People Are the Problem

People kill people, but weapons like guns make it easier to kill people.


MCT Campus

As gun violence continues to be a pressing issue within the United States, the question arises as to who is take responsibility—people or guns.

Jenna Barackman, Managing Website Editor

Ask a gun to kill someone. It will not because it is a gun. Ask a person planning to commit a mass murder to choose a weapon, however, and they will almost certainly choose a gun. Though it is true that a gun cannot kill by itself, a gun makes killing much easier for the people who operate them. People kill people, sure, but guns certainly assist them in doing so effectively. So why are there so many legislatures set on keeping legal ownership and buying of guns without hardly and restrictions or regulations?

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas announced his plans to sue gun manufacturing company Jimenez Arms for dealing to a gun trafficking ring that provided guns to known felons, which Lucas alleged “endangered the entire city” Jan 7. According to Lucas, he hopes that by holding the gun companies accountable, the homicide rate, which was at a record high in 2019 according to the Kansas City Star, will decline.

However, suing private gun companies will not stop the homicides. A series of similar lawsuits occurred in the 1980s and 1990s with little success in lowering the homicide rate in the cities the lawsuit was filed in, such as Chicago and Bridgeport, according to National Public Radio. Instead, those in power such as Lucas should focus on passing gun control laws which will help more in the long run than a likely frivolous lawsuit.

Jenna Barackman
This graphic illustrates the violence rate in all of the U.S., versus in Kansas City as of the end of Jan.

States with stronger gun control laws, like those in the Northeast and Hawaii, have the lowest rates of death per capita while states with the loosest gun laws, like Missouri, have the highest death rates per capita, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Gun control is the best chance there is to help decrease violence and homicides in the Kansas City area.

The process of getting a driver’s license is an essential one because it consists of multiple steps and requires years of experience before one can get behind the wheel of a vehicle that has the potential to kill someone if used irresponsibly. Yet buying a gun is somehow significantly easier than the years-long process of getting a driver’s license. In Missouri, there are no background checks and a buyer of at least 18 years of age needs only to provide a state ID, such as a driver’s license, to purchase a firearm with no registration or purchase permits necessary, according to Guns To Carry.

Though it is true that people kill people, people kill people with guns, so those guns should be harder to obtain. At the very least, those who purchase guns should complete at least a moderate training course and should require a permit to buy a gun as well as a gun license. 

In 2007, Missouri repealed its permit-to-purchase handgun law, which led to approximately a 25% increase in homicides, according to a study by the Journal of Urban Health. It is clear that requiring a permit to purchase guns makes guns less available to possible dangerous persons and therefore decreases homicide rates.

Additionally, providing more legal supervision at gun shows will prevent illegal selling of firearms. Gun show sales account for approximately 4-9% of all gun sales, according to Giffords Law Center. According to an investigation by the Department of Justice, there have been hundreds of arrests at gun shows for illegal selling of firearms, including selling to convicted felons and straw purchases, which is buying a gun for someone who is barred from owning one. These gun shows need more supervision and must be held accountable for following gun laws.

There also must be more enforcement that prevents those on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s “no-fly list” from purchasing firearms. Individuals on the FBI’s no-fly list, which is made up of known or suspected terrorists, can still pass a background check and purchase a gun, according to Congressional Research Reports. Additionally, many states do not require background checks that would catch things like being on the no-fly list, making purchasing a gun easier.

Lastly, a waiting period between the purchase of a gun and owning the gun would help significantly in decreasing homicide rates but also in decreasing suicide rates. Waiting periods provide a period of “cooling off” to prevent any crimes of passion or sudden acts of violence. Those who commit or attempt suicide often only contemplate for a period of fewer than 24 hours, according to the Journal of Clinical Psychology, and it is estimated that a waiting period of a few days can decrease suicides from guns by 7-11%, according to the National Academy of Science. Additionally, adding a waiting period of a few days can also decrease gun homicides by almost 17%, according to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Gun control is a clear solution to solve the homicide rate in Kansas City, which is the sixth most dangerous city in the country, according to Only in Your State. Make it harder for people to kill people by putting restrictions on the weapons they use to kill other people: guns.

As seen in issue 4 here.