Since actor Alec Baldwin accidentally fatally shot cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on set of the film “Rust” on Oct. 21, prop gun safety has been in the spotlight. This was an unfortunate accident, and tragic though it was, prop guns already have safety guidelines. We should be focused on calling for the regulation of actual guns.
Although the incident of the “Rust” film set was undeniably tragic, it should not have taken a big movie star name for more people to join the conversation about gun safety in the United States.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Firearm Violence Prevention data, 39,707 firearm-related deaths, approximately 109 a day, occurred in the U.S. in 2019 alone.
There have been too many deaths caused by the mishandling of guns across the country and further regulation needs to happen now.
“Firearm-related injuries are among the five leading causes of death for people ages 1-64 in the United States,” the Firearm Violence Prevention data found.
In 2018, a 21-year-old man was shot to death by his younger brother after accidentally discharging a gun on April 28 in Washington, D.C., according to the Gun Violence Archive.
In 2020, a 23-year-old man was charged with criminal storage of a firearm after a 14-year-old boy got his hands on the man’s unlocked gun and accidentally shot himself dead on Aug. 4 in Auburn, California, according to the archive.
Recently, a 25-year-old woman was fatally shot in the face after her boyfriend’s gun accidentally went off at a party on Oct. 23 in Chicago, Illinois.
According to a 2020 California Department of Justice Armed and Prohibited Persons report, California keeps a database to monitor firearm owners who might be deemed too dangerous to own guns based on factors such as felony, domestic violence, or misdemeanor convictions, and mental health.
Although this is a good system, it is not enough because too many people that should not have ownership of guns are still able to get their hands on them.
According to a recent story in CalMatters “Surge in ‘armed and prohibited’ gun owners,” 24,000 people in California under prohibition of gun ownership were believed to be in possession of guns anyway. This is the highest amount since 2006, which is when the APPS was implemented in the state.
Gun violence, both accidental and intentional, is preventable but somehow gun laws are being overlooked.
The suspect of the March 31 shooting at a mobile home brokerage company that resulted in four deaths and one injury in Orange, California, Aminadab Gaxiola Gonzalez, was convicted of battery in 2015 which placed him on a ban from purchasing firearms for 10 years.
He somehow still got access to guns, but if a proper background check was conducted, he would not have been able to purchase a gun or ammo and the mass shooting could have been prevented.
This is just one of many examples of a prohibited gun owner who still managed to get their hands on a gun. We have gun laws in place, but they are clearly not being enforced correctly.
The Alec Baldwin incident opened many people’s eyes to the lack of gun safety and now is the time for gun laws to be reviewed so we can put an end to this issue.