Gun control refers to legal measures taken to prevent the possession and use of firearms, also, it also restricts the sale and transfer of firearms by the normal citizens. Gun control, especially in the most developed countries, is strict however in others it is a fraught political issue. The Gun Control Act of 1968, that deals with regulation of firearms at the federal level, requires the civilians to be at least 18 years old and above in order to own or possess any legal firearm which is not more dangerous but for the most dangerous firearms like handguns they are allowed to people more than 21 years.
Other people not allowed to own firearms include the fugitives, that is people regarded to be dangerous to the society and people with mental problems, for instance, the mad ones, it also includes those people with prison sentences and also blocks those people found guilty of any unlawful act. Gun control is more controversial in the United States because gun control is constitutionally protected meaning that it is legally allowed they argue that it would reduce access to guns will save lives and reduce crime. However, opponents argue that the opposite will happen.
The question of whether the federal or the state government have power for gun control is controversial. The second amendment of the United States Constitution protects the right of the United States citizens from bearing arms. Although the state and local governments can regulate the carrying of guns, laws concerning the same are under the federal government.
A division of the department of justice, Firearms and Explosives, regulates the standards and policies of issuing the bearing of arms. The National Firearms Act, of 1934, regulates the issuance and licensing of the shotguns, machine guns, and silencers. Moreover, the purchase of semi-automatic weapons is legal in most states. Therefore, we can say that gun control is one of the controversial issues in the United States.
Looking at the issue of selling guns, anybody wishing to be a dealer of guns has to obtain Federal Firearms License (FFL) and must be at least 21 years of age. Any dealer should have an established premise where selling of guns can be done and where the local law enforcement officials can trace. Just like those who bear arms, they should fulfill be free from any past convictions and have a good mental state.
Currently, the licensing fee for any dealers is approximately $200 for the first three years and a subsequent $90 paid yearly. The dealers are responsible for conducting background research and gathering information about the gun holder before handing over the gun to the buyer.
However, this responsibility has been disregarded by most gun sellers since they need money thus failing to do their responsibility of ensuring that the buyers are in a good mental state to possess a gun. When purchasing a gun, holders of FFLs have to conduct the background check as required by the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention act of 1993. All the potential firearm holders have filled a federal form known as the ATF 4473, which allows the dealers to check for background convictions and red flags.
In conjunction with the FBI and other federal bodies, the dealers carry out the federal checks and decide whether to give them or not. Most states require permits to carry handguns. This is aimed at ensuring that those who carry guns have fully complied with the state and federal laws. However, some states do not require firearm holders to have permits. By contract, no states have laws that require permission to carry rifles and shotguns. However, Massachusetts and New Jersey require that people who bear rifles and shotguns should be carrying their IDs or firearm identification cards. Gunshow loophole is an ambiguity that explains how one can purchase a gun without a background check.
This contrary to the fact that the law requires that all those who bear arms should be subjected to a background check. This has led to situations where some people carry firearms without following the due process. According to the ATF, anyone can sell firearms without having to be in possession of the FFL. They can sell the guns from the home, online, or at a flea market. Research has shown that most people who bear arms did not get it legitimately. Moreover, a gun may be purchased on behalf of a third-party. This occurs in situations where the guns to be given as a gift and the recipient have not violated any federal laws.
In some situations, children who are below the age of 18 years may possess guns issued in the name of their parents or guardians as long as they have written permission to carry the firearm. In conclusion, gun control is protected by the United States Constitution under the care of the federal and state government. The law allows the possession of guns as long as the due process of the law is followed when obtaining them.
Example #2 – The Politics of Gun Control Legislation
The recent violent phenomenon of tragic shootings such as the incident at Columbine high school in which 13 students and one teacher were killed and 23 other people were wounded has captured the attention of both the public and politicians alike and has stirred a need to take action.
With shootings in Littleton, Colorado followed by Conyers, Georgia and yet another in Gibson, Oklahoma, gun control has become a pressing issue in congress. However while politicians use these incidents to maneuver their anti-gun legislation, public opinion and partisan support remain highly polarized. In addition, the fierce debate over gun restrictions is confronted with nearly 8o million gun owners in America and a federal guarantee by the Constitution to bear arms.
Gun Control as a partisan issue is complex. While anti-gunners typically are liberal and democratic, Democrats in Congress do not always support new gun legislation and instead vote against it quietly. It is also a notable fact that Congressmen’s opinions on gun control vary according to their electorate. For example, Jolene Unsoeled, a liberal Democrat from Olympia narrowly won her district by championing the NRA. Aside from the contributions, the NRA provided to her election, she was able to entice enough? swing voters? away from her highly conservative challenger. Due to the recent school shooting a new group of swing voters who may change the prospective support for pro-gunners has emerged and they are the? soccer moms? professional middle-class women who have also significantly influenced the gender gap.
Senator Charles Chumar (D-New York), considered to be one of the Senates leading gun control advocates, states that ?? Democrats are secretly as eager as the other side to delay action on gun control legislation . . . ?? (Birnbuam, 7). It is also the case that the Republican Congress successfully stalls much of the gun control legislation with the help of a suppressing number of Democratic gun control opponents. Currently, three-quarters of the House Republicans vote the NRA way and another 50 or so Democratic NRA loyalists have the ability to kill a gun control bill.
Democrats like Bart Stupak (D-MI) believe in the American tradition of owning guns. Similarly, constituencies to the south and mid-west seem to be more supportive of gun ownership and sportsmanship, regardless of their opinions on other issues.
Representative David Obey from Wisconsin’s dear country demonstrates this contradiction in beliefs by being both a card holding NRA member and a Democrat. Many democrats acknowledge that they may very well lose their seats entirely if they were to support gun control but vote right down the democratic line on everything else.
There are also many interest groups lobbying Congress on the issue of gun control. Hand Gun Control Inc. has nearly 430,000 members nationwide and is the largest gun control group lobbying Congress. Led by Sarah Brady, wife of Jim Brady, Handgun Control has recruited trial lawyers to sue gun manufacturers as they make little progress in Congress.
They are also continually trying to raise more money for theirs? anemic? PAC (Richie, p.2) which barely raises 2 million dollars per election cycle. The American Bar Association also supports certain gun control regulations especially the enactment of measures to prevent easy access to firearms via unregulated sales. Other Senate provisions backed by the ABA would prohibit minor?s possession of military assault weapons, ban imports of high capacity ammunition clips, and child safety locks. However, neither of these groups is as influential or as well-financed as the NRA.
The NRA is perhaps the prevailing force in the gun control debate. The NRA has over three million dedicated members and an annual budget of $137 million. Does these statistics make the NRA one of the nation?s largest and wealthiest cause-oriented groups? (Birnbaum, 212). The NRA is able to rally support when the right to bear arms is under attack.
In 1999, perhaps the worst year in memory for mass shootings, ?the NRA tied for number 2 in FORTUNE?S Power 25 survey of clout in the capital, it?s highest rank ever? (Birnbaum, 212). The NRA also has a well-earned reputation of being able to make the difference between victory and defeat in marginal districts throughout U.S. And despite the spree of killings that have occurred, has not lost its influence or support.
Although some lawmakers are compelled by events to create gun-control legislation, the incessant lobbying of the NRA often keeps away the necessary support. Because so few citizens vote the NRA is considered very powerful by being able to attract a couple of thousand voters for a candidate in an election. In 1998, the NRA spent $150,000 for pro-gun Senator Jim Bunning (R-Kentucky) and mobilized support for him which enabled him to win by just 6,766 votes. President Clinton even went so far as to proclaim the NRA is the reason the Republicans control the House? (Birnbaum, 214).
In January of 2000, Clinton announced a $280 million dollar program that he termed ?the largest national gun enforcement initiative in the history of the United States? (Mcmillion, 2). Congress had long been feeling the presidential pressure to legislate more restrictive gun law policies especially concerning juvenile gun laws. In response to this pressure, the Senate was able to pass a bill, S.254, to require that sales at gun show offering 50 or more guns be subject to background checks, would prohibit minors possession of military assault weapons, ban imports of high-capacity ammunition clips, and require that handguns be sold with child safety locks. The House followed suit by passing its juvenile justice bill, H.R. 1501, with comparable gun provisions. However, discrepancies between the House and Senate over the regulation of gun shows eventually led to the demise of both bills.
This is demonstrative of the fact that Congress perpetually returns to ground zero in terms of gun control legislation. Disagreements about a 24-hour waiting period or a 3-day waiting period for conducting background checks ultimately result in failure. Furthermore, Clinton goes on to criticize that the measure expanding background checks creates more loopholes than it closes.
Another major reason that gun control legislation seems to fail is that it is born from public reactions. Anti-gunners often politicize a tragic incident such as Columbine to push radical or ineffective methods of restricting firearms. This is the same reason that new legislation also receives such a fierce reaction from pro-gun lobbyists.
Republicans such as House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-TX) support what he terms common-sense gun control?. Still, many argue that what is really needed is simply more enforcement of the gun laws which already exist. As Wyane LaPierre, executive vice president of the NRA put it, ??They can?t get it through their heads that what is needed for prevention is prosecution, not more restrictions on the honest folks who own firearms?? (O’Meara, 25) It is argued by some that there are already more than enough laws to prove that gun control does nothing to prevent criminal shootings.
Gun control advocates have succeeded in enacting several pieces of legislation aimed at curbing violent gun use. The Gun-Free Schools Act,
enacted in 1994, conditions federal school funding to states with the enactment of laws that mandate the expulsion of any student that brings a weapon into school. The best known and most effective gun control law is the Brady law, named after former Presidential press secretary Jim Brady who was shot during the assassination attempt on President Reagan. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms is chiefly responsible for maintaining the Brady law.
The law establishes mandatory background checks on gun purchasers. There are also long-standing state laws requiring handgun owners to register their guns and have permits, therefore no need for Congress to legislate this point.
The republican 106th Congress has been successful in blocking or log jamming many of the attempts to restrict the sale and ownership of guns.
Legislation that has failed includes mandatory registration of all firearms, child safety locks, limits on the number of guns a person can buy within a given period of time, and making American-made handguns subject to standards “currently required of imports.” These proposed methods of gun control are criticized for being highly reactionary. For example, raising the standard to import quality would eliminate many of the cheaper and more affordable guns from the market. It is a subversive maneuver to deteriorate the gun market and drive up the cost of handguns.
The media also plays an important role in the gun control debate. The media has promoted gun control legislation through the reporting of child violence. The media often spins stories that imply that guns and the availability of guns are the reasons behind the violence and school shootings.
However, the media itself may be part of the problem by glamorizing tragedies and the criminals responsible. In the case of repeated school shootings, the media could be a sizable factor in copycat crimes. The argument can be made that censoring the media would be as ineffective in stopping gun violence as much of the proposed gun legislation.
A good example of how pervasive the gun control issue can be is the election of Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) who took a dramatic stand on gun control. She is considered to be a single-issue candidate. In 1993, McCarthy?s husband was gunned down and her son paralyzed by the Long Island Rail Road gunman Collin Ferguson. Enraged by this tragedy and Representative Dan Frisa’s () vote to repeal the assault weapons ban, she was able to raise over $600,000 for her campaign and defeat her opponent.
Formerly, McCarthy had no political experience aside from the PTA and was a republican. Amazingly though, this one issue carried enough weight to win her the election. McCarthy received national attention for criticizing corporations for being the secret beneficiaries of gun violence in America and strongly attacks the NRA on such premises.
Lastly, there is a question as to whether or not all these recent tragedies have even effected public opinion at all giving impetus to the politician’s actions. A Gallup Poll in 1999 found that 66 percent of people wanted to see stricter gun control and 25 percent saying no change is needed. In a 1991 Gallup Poll, it was 68 percent to 25 percent, which is hardly different at all. It would appear that these recent issues are so important that our representatives are making up their own minds to pursue gun control issues and acting as trustees on the citizen?s behalf.
As McMillion states, politicians are clearly voting based on values and motivations other than simple poll results? (106). However, it also seems apparent that when confronted with the possibility of losing financial backing or votes, gun control advocates quickly slow their momentum.
In conclusion, the process of creating new gun control legislation is a slow-moving and complicated process with which Congressmen must take many things into consideration. It is a contradictory issue comprised of people with very different motivations. People long for solutions that would prevent such tragedies as the Columbine and Oklahoma shootings, but at the same time, gun control proponents exploit these shootings to gain support for their issues.
It is the opinion of LaPierre that these kinds of circumstances can?t actually be addressed by legislation and that vigorous prosecution of criminals is what is needed (Birnbuam, 216). On the other hand, it is also a well-founded argument that stricter regulation of handguns may actually result in lower frequencies of guns ending up in criminal hands.
However, it is also apparent that the politics involved in gun control are not as clear cut as simply wanting to stop crime, ban all handguns, or the right to own a gun. Gun legislation is about conflicts in people’s culture and way of life. The dilemma is indicative of the vast variety of opinions that our legislators represent.
Over the years the United States has been the land of gun violence. The 2017 statistics show that there are approximately 310 million firearms against the population of over 306 million. This estimation gives a true picture of how guns in the United States, especially when they fall into the hands of irresponsible persons can be misused.
Not once, twice or thrice the number of gun mass killing have been reported in the different parts of the United States. The findings attest that the United States tops the list when it comes to gun violence. This phenomenon has been a thorn in the flesh for the federal government. However, the analysts perceive that over the years all country administrations have done nothing to resolve this critical issue.
Gun violence in the United States is a serious issue and therefore, it is high time the federal government and other concerned parties came up with strict legislation to curb the misuse of guns in the country. Based on the above issues, it is evident that there is a need for the government and other stakeholders to employ appropriate mechanisms that will limit the misuse of firearms.
Despite that the federal government has been trying to overcome this ever occurring problem, there is a robust solution that can be employed through the influence of the international community to end the menace.
For example, the international community can boycott traveling to the United States to force the federal government to undertake serious gun restriction measures. The findings show that some of the European citizens have already adopted this strategy for their own and if the other continents take similar actions, the federal government will be forced to take the issue of gun control seriously. In conclusion, this essay finds that legislators appear to lack some empathy.
This because they have done little to control gun violence in the country. It is the right time for the legislators to get out of the public offices if they cannot serve the interests of the citizens. The mass killings of the innocent civilians’ calls for serious gun control measures. The federal government has failed to do so severely and therefore; it is time for the international community to get in and save innocent citizens from gun violence sadists.
As we all know, gun control has been a rising issue in the United States since the early 2000s. This is because of the extremely high number of mass shootings that have occurred in America in recent years. Between 2000 and 2014 there were at least 126 mass shootings.
The United States has the highest rate of gun violence in the world. There are more guns than people. There is a never-ending controversy on whether gun control laws should be stricter, remain the same, or even be less strict. I interviewed one of my friends to see what his opinion was about the issue. I first asked him his stance. He doesn’t think there should be more restrictions on gun control. When I asked him why he felt this way he gave me a couple of reasons.
First, as most people with this belief would say, he said that if someone wanted to kill other people they would find a way regardless of what the law says. Another common saying is guns don’t kill people, people kill people. Gun violence occurs because some people don’t respect the right all Americans have to live. Guns aren’t the problem. He gave me an example to back up his claim as well.
He said that the United Kingdom has very strict gun control laws, but the violent crime rate hasn’t decreased, it has actually risen. In fact, their crime rate has doubled since they passed the Firearms amendment that banned handguns and made overall stricter gun regulations (Gun Facts). People found other ways to kill others, such as stabbing. The United Kingdom’s homicide rate has always been lower than the United States due to cultural differences, not differences in the law.
Next, he said there are already a lot of regulations you need to go through in order to purchase a gun. Things that disqualify you from having a gun include being a fugitive, an addict, have been convicted, are mentally ill, have had a restraining order against you, are dishonorably discharged from the military, are not a legal citizen, and more.
The laws also vary in different states. I, however, disagree with this. I believe it should definitely be harder to purchase a gun than it is. And I also believe it’s too easy to purchase one illegally and something needs to be done about that. You don’t even need a background check if you buy a gun online, at a gun show, or through a private sale (Criminal Watch Dog).
Another reason he stated is that guns are how we protect ourselves from a tyrannical government, which I guess is true, and the whole reason we have the Second Amendment in the first place. The Second Amendment 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.
The whole reason for this amendment is because way back when we needed to protect ourselves, so the government wouldn’t abuse its power. He said that the first step to taking away people’s rights is taking away their right to bear arms. The example he gave is Nazi Germany.
They were being abused by the government and weren’t allowed to fight back and also couldn’t fight back because they were not allowed to bear arms. This resulted in the death of five to six million Jews, more than three million Soviet prisoners of war, more than two million Soviet civilians, more than one million Polish civilians, more the one million Yugoslav civilians, about 70,000 handicapped civilians, and more than 200,000 gypsies (The Telegraph).
I believe there will forever be an on-going debate about the issue and no matter what solution we come up with people are going to be upset and disagree. I don’t think I know enough to have a complete stance on this topic. I think I am neutral. I agree with some things my friend talked about such as people are always going to find a way to kill other people, but I disagree that gun control laws are already strict enough.
I think people should have to go through a bigger, more improved process in order to purchase a firearm. I also think that we shouldn’t completely take away the Second Amendment, but maybe revise it.
The debate over gun control has developed into a very complicated issue. Several different groups have suggested limiting the use of guns and others have proposed supporting free gun use. On one side, people who use some form of gun control imply that guns are responsible for too many deaths and injuries in the United States.
They propose that laws be passed to make guns more difficult or impossible for ordinary citizens to own. On the other side are those people who oppose all or nearly all forms of gun control. This paper will propose three different issues to argue against the element of gun control. First, we need to control the people who use guns, not the guns themselves.
Second, gun ownership is a constitutional right granted by the United States Constitution. Finally, the fact of the decrease in crime.
One of the major arguments against the theory that gun control would save lives is that although two-thirds of all homicides are committed with firearms, firearm controls would have no effect on homicide, because “human nature is what it is? (Nisbet 170). Even if guns disappeared from the crime scene, criminals would replace them with knives, clubs, axes, or even fists. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. One statement favoring this position, made by James D. Wright, says:
Even if we were somehow able to remove all firearms from civilian possession, it is not at all clear that a substantial reduction in interpersonal violence would follow. Certainly, the violence that results from hard-core and predatory criminality would not abate by very much. Even the most ardent proponents of stricter gun laws no longer expect such laws to solve the hard-core crime problem, or even to make much of a dent in it. There is also reason to doubt whether the “soft-core” violence, the so-called crimes of passion, would decline by very much.
Stated simply, these crimes occur because some people have come to hate others, and they will continue to occur in one form or another as long as hatred persists…If we could solve the problem of interpersonal hatred, it may not matter very much what we did about guns, and unless we solve the problem of interpersonal hatred, it may not matter very much what we do about guns. There are simply too many other objects in the world that can serve the purpose of inflicting harm on another human being. (Nesbit 171)
It is said that if murderers were deprived of guns, they would find a way to kill with other weapons. The basic argument for gun control is that crime would decrease, but the root causes of crime, in most cases, is that of “interpersonal hatred” the disliking of someone for one’s own personal reasons, which must be considered when choosing a side for or against gun control. Even the most effective gun control policy would not totally eliminate homicide; this argument could be criticized for not dealing with the concept of “interpersonal hatred” (Nesbit 175).
Many gun-owners agree that those who are promoting gun control are misinformed. These people have probably heard myths, exploited through repetition, and mistaken for the truth. One of those myths is “the only purpose of a handgun is to kill people? (NRA 5). To contradict this statement, an estimated 75-80 million privately owned handguns are used mainly for hunting, target shooting, protection of families, and other legitimate and lawful purposes (Newton 24).
Most gun owners can be found skeet shooting, deer hunting, or polishing a gun collection. However, these owners are also concerned about their family’s protection. All of those who own guns for these reasons have the support of the National Rifle Association (NRA).
The NRA is composed largely of hunters, gun owners, and sports enthusiasts who stand firmly in their belief that Americans have a constitutional right to own firearms guaranteed by the Second Amendment. The NRA’s 3.5 million members, including women and non-gun owners, believe the NRA to be a bastion for “freedom fighters” (“Gun” 37). NRA leaders plan to continue their fight to stop any and all gun control legislation in its tracks.
Anti-individual rights crowds accuse the NRA of claiming the Second Amendment guarantees guns for all persons including criminals and all weapons including weapons of war. However, the NRA has supported laws to prohibit gun ownership by those convicted of violent crimes, and for decades, they have promoted and helped pass tough penalties to keep those who misuse guns in prison where they belong (LaPierre 17).
With the exception of guns processed by criminals, Ex. NRA President, Joe Foss, describes his group?s convictions this way: I say all guns are good guns. There are no bad guns. I say the whole nation should be armed. Period? (Landau 39). When asked about the Second Amendment, the battle is to retake the most precious, most sacred ground on earth,? says NRA Executive Vice President, Wayne LaPierre, “This is a battle for freedom? (“Fight” 29).
Another myth is that of “The majority of Americans favor strict new additional federal gun controls? (NRA 2). Scientific polls indicate that most people oppose the costly restrictions of firearms, the distribution of power to police to decide who should or should not own guns, and the decision that they, as citizens, must rely on self-defense from criminals. More than ever, politicians are clamoring to restrict America?s constitutional right to own guns and the right to self-defense.
Yet, Americans, individually, as armed citizens are the best deterrent to violent criminal attacks. Collectively, Americans, as an armed law-abiding populace are the best protection against the taking-over of America by criminals (LaPierre 28). John Adams, a member of the NRA himself, was quoted as saying, “Arms in the hands of citizens may be used at individual discretion…in private self-defense” (NRA 27).
Professors James Wright and Peter Rossi researched a study of the criminal acquisition and found that 81 percent of 1800 criminals agreed that the “smart criminal” will attempt to find out if a potential victim is armed. The reaction to fight back or defend oneself is instinctive of human nature (Baimbridge, par. 7); therefore, we shouldn?t need studies to show us the truth about guns and the basic concept of self-defense.
Obviously, it is not in the best interest of criminals to attack victims who are armed and ready to defend themselves. Wright and Rossi found that 39 percent of felons admitted to aborting a crime because the victim was armed, 34 percent were scared off, shot at, wounded, or captured by an armed victim, and 74 percent of felons felt that burglars avoided occupied dwellings for fear of being shot (Baimbridge, par. 9). Criminals are clearly afraid of private gun owners who choose to defend themselves, and as criminals, they feel freer to commit crimes when a citizen?s right to own a gun has been infringed. The right to self-defense and the right to use firearms for defense of self and family is the cornerstone of individual rights in the U.S. Constitution (LaPierre 27).
Yet another myth, “Gun control reduces crime” (NRA 25) is either believed or not believed by almost every citizen in the United States. Each side claims to have objective evidence to support their side. Gun control politics have grown to an intense stage in the past few years due to the ever-growing fear of crime. The idea that gun control would reduce crime is simply preposterous. Although many studies have shown that exempting gun laws would reduce crime, there is no cure today?s society. The National Institute of Justice concluded that over 20,000 gun control laws? had no impact on reducing criminal violence? (Baimbridge, par. 8).
A nationwide study found that violent crimes fell after states made it legal to carry concealed handguns. Homicide decreased 8.5 percent, rape fell 5 percent, and aggravated assault dropped 7 percent (Cauchon A4). In the District of Columbia, no civilian can legally buy or carry a handgun, nor keep a loaded or assembled gun in the home. In the years before 1976, the District of Columbia had a fairly low crime rate, but since then, it has risen dramatically to become one of the highest in the nation (Baimbridge, par. 8).
Also, following a series of brutal rapes in Orlando, Florida, over 3,000 women were trained and outfitted with handguns. The endeavor was highly publicized. Following the training period, the total number of rapes committed dropped 90 percent. There was also a 25 percent decline in assault and burglary in the same area (Landau 34).
One of the main problems interfering with the acceptance of gun control is that criminals do not acquire their guns legally anyway. Criminals obtain their guns through illegal gun dealers. Does a Florida prisoner state that it is a? fantasy that just because guns are outlawed, we the crooks can?t get guns…the only people who can?t are the ones we victimize? (Baimbridge, par. 4).
In 1992, the Washington Post discovered that 25 percent of the inmates at Washington D.C.’s Lorton Prison openly admitted that they would acquire a gun as soon as they were released (Baimbridge, par. 5). Dale Thurston of the anti-gun control group, Citizens for a Better Stockton, stated:?If guns were removed from us, we would discover why we need them, you need them in order to preserve freedom. When you lose them, you lose freedom? (Landau 32).
Perhaps the myth most people argue about is “The right guaranteed under the Second Amendment is limited specifically to the arming of a “well-regulated militia” that can be compared today to the National Guard? (NRA 18). The Second Amendment 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? (Strahinich 40).
Anti-gun groups refer to select groups as the “people” and claim that only the National Guard has the constitutional right to bear arms. Richard Henry Lee, a senator in the First Congress, supported the truth of the Second Amendment, and backed it up with the issue that, ?a militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves…and include…all men capable of bearing arms? (NRA 27).
A poll given by a popular magazine shows that 75 percent of all American voters believe that the Constitution guarantees them the right to own a gun (?Fight? 29). In the words of Thomas Jefferson,?No man shall ever be disbarred the use of arms? (NRA 28). Yale Law Professor, Akhil Amar, again and again, emphasizes the Second Amendment guarantees the right to firearms to “the people” not “the states:”
When the Constitution means “states” it says so…The ultimate right to keep and bear arms belongs to “the people,” not the “states”…Thus the “people” at the core of the Second Amendment are the citizens? the same “We the people” who ordain and establish? the constitution and whose right to assemble is at the core of the first amendment…Presently, it is quite common to speak loosely of the National Guard as the “state militia,” but when the Second Amendment was written, ?the militia? referred to all citizens capable of bearing arms. Thus “the militia” is identical to “the people…” (LaPierre 13)
Nevertheless, no matter what any group or person has to declare about the Second Amendment, the framers of the Constitution left no doubt about the power that guns represent, both to the government and to private citizens (Baimbridge, par. 18).
The Supreme Court has practically refused to discuss the issue of the Second Amendment. Do some criticize the Supreme Court?s position in not choosing aside about the Second Amendment. It has been said that the Second Amendment is part of the Supreme Court?s family; We have to occasionally acknowledge that he’s there, but no one wants to spend time with him (?Fight? 37).
Two particular Supreme Court cases have been acknowledged because they seem to favor the Second Amendment. In the US vs Verdugo-Urquidez, 1990, the Supreme Court ruled that “people” had the same meaning in the Second Amendment as in the first, fourth, ninth, and tenth. Also, in Perpich vs Department of Defense, the Supreme Court ruled that since the National Guard is subject to federal control, it is not the militia referred to in the Second Amendment (Baimbridge, par. 17).
Expressing his disappointment and disgust with the Supreme Court, Wayne LaPierre says, Let’s get it over with. Let’s take this to the Supreme Court and have it out? (?Fight? 37). We can hope that the recent weapons ban will eventually provide the Supreme Court with the opportunity to make a definite statement concerning the Second Amendment.
As for the future of gun control, it is suggested that in the next thirty years, a national handgun strategy will be brought forward. According to the FBI,?Something is going to have to be done to lower the decibel level of this debate. There is more hyperbole, more exaggeration, more misquoted statistics, and more misplaced passion than we need for a subject this serious? (Newton 98).
Many factors can influence the direction of future handgun policy. A sharp decline in public fear would decrease the demand for handguns; at the same time, if this resulted in reduced violent crime, it would reduce the need for handgun control (Zimring 183). If owning a loaded handgun is viewed by the typical man as more a part of the gun problem than as a respectable practice, prospects for restrictive control will improve over time. However, an increase in concerns for family security will influence the demand for handguns long before it affects the national policy for handguns (Zimring 184).
Gun control is a fundamental human rights issue. Law-abiding people carrying firearms have never been a threat to society. But have created overwhelming evidence to support the positive results of carrying concealed firearms. When we ban guns, we make sure that only criminals have guns. The police can?t always be there to protect us, so we must take some responsibility for our own protection.
Law-abiding citizens should have the right to own whatever gun they choose to defend themselves and their country from those who would take away their liberty. In the words of Richard Henry Lee,? To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possesses arms? (NRA 28).
Gun control is undoubtedly an issue that most Americans have been exposed to. In 1989, guns killed 11,832 Americans. The National Rifle Association (NRA) members believe that it is their constitutional right to own guns, stating that guns are not the root of the crime problem in the United States. Gun control activists like the members of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV) argue that guns are responsible for the majority of violent crimes that take place. They wish to instill many types of bans and waiting periods on firearms, making it nearly impossible to obtain a handgun.
In fact, in 1993 the Brady Bill, which mandates a waiting period on buying firearms, was passed. Their arguments range from protecting children to saying that guns are diseases, but when one looks at the facts, though, the arguments of gun control advocates seem irrelevant and it becomes clear that guns should not be controlled. The Supreme Court has been very careful in limiting the rights of individuals to carry firearms.
They have also been debating about whether the framers intended the Second Amendment to apply to individuals, or to state militias. In US v. Cruikshank, 92 U.S. 542 (1875) the court ruled that laws could be passed regarding gun control. The court said ?The right they’re specified is that of ‘bearing arms for a lawful purpose.’ This is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence. The second amendment declares that it shall not be infringed; but this, as has been seen, means no more than that it shall not be infringed by Congress.
This is one of the amendments that have no other effect than to restrict the powers of the national government, leaving the people to look for their protection against any violation by their fellow-citizens of the rights it recognizes, to what is called, in The City of New York v. Miln, 11 Pet. 139, the ‘powers which relate to merely municipal legislation, or what was, perhaps, more properly called internal police,’ ‘not surrendered or restrained’ by the Constitution of the United States? (FindLaw). This case laid the groundwork for future gun control legislation. The court again ruled that it could limit the right to bear arms in Cases v. the United States, 131 F. 2d 916, 922 (1st Cir. 1942), cert. denied, 319 U.S. 770 (1943).
The court, upholding a similar provision of the Federal Firearms Act, said: ”Apparently, then, under the Second Amendment, the federal government can limit the keeping and bearing of arms by a single individual as well as by a group of individuals, but it cannot prohibit the possession or use of any weapon which has any reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well-regulated militia” (FindLaw). Through all of this, the court always emphasized that it must be careful not to infringe on the rights granted under the second amendment. The debate still rages on to this day over whether or not the second amendment applies to individuals or not. Gun ownership by private citizens is protected under the Second Amendment.
It states that 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. The forefathers of our country meant for the people to own and use firearms, and any law or control on that right would be unconstitutional. Gun control activists essentially believe the Second Amendment guarantees only to its militia the right of arms, but the Gun control proponents have yet to identify even a single quote from one of the founders to support their claim (Silver 78).
The Second Amendment supports gun owners, and hard evidence that it does otherwise is nonexistent. I feel that the founding fathers believed it necessary for private citizens to possess firearms not only to protect themselves but also to prevent the government from tyrannizing them. It is a popular quote in the NRA that the second amendment holds up the first. I believe that this is true. In Germany in the 1930s, as people who did not support Hitler and his Nationalist Party were speaking out against him, Hitler took action to pass legislation to ban private ownership of firearms.
Hitler said “The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subjected people to carry arms?? (Whitley). Following this, the now defenseless people that did not support Hitler were imprisoned, and millions of Jews and others were executed. If they had been armed, possibly they could have defended themselves. In America, our rights are guaranteed because the government knows that people have the ability to revolt. The founders intended for this, noting that if the constitution was no longer viable; it should be ripped up and redone.
If Americans no longer had the right to bear arms, we would truly be governed and not the governing. Noah Webster said, Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword because the whole body of the people is armed (Whitley). I agree with this statement and would equate it to mean no guns, no freedom. Gun control advocates have been lobbying for many years for the passage of the Brady Bill, which called for a mandatory waiting period for all national firearm sales. Ironically, the passage of this bill in 1993 has done nothing to reduce crime; in fact, violence has risen still since the passage of the bill.
This bill, which was made out to be more than it really is by its supporters, has become the prime distinction in most American’s minds with gun control. A waiting period did not help the present situation at all, and similar measures are almost certainly going to assume the same fate. There are some members of the Senate, led by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) that while supporting the second amendment, are proposing common-sense measures to attempt to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals, children, and the mentally incompetent without infringing on the rights of law-abiding citizens. It is this type of antigun control that I support.
McCain supports background checks and waiting periods but does not want to penalize the law-abiding citizens that any gun control measure should be aimed to protect (McCain). Private ownership of firearms is not a public health hazard. Gun control activists argue otherwise, but to put guns in the same category as influenza and pneumonia is absurd. The Advocates state that guns are a public health issue and almost deadlier than automobiles to the public.
The fact is that more Americans die yearly from pneumonia and influenza than in all homicides and suicides, even non-gun related, combined. Many people listen to doctors, who reason that guns are pathogens. The definition of a pathogen is an object that causes disease when introduced to a pathogen-free environment (AMA). There are 200 million privately owned guns in America, and only an utterly tiny fraction of them are used in crimes. According to the definition, guns are not pathogens and not a public health hazard. The presence of a gun, specifically a handgun, is beneficial to a civilian in the event of a robbery or intrusion because the victim would be able to use the gun for defense.
The gun control activists are right- there is too much crime in the United States. Instead of attempting to reduce the number of firearms in circulation, this energy and money should be diverted into anti-crime applications. Many law-abiding citizens own handguns and other firearms that they use for their own protection, probably because the amount of crime present troubles them and drives them to purchase a gun for self-defense. As David E. Newton shows, between the years of 1937 and 1963, gun ownership in the United States increased by 250 percent. In that same period, the number of homicides decreased by 35. 7 percent (Newton 40). Guns are clearly not the problem.
I feel that the liberal media affects the way the public perceives guns and gun control. People think that guns kill and maim innocents, but affect no good for their owners. The liberal media seems to magnify every time a gun is used to harm an innocent person. My question is why don?t we hear about when a woman uses her gun to shoot and kill an intruder who would have raped and killed her? Or the man that defends his family by shooting the person that breaks into his home?
Why won’t the media report these occurrences? The problem with most gun control measures is that gun violence depends not so much on the number of guns as to who owns them. As an anti-gun control slogan states, if guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns (Bernards 54). This is true, stating that if the circulation of firearms was limited to only officials, meaning that private citizens would not have guns, then only criminals would have firearms (illegally of course) and the public could not defend themselves. Most of the criminals who commit violent crimes with guns did not obtain their guns legally. Toughening up gun control laws is not going to reduce crime. Another liberal argument against guns is using their children as the reason for gun control.
The liberals will say,?Do you want your child to be killed with a gun?? That question is absurd. That is like asking if you want your child hit by a bus. Without guns, however, how will we be able to protect our families from the criminals that will illegally possess guns? Gun control activists say that the waiting period will reduce the number of criminals who obtain firearms, but the NRA says that waiting periods are ineffective.
Do they argue that if a criminal’s mind was set on committing a crime, a waiting period would merely become another obstacle. Even if a background check were to take place during the waiting period, and the criminal was denied the sale of a gun, a weapon could easily be obtained elsewhere: stolen, bought illegally, or another weapon could be used. The point is that a criminal with the premeditation to act out a crime is going to do so, whether a waiting period is present or not. Guns stored at home are not great dangers to innocent people like children, despite what the public thinks. The slogan of the National Rifle Association says it the best, guns don’t kill, people do (NRA). Children who are properly taught gun-safety measures are less likely to be involved in gun-related accidents or with a crime.
If an adult in the household has access to a firearm, such a child?s life could actually be saved if an intrusion were to take place. As David B. Kopel states, Gun control Advocates are hammering at the issue of children and guns as never before in the hope that it will be easier to enact gun controls aimed at adults in an atmosphere of panic about children (Kopel 38). Mr. Kopel is the Director of the Second Amendment Project at the Independence Institute. Children are not in any danger that cannot be prevented with the correct educative measures.
The ban on Assault weapons will not help reduce gun violence. Despite the scary-looking, military-style features, the assault weapons are no more lethal than hundreds of legal firearms. First of all, the definition of an assault weapon is not distinct and under the national ban, no one knows what an assault weapon is and what a regular firearm is. (NRA) Giving the name assault weapon is similar to giving red vehicles with speedometers that go beyond one hundred miles per hour the name death cars because these are said to be the favored vehicles of drunk and reckless drivers.
Assault weapons are or were surprisingly attributed to less than one-quarter of one percent of violent crimes in New Jersey. A police officer has a better chance of encountering a wild bear from the local zoo than confronting an assault weapon.
But the liberal media makes this a priority, ignoring the facts. Gun control should not take place. The constitution prohibits it, common sense when it comes to protection invalidates it, many statistics prove it, and any reasonable person when confronted with the facts will disagree with it. Guns are not health hazards, a danger to children, nor preventable with hassling bills and restrictions. The many differences in types of guns do not give reason to ban these guns called Assault Weapons.
The second amendment should end the argument to the whole gun control debate, and maybe in a few years, another analysis of it will. Or maybe gun control activists, instead of trying to prevent the ownership of guns, which deter crime, should focus their energy and effort towards the root of the crime problem- the criminals.
Regulation of guns is a necessary action that needs to be taken in order to save lives. A good definition of gun control is needed to understand the sides and issues. Gun control is an effort to stop the rise in violent crime by strengthening laws on the ownership of firearms. Persons in the group against gun control believe that gun control is wrong and that it is a violation of constitutional rights. Those in favor of gun control believe that gun control is good, that the Second Amendment does not apply to regular citizens, and that guns should be taken out of the hands of criminals.
There are several major anti-gun control groups. These groups include the National Rifle Association (NRA), and the Gun Owners of America (GOA). The NRA is a national group dedicated to the upholding of the Second Amendment of the Constitution (See Appendix). In their magazines, American Hunter and American Rifleman, they say “The NRA, . . . believes that every law-abiding citizen is entitled to the ownership and legal use of firearms, . . . ” The NRA does many things to help display their beliefs and persuade others to their beliefs.
This association also has a strong pull on legislation, because it has many lobbyists and supporters in government. This group has many members in Congress, and former presidents George Bush and Ronald Reagan are NRA members. The NRA lobbies for several types of legislation. For example, the NRA is currently trying to repeal the ban on assault weapons. A lot of money is spent each year on legislation (See Appendix for figures).
The Gun Owners of America is another group that is against gun control. The GOA preserves and defends the rights of gun owners through legislation. They publish books, articles, and videos on gun issues and how those issues affect people. They also conduct seminars for the press and Congress about issues on the Second Amendment and gun issues.
The GOA opposes bans on semiautomatic weapons, armor-piercing ammunition, and handguns. In addition, many groups are pro-gun control in the United States. The major group for gun control is Handgun Control, Inc. (HCI), which is headed by Sarah Brady. Mrs. Brady is the wife of James Brady, who was shot during an attempt on President Reagan’s life in 1981. Another major group is the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV), which was formerly known as the National Coalition to Ban Handguns. The CSGV believes that handguns should be outlawed completely, with a few exceptions, such as the military, police, and sportsmen who keep their guns locked up together in a gun club. Some accomplishments of HCI are laws prohibiting the interstate sale of handguns, and laws prohibiting the sale of “assault weapons.
The main goal of this organization was to pass the Brady Bill. Some of its other goals are to ban multiple sales of handguns, to create gun-free zones around all of the schools, and to establish control over who can manufacture and sell weapons. HCI is working very hard to achieve these goals. The CSGV is dedicated to the total removal of guns from the hands of citizens, with a few exceptions. The CSGV is trying very hard to put gun banning legislation in the law.
They believe that if there are fewer guns out on the streets, then there will be fewer gun crimes committed. The anti-gun control people believe in several major ideas. They believe that the second amendment rights apply only to the militia, which they define as a group such as the National Guard and not regular citizens. These people also believe that by controlling numbers of guns on the streets gun violence can be reduced. The national government doing working with the issue of gun control. There have been several bills passed in the last ten years that have to do with gun control. First, there was the Gun Control Act of 1986, which banned all fully automatic weapons from the hands of citizens.
Then in 1988, there was the Brady Bill, who made a seven-day waiting period mandatory for all handgun purposes, this law passed the House of Representatives in 1991, but part of it was ruled unconstitutional in 1994. Most recently there was the ban on assault weapons, which bans the sale and manufacture of what the government considers assault weapons. Both the NRA and HCI have fought very hard against one another to pass some bills and to keep some bills from becoming law. Both sides of this argument present very strong cases. They have many facts and statistics to use as weapons (see Appendix for data of both sides).
The stronger case being presented by the pro-gun control groups. The NRA has several good points, but HCI has points that are more relevant to the society we live in. Pro-gun control groups can prove that crime can be reduced with more gun control laws by showing death statistics in countries with stricter gun control laws (Figure 1.1).
The NRA argues differently but does not have the extremely convincing evidence to back their ideas up. To save more lives from death by firearms, some compromise must be made between these groups. Losing some time or money to buy a gun could save many lives. The NRA argues that people are guaranteed the right to own guns in the Second Amendment (See Appendix for the text of this amendment), but anti-gun control groups say that the law applies only to a militia, not individuals. The pro-gun control groups have a stronger case because they can prove that lives will be saved. Take away the guns, and there will be no gun violence, it makes sense. Appendix Figure 1.1 Handgun Control, Inc. “In 1988, handguns killed 7 people in Great Britain, 19 in Sweden, 53 in Switzerland, 25 in Israel, 13 in Australia, 8 in Canada, and 8,915 in the United States.”
Figure 1.2 1989 Federal Lobbying Reports This figure shows the amount of money spent by both pro and anti-gun control groups in 1989 lobbying for legislation (1st Half Gross Receipts) Handgun Control, Inc. $3,287,020 National Coalition to Ban Handguns 265,719 ANTI-GUN TOTAL $4,092,739 Citizens for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms $1,158,572 NRA/Institute for Legislative Action 915,603 Gun Owners of America 361,715 PRO-GUN TOTAL $2,435,890 ANTI-GUN ADVANTAGE $1,656,849 Figure 2.1 The Second Amendment to the Constitution “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.”
The shells or cartridges fired from a gun. Anti-gun control. Favoring no restrictions on the access of law-abiding citizens to firearm ownership. Armor-piercing bullets. A type of bullet that can penetrate protective vests or other gear sometimes worn by law-enforcement officers. Background check. A type of gun control requiring a review of the background of a potential gun owner to check for a criminal record or history of drug or alcohol abuse. Ban. A law or act that prohibits the acquisition or sale of a particular item, such as a gun.
A device for storing, and firing of ammunition. Fully automatic weapon. A gun that can fire many rounds with one pull of the trigger, such as a machine gun. Gun-control law. Any law that restricts the ownership or sale of firearms. Handgun. A short, thick-barreled firearm that can be handheld. Lobby. An organization that uses its political power to promote causes supported by its membership. Militia. 1. As defined by the Constitution it includes all able-bodied men between 18 and 45.
Defined by the pro-gun control groups, it means the members of groups such as the National Guard and the armed forces Pro-gun control. Favoring restrictions on the access of citizens to firearm ownership. Rifle. A long, thick-barreled firearm with a handle that fits to the shoulder. Semiautomatic. A firearm with a removable magazine and a trigger that must be pulled once to fire each shot.