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Column: I can buy a gun, but that doesn’t mean I should

Ali Braboy
Ali Braboy

You’ve heard the argument that teachers should carry guns. So how about journalists?

Growing up, I was never a fan of guns — they seemed a very unnecessary “extra” purchase … an item my family didn’t need living in the Illinois Valley.

But recently I’ve had the urge to apply for a Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) card, because why not? If someone else can buy a gun, I should be able to buy one, too.

I never realized how much harder it can be to buy a gun in other countries compared to the U.S. until recently when I read a piece titled “How to buy a gun in 16 countries” from The New York Times.

In the U.S., one must pass a background check that looks at criminal convictions, immigration status and domestic violence. Then someone can buy a gun.

I decided to see how easy it would be for me (someone who knows nothing about guns, someone who has no need for a gun) to be able to acquire this right.

Applying for my FOID card took about 30 minutes online. I applied for the card on April 24, and it was issued to me May 22. Although I can legally possess firearms and ammunition, I know nothing about loading or unloading a gun. I know nothing when it comes to gun safety or how to properly shoot a gun.

(I want to apply for my concealed carry license too — because why not — but I procrastinate).

About one-third of gun owners in the U.S. buy guns without a background check, the NYT reports.

In Japan, there are at least 13 steps someone must take before buying a gun, some of which include: Getting a doctor’s note that says one is mentally fit and doesn’t have a history of drug abuse and describing in a police interview why one needs in a gun.

In Austria, someone must prove they’re in serious or physical danger to buy a handgun or semiautomatic rifle (different steps are required to get a hunting rifle).

To buy a handgun in Canada, one must give two character references, and on top of that, “Canadians must list the names of partners they have lived with in the last two years, all of whom must sign the application or be notified by the police before a gun is bought,” the NYT article says.

Arranging proper firearm storage is required in Germany before being able to buy a gun.

Normally I don’t think more rules is a good thing, but in instances with deadly weapons, I think knowledge and safety about the topic are a must when it comes to buying guns.

In 2016, half of all gun-related deaths occurred in six nations (Brazil, the U.S., Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia and Guatemala), according to a PBS article, “There’s a new global ranking of gun deaths.”

But these countries hold less than 10 percent of the world’s population, the article states.

The U.S. had the 28th highest rate of gun violence in the world in 2017, according to an article from National Public Radio, “Deaths From Gun Violence: How The U.S. Compares With The Rest Of The World.” The U.S.’ rate of deaths due to gun violence was nine times as high as Canada’s rate.

Although I may be able to own a gun, the world won’t be better served from me buying one, considering all I had to do was pass a background check.

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