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In a country where there are more mass shootings than there are days, it seems obvious that reform is needed. According to EverytownResearch.org, around 35,000 Americans die each year to guns and around 77,000 more are injured. In comparison, Great Britain only has 50-60 gun deaths each year. The U.S. has the highest gun homicide rate of any first world country, as well as the most relaxed gun policies. If the U.S. wants to see any real change, we need to implement sensible gun control.

A starting point should be universal background checks, something that 97 percent of Americans support. Increased background checks would have prevented Nikolas Cruz, who had multiple red flags and warnings to the FBI, from receiving an AR-15. Recently, Trump revoked an Obama-era law that expanded mental health consideration in background checks. Preventing mentally ill people from owning guns seems pretty obvious, but because of loose background checks our country can’t even do that. Thorough background checks could have also stopped the Texas church shooter from buying a gun, as he was kicked out of the Air Force for a domestic violence conviction.

The next step in solving our gun crisis would be banning assault rifles. Having military-style weapons out of the hands of mentally-ill people is a no brainer, and the ban of assault rifles would help do that. Cruz carried out his massacre using an AR-15, a gun that was used in the Aurora, Sandy Hook, San Bernardino, and Pulse Nightclub shootings. The banning of assault rifles would not have stopped these shootings as a whole, but less damage would have been done if the shooters used handguns. An assault rifle is not needed for protection, as a citizen can protect oneself just fine with a handgun.  

In the recent Texas mass shooting, a “good guy with a gun” stopped it; however, to think that civilians could have stopped the Vegas shooting, the Pulse Nightclub shooting, or even the Parkland shooting is unreasonable. During these shootings it is unclear who is the gunman, and an ordinary civilian does not have the training or knowledge of how to respond. More civilians would end up in the crossfire, and it will only result in more death. The only way to limit gun violence is through increased gun control, and limited accessibility of guns to the mentally-ill.

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