Mass shootings in US Biden calls for Gun control law – Free PDF Download

What has happened?

  • In the past one week, the US has witnessed two mass shootings – one in Atlanta where eight individuals, including six women of Asian origin, were killed;
  • Another in Boulder, Colorado, where a gunman killed 10 people inside a grocery store.
  • The two recent incidents have reignited the debate on gun laws in the US.
  • It is a country with one of the most lax controls on gun ownership in the world.
  • The US has the highest civilian gun ownership globally.
  • According to RAND Corporation’s Gun Policy in America Initiative, there are about 12 firearms for every 10 civilians in the country.
  • This may be one reason that the country sees greater rates of homicides — about six times higher than in other developed nations, according to a 2016 study.

What happened in Colorado & Atlanta?

  • On March 22, a gunman opened fire at a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado.
  • The incident left 10 people dead, including a police officer, Eric Talley, who was one of the first respondents.
  • The victims of this shooting were between ages of 20 & 65.
  • In Atlanta, another man killed 8 people after he went on a rampage at three spa locations on March 16.
  • 6 of the victims killed were women of Asian descent, which sparked fear and concern in the community.
  • According to media reports, the suspect, told the police that he carried out the shootings to eliminate temptation because of his sexual addiction.
  • But the police have not yet ruled out bias as a motive.

Gun control in the US

  • In the US, the right to buy a gun is written in the country’s Constitution and only a few people, such as those with criminal history or mental illness, may find it difficult to own a gun.
  • Even so, while gun ownership is a right throughout the country, laws within different states vary about who can buy a gun.
  • In June 2008, the Supreme Court ruled that the constitution gave the right to US citizens to possess a firearm for traditionally lawful purposes such as self-defence.
  • In 1968, following the assassinations of President John F Kennedy, Senator Robert Kennedy and Dr Martin Luther King Jr, Congress passed the Gun Control Act (GCA).
  • The GCA aims to “keep firearms out of the hands of those not legally entitled to possess them because of age, criminal background or incompetency, and to assist law enforcement authorities in the states and their subdivisions in combating the increasing prevalence of crime in the United States.”
  • After this, in the 1980s when the US was experiencing high levels of gun violence in the midst of the crack epidemic,
  • Congress enacted the Comprehensive Crime Control Act and the Armed Career Criminal Act,
  • Which increased the sentences of those individuals who were convicted of using firearms in crimes of violence.
  • Many other efforts were later put in to curb the use of guns in US,
  • But still there is no single law or provision in the Constitution that determines gun control today.
  • In fact, there is little consensus among experts about which kinds of gun laws and policy can have tangible effects on curbing violence.

What do Americans think about gun control?

  • As per data compiled by the Pew Research Centre, about 30% of American adults said they personally own a gun and An additional 11% said that they live with someone ho owns a gun.
  • About two-thirds of the gun owners said that one of the major reasons for owning a firearm was protection, followed by hunting (38 per cent), sport shooting (30 per cent), gun collecting (13 per cent) or their job (8 per cent).
  • The majority of Americans believed that gun laws should be stricter, according to a survey conducted in September 2019.
  • While 47% of the people surveyed said there would be fewer mass shootings if it was harder for people to obtain guns, 46% said that there would be no difference.

What Biden wants?

  • Following the recent incidents, Biden has called for the Congress to work on stricter gun control measures.
  • Broadly, there has been a divide in how Republicans and Democrats see gun laws.
  • While the Republicans have typically resisted making gun control stricter, Democrats have supported it.
  • On Tuesday, Biden called on the Senate to pass two bills which were cleared by the House of Representatives on March 11.
  • The provisions under these bills will widen background checks on gun buyers.
  • In addition to this, Biden has also asked that assault-style weapons be banned.
  • Significantly, stricter gun control was one of the campaign promises made by Biden.

Q) As per the Arms (Amendment) Bill, 2019 that amended the Arms Act of 1959, an individual can carry how many weapons with a valid license?

  1. One
  2. Three
  3. Five
  4. Eight




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