Gun Violence and the new Trumpism

President Trump has rebuked FBI over Florida School shooting as they missed many signals sent by the shooter and kept all their focus on Russian meddling. FBI has admitted to not to attend to the clues given by Nikolas Cruz who has admitted to shooting at a high school in Parkland. He also additionally criticised the Democratic government for its failure to pass a legislation on gun control.

The recent incident has brought the long-running debate about gun control and tough firearm restrictions to the front. Survivors and their families have accused the Trump administration of receiving funds from National Rifle Association NFA for his election campaign. Students, parents, politicians and thousands of others had rallied in Fort Lauderdale to demand reforms on gun laws. As per the Center for Responsive Politics, $11.4m was spent by NRA to support Trump in elections while they spent $19.7 to oppose Hillary Clinton.

Gun control

As per the estimates of Newtown gun control advocacy group, 300 school shootings have occurred in US since 2013. The Second Amendment of US Constitution provides the legal basis for firearm possession. The Gun Control Act of 1968 mandates the age limit for a citizen to buy shotguns, rifles and ammunition to be at least 18 years while that for possession of handguns to be 21 years. As per the few restrictions, fugitives or people with mental issue patients, those having served a sentence for over a year, those who have been restrained to possession as a measure of prevention of stalking, threatening, those who have given up their citizenship, discharged military officers, unauthorised migrants, tourists etc. are barred from purchasing firearms.

The regulations concerning who can carry the guns publically, possession etc. is usually by state and local governments. Also, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) which is a division of US Department of Justice looks over the GCA in addition to issuing of licences to vendors. Furthermore, the National Firearms Act of 1934 regulates possession of  shotguns, rifles, machine guns, silencers etc.

The firearm dealers also have to get a Federal Firearms License for which they have to be 21 years of age and must have premises for business operation. The license fee is $200 initially for a period of 3 years followed by a $90 for annual renewal. They also have to satisfy the same requirements regarding prior convictions and mental health. Similar regulations also apply to online firearm sale.

The Amendment to Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, 1993 also necessitates a background check by FFL holders on potential buyers. Latter have to fill a form ATF 4473 for the same. It depends on the individual decision of states to see if the background check is carried by the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or a combination of latter with a state agency.

It is thus clear that not the absence of laws but compliance is the problem. Not every dealer needs an FFL and not every purchaser thus is legally bound by a background check. This gap is referred to as the gunshow loophole widely is bringing the US to knees as we spread of violence against innocents amidst a mute government.

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