Argument Against Gun Control Essay
The United States Constitution was constructed from a set of rules, also known as amendments, which were written with the great intention of securing the basic rights of all United States citizens and as such, it serves as an outline for the laws of the land by dictating the powers of the people and what is acceptable under the watch of the United States government. These rights are considered a privilege afforded to the people and should be exercised as indicated within the document.
The history behind the induction of the second amendment began in the nineteenth century when in the summer of 1787, the Framers (included US Presidents) conspired with one another to write the articles of the United States Constitution during the constitutional convention. Fifty-five men drafted this document which serves as the blueprint of the United States government today. The motivation to construct and devise such a plan was created in order to give American citizens the absolute rights to proper enjoyment over their own lives. This point is further illustrated in an article written by Max Farrand entitled “The Framing of the Constitution of the United States”. In it, Farrand starts off his book by stating “Thirteen British colonies had asserted and established their independence because they declared the form of government under which they had been living was destructive of their “unalienable rights” of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” (Farrand, 1913, p. 1) Therefore, the notion of freedom as a nation is detailed within an absolute vital document written over 200 years ago and which is very much closely followed today.
One right in particular is the right to own and operate a firearm. For instance, the second amendment gives us the right to bear arms and states verbatim, “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.” (U.S. Constitution) Due to the terms agreed upon by our forefathers, we have the right to protect ourselves and our families by use of a firearm against threat which can endanger a life. Firearms are responsible for more than 31,000 deaths and an estimated 74,000 nonfatal injuries among US residents each year, most of which are violence related. (Siegel, Ross & King, 2013, p. 1)
Over the past several decades, there has been much debate over whether the use of firearms have been within the standards of the written law due to countless tragedies which have been tied to the use of handguns. Many believe that these occurrences could have been prevented if the United States government had revisited and imposed additional restrictions on the nations gun bearing population by way of recommending effective ways to combat gun use and introduce innovative approaches towards the severity of gun activity.
With that being said, it remains transparent that gun control is an issue which has had a vast negative effect on our society as a whole and as a result, an evaluation of the second amendment should be conducted and the meaning for the right of the people to keep and bear arms must be reassessed to benefit all.
Legislation and the United States Supreme court system have been in debate for quite some time over the issue of gun control. There have been various loopholes and laws being challenged by groups which are both against and for the use of firearms. Whether the second amendment has been taken out of context is a topic of discussion with has had little resolution. By far, the hope will always be to find common ground in this meeting of the minds so that as a nation, we no longer have to live through the battles of gun violence and hear about the effect it has on innocent bystanders. “Ordinary forms of gun control such as licensing laws, bans on concealed carry, and prohibitions on particular types of weapons are, by contrast, attempts to regulate the right rather than eliminate it and are routinely upheld. So long as a gun control measure is not a total ban on the right to bear arms, the courts will consider it a mere regulation of the night.” (Winkler, 2007, p. 717)
Consequently, the government must take greater responsibility to control who is given access to firearms due to public safety measures, prevention of violent crimes and misuse.
Before delving into these touchy subjects, there are six ethical points to touch upon with relation to gun control which is of importance since the debate is on each end of the issue. It is fair to accept that there will always be opposing sides with respect to gun control and groups who will depict the pros and cons of the second amendment, therefore, it is important to know the difference between all parties involved. However, it is equally important that privileges are not being abused or mismanaged rather used for the greater good.
First and foremost, libertarianism and fundamental rights are two sets of individual groups who are all for the use of firearms. These groups believe in the second amendment and the ability to protect oneself as well as the rights of loved ones against imposed threat. To further illustrate, the attitude of someone who is pro-gun is detailed in the article, “An ethical analysis of the 2nd amendment: The right to pack heat at work”, as it states “the contention is that criminals will more carefully think about committing crimes if they know that potential victims might be armed.” (Martin, 2014, p. 10) In addition, these groups concern themselves with protecting their assets and strongly believe that state law and the second amendment defend their right to do so. With that being said, there is statistical evidence which supports the idea that firearms are in the best interest of the people and that a trend in possession of firearms is equal to less crime. In Kates and Moody, “Testing the more guns equals more murder thesis”, “The homicide rate for 2010 was roughly 32% lower than the rate in 1946. And year by year in the 2000’s, American murder rates remained nearly the same or dropped—notwithstanding that each of these years saw the addition of four to five million new guns to the total gunstock.” (Kates & Moody, 2011, p. 1446)
Gun Control Research Paper
The creation of the Bill of Rights in 1791 sparked the beginning of the gun control debate. There are essentially two sides of history centered around this debate; one side argues for gun rights and the other side argues for gun control. “Gun rights” refers to the right to keep and bear arms, whereas “gun control” refers to the policies and laws that are enacted to regulate the manufacture, sale, possession, and use of firearms. America owns more guns than any other nation, therefore it is not surprising that America has the highest death rate due to gun violence in the world (Horsley, "Guns In America, By The Numbers."). This alarming fact supports the idea that stricter laws need to be enacted in the United States. This ongoing conflict is deeply rooted in American history, and endless speculation has proved this conflict to be of interest for all U.S. citizens.. However, the turmoil created by both views is unlikely to cease in the near future.
The danger that comes with guns demonstrates that stricter gun laws need to be enacted in the United States. This paper will explore the alternative interpretations of the Second Amendment and its role in American history. Next, the reality of homicide as it relates to gun control will be considered. Finally, the positive and negative effects of gun-control policies will be scrutinized. The recent shootings at Newtown, CT and Orlando, FL have indicated the urgent need for stricter regulation that will make it more difficult for citizens to possess a firearm.
In December of 1971, the Bill of Rights in the Constitution announced the Second Amendment. 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 aspect of this amendment that needs to be emphasized is ‘well regulated.’ These two words give modern day politics a context for which it was written. It is important to realize that different time periods mean different political atmospheres. In the eighteenth century, the Founding Father’s fear was a large federal government. The idea of a union of sovereign states was new and potentially dangerous. Though the fear of state militias was relevant in the eighteenth century, this fear is unnecessary today. The mention of a militia suggests a military force from a civil population. This clarifies that the Second Amendment is predicated on groups, not individuals. The reason this amendment centers on groups is because at this point in history, the threat of a standing army was extremely prevalent. The notion of a militia points to a citizen’s army of self-defense that was under governmental authority. Shay’s Rebellion exemplifies what a militia was intended to be used for. Shay’s Rebellion was a 1786-1787 uprising in Western Massachusetts that occurred prior to the construction of the Constitution. This rebellion, however, would not have enjoyed constitutional protection. The Framers would have most likely viewed this as an armed mob, which as mentioned before, is decided to be very different than a well regulated militia, which would be under constitutional protection. This rebellion also demonstrated the danger guns and armed groups acting without governmental authority could pose. Therefore, the Framers decided it was necessary to differentiate between an armed mob and a militia. In the Founder’s view, if you do not have regulation, you have anarchy. Only second to tyranny, anarchy was the reality they feared most. The contemporary understanding has become radically different. Allowing this prevalence of weapons and guns to go unregulated has lead to a gun violence epidemic that has spread from cities such as Boston, MA; New York, NY; and Orlando, FL. Overall, every right is apt to reasonable regulation, including gun rights. (Cornell, “The Second Amendment Permits Reasonable Regulations on Gun Ownership.”)
The Second Amendment is a strong justification for gun control advocates. However, the opposing argument of gun rights has also used the Second Amendment as a reason for unregulated gun ownership. Gun rights proponents view gun control policies as an attack on the Second Amendment.
Supreme Court decisions such as the case of Printz vs U.S. support the view that citizens have a fundamental right to own firearms for the purpose of self defense against violence or tyranny. This court decision centered around the Brady Handgun Prevention Act, or the Brady Bill. The Brady Bill was passed in 1993 and required local chief law enforcement officers to perform background checks. These background checks were to be performed in prospective handgun purchasers, until the Attorney General establishes a federal system for this purpose. County Sheriff Printz challenged whether this bill was constitutional on behalf of the local chief law enforcement officers in Montana and Arizona. Using the Necessary and Proper Clause of Article 1 of the Constitution, Congress tried to enact this form of regulation. The District Court found this bill to be unconstitutional, therefore strengthening the gun rights argument. The Court argued that state legislatures are not subject to federal direction, capitalizing on the fact that the Brady Bill could not require local chief law enforcement officers to perform these tasks. Background checks typically involve a look into a person’s employment, credit, and criminal history for security reasons. Therefore, state legislatures did not have to enforce these checks and citizens could own firearms as a right. (“Printz v. United States.”)
According to Scott Vogel, author of A Well-Regulated Militia: The Founding Fathers and the Origins of Gun Control of America, modern gun rights ideology seems to be rooted in two main arguments. The first is that gun ownership is a God-given right. Gun rights activists believe that owning a firearm is a right that each individual can exercise, according to his or her own conscience. This enforces the statement that people are the problems, not guns. Again, no regulation exemplifies anarchy, or “a state of disorder due to absence or nonrecognition of authority.” The second most common justification of gun rights is self defense. This can be traced back to slavery in American history. In the early stages of our country, judges in the South thought that every white man should have a gun because they were in constant fear of a slave insurrection. (Cornell, “The Second Amendment Permits Reasonable Regulations on Gun Ownership.”)
While the Second Amendment can help determine the prevalence of guns in our society, the actual results of the United State’s lack of regulation can be seen in all corners of our country. From horrifying mass shootings to suicide, guns only encourage homicidal behavior and violence. Therefore, we must now explore the arguments centered around gun violence.
According to the Centers for Disease Control in 2011, approximately 30,000 people die each year through homicides, suicides, and accidents in the United States at the hand of a gun. Moreover, almost a third of gun deaths are the result of suicide. (Lanza et al., “The Effect of Firearm Restrictions on gun-related homicides across US States.”) As previously stated, advocates for gun rights argue that guns don’t kill people, people kill people. However, this has been refuted. On December 14th, 2012, hours before the shooting at Newtown, Connecticut, a deranged Chinese man walked into an elementary school and indiscriminately attacked everyone around him, hitting 22 children using a knife. The use of a knife is significant because if a gun would have been used, the children in the school could have been killed and not just injured. Effective gun control laws in China prevented this man from obtaining a gun. Undoubtedly, a gun would have inflicted much more damage. Ultimately, this event demonstrates that guns can make killings easier. Sociologist Ding Xueliang told CNN, “The huge difference between this case and the U.S. is not the suspect, nor the situation, but the simple fact he did not have an effective weapon.” The United States has the highest rate of gun ownership, with 88.8 guns per 100 people. Therefore is it unsurprising that in 2011, handguns killed 10,728 people in the U.S., compared to 52 people in Canada, 48 in Japan, 34 in Switzerland, and 8 in Great Britain. The U.S. has been noted to be one of the most lax countries in the industrialized world when it comes to gun control. (Griesmann, “Guns Do Kill People.”)
The year of 1968 was also an important year for gun control. The Gun Control Act was fueled by the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Robert Kennedy. The Gun Control Act meant stricter regulations; license requirements were expanded to include all dealers and a more detailed record keeping was expected of them. This act essentially defined those who were banned from possessing firearms. Handgun sales were restricted over state lines; the list of people who could not buy guns included those convicted of felonies(with exceptions), those found mentally ill, drug users, and more. Rifles and shotgun sales through the mail were also forbidden. The lack of security of mail order sales prior to this act is surprising. Previous to when this act was passed, consumers only had to sign a statement that they were over twenty-one years of age for a handgun. This act clearly supports the gun control movement by adding necessary restrictions on the sale of handguns and rifles. (Gettings, “Milestones in Federal Gun Control Legislation.”)
A key mass shooting that upholds the need for stricter gun laws to be enacted in the U.S. is the Orlando nightclub shooting in June of 2016. Fifty people were murdered and dozens more were left wounded. This traumatic event has been by far the deadliest in the past thirty-four years. As America grapples with this reality, we again ask ourselves what can be done to prevent these events. It goes without saying, but the Harvard Injury Control Research Center has confirmed the direct correlation between the number of guns and homicides. While the relationship between the number of guns and homicide is undeniable, gun rights supporters point out that correlation does not equal causation. For example, the reason for fewer homicides in certain states could be linked to the number of guns present in that state. The number of guns present in that state could be linked to the amount of people advocating for gun rights, which could be linked to the number of gun owners in that state. Therefore, the gun rights advocates argue that the relationship between gun control and violent crime is not as simple as gun control supporters say it is. (Ehrenfreund, “Orlando Shooting.”)
The National Rifle Association is of course a major gun rights group. The NRA’s president Wayne LaPierre insisted, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” This statement reinforces the justification of self-defense for ownership. Ultimately, the NRA argues that guns cannot be blamed for the final decision. The rights of one individual should not be hindered by another’s intent to cause harm on him/herself. (Lanza et al., “The Effect of Firearm Restrictions on Gun-related Homicides across U.S. States.”)
Finally, we must take a look at the past and present gun regulation policies in the United States. It is important to note that the goal of the following policies is not to impose on certain rights, but to simply reduce gun violence. The three most critical gun control policies put forth are universal background checks, a ban on high-capacity magazines, and a ban on certain assault weapons.
Background checks, like all other gun control policies, have always been controversial. A background check includes looking up criminal, commercial, and financial records of a person or organization. Gun control advocates argue on behalf of safety. Background checks do not only include the history of a buyer, but also at a person’s mental health. About 80% of the general public blames the mental illness of the shooter. This demonstrates the importance of background checks; if a mentally unstable person possesses a gun, the likelihood of a mass shooting only grows. This consensus has led to demands for tighter restrictions on the mentally ill for purchasing a firearm. Another case in which background checks are necessary is a person’s substance abuse record. Alcohol and drug abuse influence a person’s behavior greatly. Alcohol abuse is twice as strong of a predictor of violence as mental illness, whereas drug abuse increases likelihood of violence to three times as likely. These dramatic increases in chance indicate that background checks have the potential to prevent guns falling into the hands of those who should not be in possession of a lethal weapon. (Lindgren, “Forward: That Past and Future of Guns.”)
Another policy that has also been controversial is a ban on high-capacity magazines. A high-capacity magazine is a storage and feeding device that holds more than a certain number of rounds of ammunition. In several decades in the future, when this policy has decreased the circulation of high-capacity magazines, there is a strong potential for a decrease in mass murders. Among gun control advocates, a ban on high-capacity magazines is favored because this can reduce the number of shots available in the case of a mass shooting, therefore possible gun deaths. For example, the Los Angeles City Council passed an ordinance that would forbid city residents from possessing handgun or rifle magazines that exceed 10 rounds of ammunition. This indicates the logic that most gun control advocates follow; more than 10 rounds of ammunition is unnecessary in self-defense. (Kopel, “The Costs and Consequences of Gun Control.”)
The last focal policy in favor of gun control is a ban on assault weapons. Simply put, this ban restricts the ability to use certain types of firearms which are perceived to be a particular threat to public safety. The purpose of gun regulation is not just about safe storage and the misuse of firearms, but also about actually controlling what weapons are in circulation. (Cornell, “The Second Amendment Permits Reasonable Regulations on Gun Ownership.”)
As far as assault weapon bans are concerned, this policy was actually enacted as a law. The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act became a law in 1994, which was a step forward for gun control advocates. This law banned the manufacture, possession, use, and import of nineteen types of assault weapons, including AK-47’s and Uzis. However, this law expired in 2004. Bernie Sanders, an advocate for the ban of assault weapons, argued, “No one needs an AK-47 to hunt.” An assault rifle is not needed for recreational sports or hunting, therefore the use of this rifle is unnecessary to our day-to-day lives. In order to keep firearms such as an AK-47 out of the hands of everyday citizens, new and tighter policies need to be enacted. (Griesmann, “Guns Do Kill People.”)
While the positive effects of these main three policies are evident, opposition in America is nonstop. Conversely, the opposing side sees these policies as overreach. For instance, background checks are opposed by gun rights proponents because the black market would grow. Under the active National Instant Criminal Background Check System, persons who are in the business of selling firearms must perform a criminal background check prior to any sale. Even if the actual sale is prohibited, the transfer of the gun cannot be regulated. Consider a twenty-five year old man or woman who buys a gun, he or she could give the gun to her brother when she is out of town or to a neighbor for protection. Background checks would be ineffective in such cases. (Kopel, “The Costs and Consequences of Gun Control.”)
A ban on high-capacity magazines means that the part of the firearm where the ammunition is stored would be limited to a certain number of rounds. In 1994, the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act was predicated on the idea that using firearms for recreational use is legitimate. However this act also states that other firearm use is not legitimate. Because this act does not specify limits on ammunition, other measure have been necessary. The term itself, “high-capacity magazine” has a legitimate meaning when referring to a magazine that extends beyond what is intended for the gun’s optimal operation. An example of a high-capacity magazine would be a handgun magazine that has 40 rounds. As opposed to gun control logic, gun rights advocates argue that 10 rounds of ammunition would not be sufficient in cases of self-defense. For example, if a victim is facing multiple attackers or faced with a threat behind a cover, the extra rounds can be crucial for the victim to survive. (Kopel, “The Costs and Consequences of Gun Control.”)
Gun rights proponents argue that a ban on assault weapons would also be an invasion of rights, because if a military invasion occurred, assault weapons would be citizen’s last line of defense. To gun rights advocates, banning assault weapons would make individuals powerless against a greater threat. The gun rights perspective believes that the term “assault weapons” is a political gimmick intended to stir public confusion. The confusion surrounding this policy concerns what type of guns can actually qualify as assault weapons. The types of guns that are banned are constantly being modified over time, but what remains consistent is that automatic firearms are not covered and that guns are not banned based on how fast they fire or how powerful they are. The definition of what weapons are banned are instead based on the name of a gun, or on whether a firearm has certain accessories or components. Most of the guns deemed assault weapons are semi-automatics. Gun rights supporters argue that this is not legitimate because the guns used in the ban are semi-automatics, which are less dangerous than automatic firearms. (Kopel, “The Costs and Consequences of Gun Control.”)
No one can doubt that guns are a large part of American culture. However, the question is whether a part of our culture should cost so many innocent lives. Every U.S. community has been affected by the reckless use of firearms, in the form of accidents, suicides, and homicides. Guns can be used as tools and for recreation, but are also potentially lethal. For a majority of rural America, guns are a part of day-to-day life. Though drastically different, the Republican and Democratic parties are equally American. However, both sides fail to realize that gun regulation is also equally American as gun ownership.Through examining both interpretations of the Second Amendment, assessing the relationship between violence and guns, and exploring two perspectives on gun control policies, it has become clear that gun regulation can serve the common good, rather than gun rights. The nature of gun-related crimes makes absolute prevention impossible, but that does not mean that policies that can decrease violence should be ignored. The bottom line is that guns affect everyone in some way; guns can be a weapon of self-defense in the right hands, but an instrument of destruction in the wrong hands. The ultimate goal is to find that middle ground in reaching the final goal of reducing gun violence. Though deeply rooted in American history, it is safe to say that this debate is long from over.
Honors English 9
8 November 2000
Is It Right for the US?
Over the years there have been many debates about whether or not gun control is a good solution for the United States.As a result, two very distinct sides have formed: one for gun control and one against it.Recently, the pro gun control side has argued that the many school shootings were partly a result of our country’s minimal gun control.To many this may seem like a reasonable argument, but in reality it is an over-generalization; there are many other factors that play a part in horrific events like school shootings.Those against gun control have argued that gun control laws are a violation of citizen’s constitutional rights often saying things like, “to take away the right to have guns is no different from the attempt of the British to “disarm” the colonists during the Revolutionary War” (Hanson 68).But which side is right?Many would say that neither side is completely correct, but when the facts are presented it is obvious that gun control is not a good solution because “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”, self-defense is the number one reason for owning a gun, and because the gun control laws that are being instituted do not work (Zimring 13).
It has been said that “unless we solve the problem of interpersonal hatred it may not matter very much what we do about guns” (20).The fact of the matter is, that is the truth.Those supporting gun control argue that if we restrict guns then murder and crime rates will drop.However, until we solve the hatred in the world there will always be crime and killing.Criminals will find other weapons or find a way to get guns illegally.Studies prove that in areas with more gun laws, crime is higher.Until we can start cracking down on those who commit crimes, gun laws can do nothing to help.It is not the gun that kills, but the person pulling the trigger.
Those who advocate gun control have argued that two-thirds of homicides are committed with a firearm (13).However, even with gun control, homicides would most certainly continue because of human nature (13).Murderers would just turn to another weapon and we would see more homicides committed with knives, axes, clubs, or other weapons (Zimring 13).If someone wants to kill badly enough virtually anything can be turned into a weapon.This can be proven by statistics that show that in cities where there are many gun control laws the crime rate is higher.
It has been argued that gun control laws would help decrease crime rates (Hanson 70).However, studies have proven that gun control laws have the opposite affect.In 1967, New York City passed a rifle and shotgun registration law (70).After the law was passed, crime rates in New York City rose (70).The city of Washington DC passed a handgun ban in 1976, and after that the murder rate in DC tripled (71-72).A 1994 report showed that 304 of Washington DC’s 309 firearm homicides were committed with handguns even though the city had banned handguns (71).Further still, the homicide rate in Washington DC is much higher than the national rate at seventy-five per one hundred thousand; however, the national rate is only 9.5 per one hundred thousand (71).California also has a homicide rate that is 38 percent higher than the rest of the country--even though the state banned assault weapons in 1989 (72).In South Carolina violent crime rose more than 100 percent after they limited the sale of handguns to one per person per month (72).All these statistics prove that gun control is not a solution to our country’s crime problem.We need to crack down on the person pulling the trigger, rather than the availability of guns.
Instead of restricting guns and taking them away from law abiding citizens, a better solution would be to crack down on the criminals and put more emphasis on their punishment (74).Organizations against gun control, like the NRA, suggest reforming the criminal justice system (74).They suggest that the justice system be reformed with five steps (74).First, criminals need to be put in prison (74).71 percent of the criminals sentenced are out on parole or probation (74).Second, adequate sentences need to be imposed (74).On average, criminals serve only one-third of their sentence (74).Third, the system needs to get tough with repeat offenders (74).As many as 237 crimes are committed each year by repeat offenders (74).Fourth, juveniles who commit adult crimes need to serve adult time (74).Only 1.5 percent of juvenile offenders serve time (74).Last, the victims need to be involved in the sentencing process (74).These reforms would help to reduce crime, and instead of punishing everyone, only those deserving punishment would suffer.
Those for gun control argue that restricting guns would help to reduce crime and killing, but the facts show that if guns were banned murderers would use other weapons to kill.The facts also show that in reality gun control has the opposite affect: as more gun control is added, crime rates go up.Finally, because it is the person pulling the trigger that does the killing, not the gun itself, we need to crack down on those doing the killing.Guns can also be used in positive ways, like hunting, collecting, or most importantly self-defense.More often than one would think, the ownership of a gun can mean the difference between life and death.
Texas legislator Suzanna Gratia Hupp remembers, “how her parents were killed with twenty others in a Texas cafeteria massacre in 1991” (qtd. in Dickens para. 30).She said she had a shot at the gunman, but wasn’t carrying her pistol because back then it was against the law (para. 30).“Had my legislators not legislated me out of the right to protect myself and my family, we would have had a chance, at least a chance to protect ourselves” (qtd. in para. 30).
What would have happened if Suzanna Gratia Hupp had had her gun with her?Would her parents or one of those twenty other people be here today?No one could say for sure.This is just one of the many instances that makes self-defense the number one reason for owning a gun (Zimring 30).
First, the statistics show that the most common reason for owning a gun is self-defense (30).Criminologist, Gary Kleck, says handguns are used 2.5 million times each year for self-defense (Dickens para. 29).One poll showed that 66 percent of those owning a gun, which they kept in their home, listed “protection” as their reason for owning the gun (Zimring 30).Another survey of US adults found that 71 percent of those owning a handgun owned it only for self-defense and protection (30).The facts prove that self-defense is the number one reason for owning a gun, but why?
The answer to that question is that criminals are humans too, and it is human nature to be afraid of something that could potentially kill.It has been proven that criminals attack those they consider weak; therefore, attacking those who are unarmed (Kim 43).Studies have shown that criminals fear armed citizens and therefore may be deterred by the knowledge that everyday citizens can purchase guns (Zimring 33).But if gun control laws change that, another crime deterrent is lost.Not only are criminals deterred from homes by guns, but they can also be deterred from businesses by guns (33).If gun control laws continue to get tighter and tighter, soon we will have nothing left to deter those criminals.Luckily, we have not reached that point--yet.
More studies have shown that areas that allow handguns have lower crime rates; proving, that guns are a major deterrent of crime (32).One study shows that states allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons have reduced murders by 8.5 percent, rapes by 5 percent, aggravated assaults by 7 percent, and robbery by 3 percent (Kim 74).In 1982 the city of Kennesaw, Georgia passed a law that required the head of each household to keep a firearm in the house (Hanson 72).Since the city passed this law, crime has dropped 16 percent while the population has doubled (72).Florida passed a law in 1987 to allow concealed weapons and the state murder rate dropped 27 percent (71).As these facts show, guns are a major form of self-defense and a major deterrent of crime.
It has been said that “preventing law abidingcitizens from carrying handguns does not end violence, but merely makes them more vulnerable to attack” (Kim 76).The statistics and facts show that this is the truth.Criminals fear citizens that are armed and are deterred by guns (Hanson 72).The states with the least amount of gun control have the lowest crime rates.For these reasons, the purpose of owning a gun is more for a feeling of safety than anything else (Zimring 32).
A former Washington DC police chief was quoted saying, “What has the gun control law done to keep criminals from getting guns?Absolutely nothing” ( qtd. in Hanson 71).In 1998, the Brady Law took the next step and made the original five day background checks instant (Fields A1-A2).To many this latest step may seem like it improves the law, but that is not the case.Some states do not keep the records required for this system to work, and some states can not open the records needed, which makes the system full of loopholes (A1-A2).
Others argue that the new instant checks work better than the old checks which had a five day waiting period (A1-A2).However, when someone goes to purchase a gun there are three categories which are checked instantly by running the buyer’s name through an FBI database (A1-A2).The categories are:mental incompetence, domestic abuse, and court-ordered restraining orders (A1-A2).If the purchaser has any background in any of the three categories, has committed a felony, or is wanted in connection with a crime they are not able to purchase the gun (A1-A2).This system would work great too--if all the states kept these records.Three states do not keep track of court-ordered restraining orders (A1-A2).Some states, like Louisiana, document domestic abuse offenses differently and have no way to tell whether the offender got in a fight with their spouse or got into an altercation at a bar (A1-A2).These differences in documentation make it difficult for the system to work and easy for criminals to fall through the cracks.
Not only do some states not keep the right kinds of records, but other states can not open certain records (A1-A2).Twenty-eight states can not open mental competency records because of privacy policies (A1-A2).A system that leaves the possibility of a mentally incompetent person obtaining a gun can not work.Only nineteen states can check all three categories, that is only 38 percent (A1-A2).38 percent is a failing grade in school.Does that mean this country is relying on a gun control law that would receive an F?
The fact that some states do not keep records and others can not open records makes this system full of cracks for criminals to slip through.Jack Levin, a criminologist at Northeastern University in Boston says that it is, “impossible, at least in the short term, for this system to work.It’s too big, too cumbersome and it lacks uniformity from state to state” (qtd. in Fields A1-A2).If the instant check database does not bring up anything on the buyer, they can walk away with the weapon then and there (A1-A2).Even Sarah Brady, founder of Handgun Control Inc. says, “there’s a whole gamut of people who are going to fall through the system” (qtd. in Fields A1-A2).Just because a state does not have or keep records of a certain type should not mean that a prospective gun buyer can walk away with a gun without being checked.
Truly, the new instant check system appears to be moving forward with leaps and bounds, but it is really traveling light years backwards.As stated before, a system that lacks uniformity between the states can not work (A1-A2).With this system we might as well be opening the doors to a gun store and saying to criminals, “Come and take what you want!”If we are going to try to institute gun control laws they should at least work.
Thomas Jefferson, a man considered by many to be a great leader, once said, “What country can preserve it’s liberties if it’s rulers are not warned from time to time that the people preserve the spirit of resistance?Let them take arms” (qtd. in Shade’s Landing Inc.).If we allow gun control laws are we not giving up the right that the second amendment guarantees us?In conclusion, gun control laws are not a wise solution for the US.First, we need to crack down on criminals, not law abiding citizens because it is not the guns that are doing the killing, but the people (Zimring 13).Until we get tough with criminals, it will not matter what we do about guns (20).Second, if guns are restricted, then a major form of self-defense is taken away.Should the government be allowed to strip citizens of their feeling of safety by taking away guns?Third, the gun control laws that are being instituted make it easier for criminals to slip through the cracks and obtain guns.How can a system that has this many holes really work?By no means is gun control a good solution for our country.
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