Background checks won’t solve the gun problem

With the recent Navy Yard shooting, the recurring debate has been re-ignited and President Barack Obama claims there needs to be stricter gun laws in America. 

Many people think the solution is to strengthen background checks or set up a gun registration, but it’s not. 

Though gun regulations are obviously meant for good causes, they would be overly invasive, ineffective and redundant since basic necessary background checks are already in place.

A gun registry or an extensive background database would undermine personal liberties vested in the Constitution even further and these strategies would not work. 

Aaron Alexis, Navy Yard shooter, had a job for a military subcontractor where he repaired computer systems in different military bases along the Eastern Seaboard, according to CNN. 

To get a government job, he had to go through two extensive background checks by the FBI. Despite three arrests, including violence and shooting firearms off in his apartment building, he was cleared. 

If government background checks failed in this situation, they would be doomed to be ineffective in concern with purchasing a firearm.

Another infamous situation this year was the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in which Adam Lanza shot 20 students, six teachers, his mother and himself. 

According to the New York Times, the weapons he had he did not purchase, but obtained through his mother who purchased them legally. So a gun background check, if one enacted, would not have been issued on him, therefore it would not have prevented that shooting. 

Basic background checks already exist for purchasing firearms created through the Brady Law. According to, the Brady Law requires gun sellers to run a buyer’s name through a national criminal background check system ran by the Department of Justice, which pans through a person’s record to see if they have a recorded mental illness, are a felon or have been banned from owning a firearm for any other reasons. 

Unfortunately, private sellers are never forced to comply with these background checks because it’s nearly impossible to track down private sales. Whether the government was to increase background checks there would still be no way to track private sales and that would be the largest flaw to any type of gun registry. 

The Navy Yard shooting was devastating, as was the Sandy Hook shooting, but invading the privacy of American citizens because of terrorists is not the answer. 

The “gun” issue in America is not a “gun” issue at all but a morality issue. A law will not change us, only we can change our cultural flaws.

James Baker is a freshman majoring in political science and economics.