This year, the state of Georgia uploaded almost 2,000 new records of mentally ill individuals to databases that are used to conduct background checks of potential weapon buyers. However, the problem is that the state also deleted almost 500 records of such mentally ill individuals, making it possible for them to acquire guns legally anywhere in the country.
That's because of Georgia law: Once a record of a mentally unstable person has been kept in the national database for five years, state law requires that it be removed.
There are laws all over the country that let people amass weapons, only to have them later used in deadly shootings.
It was just in October when Christopher Harper-Mercer fatally shot eight students and an assistant professor at Umpqua Community College before killing himself. The investigators later revealed that the man possessed eight other legal firearms as well.
In South Carolina, gifting a gun to a friend or a family member is extremely easy given the lack of gun control and absence of background check. In fact, firearms exchanging hands privately is the least regulated aspect of gun ownership. South Carolina is just one of the 33 states that do not require a background check for private party transfers. Early reports of the Dylann Roof incident reported the .45 caliber gun he used to kill nine people was gifted to him by his father.
"If you want to give a gun to your son or daughter or you want to sell it to your neighbors or friends, there is no background check required," said Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), during a Senate floor debate.
Same is the case with gun show loopholes. Thousands of gun shows take place in the United States each year by individuals who aren’t technically gun retailers but who sell weapons at gun shows. A report from the Harvard School of Public Health states that 40 percent of all gun ownership transfers occur without background checks. That’s the so-called gun show loophole.
These deadly gaps allow criminals and mentally disabled people to buy guns who otherwise might be stopped if the laws were stricter.
Earlier this month, President Barack Obama has resolved to bypass Congress to tighten gun controls so that firearms can be kept out of wrong hands.
“You’re going to find a whole lot of American citizens who will object to the president trying to bypass Congress on not only the firearms issue but any issue the public holds dear,” says Dave Workman, a spokesman for the Second Amendment Foundation. “We’re talking about a constitutionally fundamentally protected civil right.”
We're also talking about an epidemic of deadly proportions. As of Dec. 23, a total of 12,942 people had been killed in the United States in a gun homicide, unintentional shooting or murder/suicide.
One can only hope that the United States will finally confront its gun problem and implement stricter gun control.