The second amendment of The United States Constitution states, “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” What do these words mean to people who have been directly affected by gun violence, the victims of gun violence? For the mothers, fathers, children, of people lost to gun violence does the presence of the second amendment act as an insensitive outdated law that has no relevance in light of the atrocities caused by guns.

Since the beginning of 2018 the number of mass shootings has already reached 30 as of February15, 2018 according to Business Insider. United States is plagued with an extreme problem of gun violence. Violence which has altered the way Americans view their livelihood. What does this mean?

This means second guessing going to a movie theater. Harboring fears about sending children to school, students wondering if they are safe on college campuses, not wanting to spend a Friday night at a club, or skepticism while sitting in a place of worship.

The mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that killed 17 people and wounded 14 others has brought up necessary conversations about gun laws. The underlying question many students and advocates are asking is how many more, before something changes? The theme of many of the protests and school walk outs is that enough is enough.

Currently the federal gun laws allow any law abiding citizen that does not exhibit a mental or physical illness 18 or older to purchase a handgun. The federal law does not have any age restrictions of long guns such as a shot gun or long gun ammunition.

The Gun Control Act of 1968 states that anyone “engaged in the business” of dealing in firearms must have a license, the act fails to successfully define engaged in the business of, Congress defines the term as any person who devotes their time to dealing firearms in a regular course of business or trade. Congress’s definition did not make it explicitly clear, thus leading to a loophole which excludes a person who “makes occasional sales, exchanges, or purchases of firearms for the enhancement of a personal collection or for a hobby, or who sells all or part of his personal collection of firearm, “as cited by the Gifford Law Center

“According to the US Department of Justice, because federal law fails to require background checks by every person who sells or transfers a gun—known as universal background checks—“individuals prohibited by law from possessing guns can easily obtain them from private sellers and do so without any federal records of the transactions.” A 2017 study estimated that 42% of US gun owners acquired their most recent firearm without a background check”

The situation is also stressed by the law that passed last February by President Trump to repeal of a measure of Title 18 section 922(g) measure that would prevent certain people with mental illness from purchasing firearms. The passing of the law revoked an Obama-era regulatory initiative.

Gun laws majorly are left to the jurisdiction of individual states, some places exercise stricter gun laws compared to federal laws. The District of Columbia is in that category. In The District of Columbia any person must be 21yrs or older to purchase a firearm within a set of restrictions such as not having a history of violent behavior. They must be at least 18yrs old to register a long gun “if they have a notarized statement from their parent or guardian stating that the parent or guardian assumes civil liability for all damages resulting from the applicant’s use of the firearm. This special registration, however, will expire on the applicant’s 21st birthday”

It would seem that the stricter gun control laws in DC can serve as starting point for changes to federal legislation and to the second amendment in general. As of 2018, assault with a dangerous weapon has decreased my 22% from 2017.

There are some possible changes being addressed like, The common sense gun laws which would implement universal background checks and require mandatory licenses, insurance, and registration. However, the federal change in gun legislation is at the liberty of the people in office, leaders who also receive donations from the National Rifle Association (NRA). According to The Los Angeles Times President Trump received $30 million toward his 2016 campaign from the NRA.

The current state of gun violence is best described in an article “What Clarence Thomas Gets Wrong About the Second Amendment” by Garret Epps.

“The steady increase in mass shootings in the United States is degrading our public life, deforming our educational system, and threatening our very existence as a nation rather than a Hobbesian dystopia.” said Epps contributing editor of the Atlantic.

For those who would like to get involved in changing gun laws here is how to contact your local representative.