there is a large, encompassing background check as well as firearm safety courses required before one can be eligible for gun ownership. Because of that, many of the potential shooters are weeded out, since most are mentally handicapped and would not pass the background check. But it remains relatively easy for them to access highly powerful guns through the illegal market.

It would be more prudent for Joe Biden to focus his efforts on the illegal gun market rather than the legal one, since most weapons involved in mass shootings cannot be traced back to legal outlets. In order to help prevent tragic shooting events and regulate firearm safety, government needs to extensively look into the black market and effectively and efficiently block its use. This will be much more effective than creating laws regarding gun safety, as it will go directly to the source and will target those individuals who are at a much higher risk of staging an attack, instead of punishing America’s law-abiding citizens.