In the year 2018 there have been 307 mass shootings around the United States. To put this into perspective, we are 312 days into the year, meaning the US has had nearly as many mass shootings as days in 2018, says Melia Robinson, Skye Gould and Samantha Lee from Business Insider. A more effective screening process for purchasing a weapon needs to be put in place to help prevent unsafe people from owning guns.
Federal agencies do not have full knowledge of who is getting a background check to obtain a firearm due to a large portion of the United States that is not voluntarily providing background check information to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Reporting information to federal agencies is optional, federal law does not require states to submit information to NICS; participation is strictly voluntary (Giffords Law Center).
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The way that the national and state firearm regulations are now needs to be addressed so that there is no longer a lack of background check information on a national basis. Information that would prohibit an unsafe person, even with a mental illness or disability, from purchasing a firearm is not voluntarily reported. A state does not have to report this information to make it known nationally and those documents will not be able to stop an unsafe person from passing a background check in another state if they choose to purchase elsewhere. These documents are not accessible because some states believe it is a privacy problem giving out a person’s medical records. Providing this information to the NICS only gives out a person’s name, date of birth and information about their mental state that is vague. No clinical information is given to the NICS, only enough information to identify the person and that person’s problem that is preventing them from owning a firearm. Confidentiality still exists between a person and their health care professional.
Another reason this is a problem is if someone wants to purchase a firearm in another state, they are able to do so by providing dishonest information when filling out a background check. There are currently no laws preventing this from happening. Since the last elections in 2010, as a result of the 2010 midterm elections, the rise of the Tea Party, and the subsequent reapportionment of state legislative districts, the balance of power in a number of state legislatures significantly shifted to conservatives opposed to firearms regulation and federal authority. (William 885).
The year 2020 is the next time state legislative reapportionment will occur. There are currently four states that require a mental health screening along with their background checks and they are choosing not to report these documents to the NICS. Arkansas, Michigan,
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