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President Obama suggests new gun policy to curve gun violence

By Joshua Bennett
On February 20, 2013

President Obama has addressed the major issue of gun violence in the country.
 The idea of universal criminal and mental health background checks for all firearms sales is emerging as the central priority in the president's gun law plan.
 Anytime someone buys a gun from a federally licensed gun dealer, the dealer is required to run a check on the buyer by submitting the name to the federal database with both criminal and mental health records.
 Under the new law, an individual is prohibited from buying or possessing firearms if they have been "adjudicated as a mental defective" or "committed to a mental institution."
The current law requires background checks only for guns sold by federally licensed firearm dealers.
Currently, Americans can buy firearms through "private sales" in more than 40 states without undergoing any type of screening at all.
A National Institute of Justice study estimated that private sales account for 40 percent of all gun sales in the United States.
The law affects approximately four million children and adolescents who suffer from mental illnesses, according the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Yet, only 20 percent of this group have been diagnosed and are receiving services.
"A person who passes a diagnostic test can still become depressed, any person can become mentally unhealthy at any time. You really cannot tell when a person will be mentally unstable in the future," said Aravia White a senior criminal justice major.
A major concern is obtaining militant firearms, since most of the alleged shooters during the recent mass shootings have used theses type of weapons.
Obama hopes to reinstate Congress' assault weapons ban of 1994, which imposed a 10-year ban on 19 military-style assault weapons, including semi-automatic rifles and pistols like AK-47s and Uzis.
Another issue that has surfaced in the wake of recent mass shootings is the legality of high-capacity ammunition magazines, which enables a shooter to fire dozens of rounds of ammunition without having to reload.
Congress hopes to bring the legal amount to 10 bullets per ammunition magazine with the new gun legislation.  

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