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What is an option that the American people can choose, to take a step forward to reducing gun violence, without creating more strict gun laws to gun consumers? A possible answer to that would be improving the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), and The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agency (ATF). Simply improving the NICS would be insufficiently, vice versa with the ATF. Both the NICS and ATF have serious issues that need to be simultaneously solved in order to reduce the amount of gun violence in America. The NICS is what gun dealers use to conduct background checks on potential buyers to see if they are eligible to purchase a firearm. According to Martha Bellisle in the article, “Gun Background Check System Riddled With Flaws,” The NICS lists people who are prohibited from purchasing a firearm.
These people usually consist of criminals, the mentally ill, drug addicts, and dishonorable discharges (Bellisla). Bellisla discusses the issue of how the NICS is poorly updated by states, local police departments, and health institutions. If the NICS was constantly updated by states, local police departments, and health institutions it would become more effective in denying customers firearms, if they’re are prohibited from purchasing one. As for the ATF, the issue is their lack of enforcing gun sale laws. In the article “When Guns Are Sold Illegally, A.T.F is Lenient on Punishment,” the author, Ali Watkins, informs the readers how gun dealers slip by the ATF, when they have violated gun regulations. There have been many occasions where the ATF have failed to properly punish gun dealers for violating gun sale regulations. A reason as to why the ATF have failed many times to revoke a gun dealer’s license is, because of how the law works against the ATF. For a gun dealer to get their license revoke, the ATF must prove they violated the law intentionally, because just breaking the law is not good enough for the ATF to revoke their license. This creates an issue with the ATF, because is it very hard to show a gun dealer intentionally broke the law. Since it is hard to prove a gun dealer intentionally broke the law, majority of gun dealers will file for an appeal, to which a supervisor might downgrade the recommendation, to revoke their license, to a warning (Watkins).
There is a possible solution to solving the issue with the NICS and the ATF. Providing incentives is a way to get states, local police departments, and health institutions to constantly share information, and update the NICS. Giving health institutions the opportunity to receive tax deductions, if they have their mental health department constantly updating the NICS, would be an incentive for them, to contribute to fixing the issue with the NICS. As for the states, and local police departments, offering grants for their cooperation, would be their incentive. Now, if states, local police departments, or health institutions receive their award, but then stop contributing to the NICS, their grant/tax deductions will be denied the following year. This condition would be in place to keep them engaged in updating the NICS constantly, and not for just a while. As for the ATF, changing the law, where the ATF has to prove a gun dealer intentionally broke the law to revoke their license, would be the solution. Allowing a gun dealer to easier lose their license for accidently breaking a law should instill extreme caution in the gun dealer when handle a transaction. This extreme caution could stop a transaction with a criminal, that if taken place could lead to someone being killed.
Allowing the ATF to easily revoke a gun dealers license, would give the ATF the opportunity to properly punish gun dealers who violated the law, and took advantage of the ATF’s limitation for years. Allowing the ATF to properly punish gun dealers who violate gun regulations, will increase gun security. With the NICS simultaneously improving, gun dealers would have access to an accurate list of people to whom they prohibited to sell to. With the improved NICS, if a gun dealer still sells to prohibited person, the ATF can carry out a justifiable punishment. This why is it important to solve the issue in both the NICS and ATF simultaneously, so gun violence in American can decrease. The NICS provides the tool for gun dealers to be informed of prohibited buyers. As for the ATF, if a gun dealer disregards the NICS, they will be able to revoke the gun dealer’s license.
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