Since immigrating to America, Georgia State freshman Oscar Tamakloe has enjoyed his time as a student. But he said recent gun violence in the states has him watching over his shoulder.
“I am just always afraid someone will take a gun out and start shooting everybody,” he said.
The Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooting on Nov, 27 caused an international media stir, leaving three dead and nine wounded. Two weeks later, a couple opened fire at the Inland Regional Centre in southern California, killing 14 and injuring 21 people, in what became known as the San Bernardino shooting.
On Georgia State’s campus two armed robberies took place during the fall semester’s finals week. Two students were robbed at gunpoint inside their apartment at One12 on Dec. 11. And five days later another student was threatened by a gunman and robbed of his cell-phone and laptop, according to Georgia State police reports.
Jerry Henry, the executive director of GeorgiaCarry.org, a second amendment rights advocacy group, said Americans should always have the right to protect themselves and their families.
“The right to carry guns is a God-given right that is enumerated in the US Constitution as well as the Georgia Constitution,” Henry said.
Georgia stands by stricter gun laws than most states, requiring a background check in order to gain a Georgia weapons carry license. Carrying Licenses are not granted to any individual under 18, convicted felons, or people institutionalized for mental problems or addictions within five years of their applications.
According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, in November of 2015, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) reported over 470,000 carry permit requests from gun dealers in Georgia for background checks and a 12 percent increase of background checks from October to November.
However, Georgia law only requires that background check reports stay in NICS for five years and be taken off afterwards, meaning people that have been proven mentally-ill in the past will again be able to legally purchase a gun. Georgia law does not require a background check for the private sales between citizens of Georgia and other states, according to the Firearm Permit Reciprocity regulations of Georgia
Henry said the problem with criminals getting guns in their hands is that laws pertaining to illegal gun sales are not being enforced.
“All firearms sales or possession of a firearm by a criminal or those listed as prohibited persons by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) are illegal. These people do not go through background checks as they get them from friends or family, on the black market, and by theft,” he said.
A report by the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence showed that inherited or privately sold guns are not required to be registered under the owner’s name, and make up 40 percent of gun sales taking place in the country. If such transactions required background checks, they would prevent over 120,000 illegal sales, according to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
For those carrying guns illegally, Henry said the only solution is to allow every law-abiding citizen the right to carry anywhere they go, so as to protect their own family.
“All law enforcement officers have a very tough job and most do it to the best of their ability. Unfortunately, they cannot be everywhere at all times,” he said.
Tamakloe said the issue with carrying guns]is that anyone, even the police, can lose their temper at any time, and pull out a gun without making a better judgment.
“The police force in the U.S. should be more like most European and African countries where they are only allowed to carry non-lethal weapons,” he said.