Only clear response to gun violence is stricter regulation

Daniel Horowitz, Staff Writer

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The following is an opinion article, and opinion articles do not reflect the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo.

Gun violence frequenting headlines about New Orleans is not a new phenomenon. Though it appears to have slowed down in the last year or so, there is still much that can be done to decrease the amount of gun-related incidents in the city.

The state of Louisiana has some of the most lenient gun laws in the country. All someone needs in order to purchase a firearm is a driver’s license, no background check is required. Neither a gun permit nor a gun license is necessary and owners are not required to register their long guns or handguns.

With such relaxed gun laws, pretty much anyone at least 18 years of age can purchase a gun. That can potentially be a problem because more guns in the streets often result in increased crime involving firearms. The crime sections in local New Orleans newspapers contain an abundance of armed assault and robbery reports. An armed gunman, for example, attempted to hold hostage and kill 18 people in a Metairie, Louisiana bar last month. Earlier this week, there were two armed robberies within a mile of each other in just four minutes on Milan Street in New Orleans. Many stories similar to these can be found by searching the crime reports in The Times-Picayune and The New Orleans Advocate.

These crimes may not seem threatening to Tulane students because they do not often occur very close to campus, but gun violence happens, much closer to us than we think. Tulane University Police Department has sent out two crime reports involving armed robberies in or near the Uptown area in the last three months. This means that we as Tulane students can also be at risk of being victims of crimes involving firearms.

This is not a claim that the state of Louisiana should start confiscating all of the guns owned by its citizens in order to prevent violent crime. Under certain interpretations, the right to own a firearm is in the Constitution. Just as the First Amendment does not give someone the right to scream “Fire!” in a movie theater when there is none, however, the Second Amendment does not allow for someone to commit a crime or even take a life with a firearm.

Stanford University researchers have provided evidence that laws that allow for the carrying or concealing of firearms can increase violent crime. Again, this does not mean we should start taking away everyone’s guns. We do, however, need to start advocating for stricter gun laws in Louisiana. There need to be more background checks to ensure that people who buy guns do not have a history of violent crimes or mental illness. We need to make sure people have licenses that they can obtain after going through a period of training so that we know the people who own a gun can use it properly.

The safety of everyone in Louisiana should be a top priority. It only makes sense that keeping guns out of the hands of violent people can help decrease the number of violent crimes committed.