Guns in America
Posted by Juddy Piterson on September 7th, 2019
Even though some people believe they should have the right to carry firearms, handguns should be outlawed because it is too easy for criminals to get handguns, and too many innocent people are dying from accidental shootings. Pro-gun activists have argued that guns are merely tools used by people to kill other people; meanwhile, anti-gun supporters are of the view that the right to bear arms should be significantly curtailed. Guns in America have led to significant losses of innocent human lives; for instance, the shootings at the Aurora movie theater led to 12 deaths and 59 injuries while the Newton elementary school shootings in Connecticut caused the death of 20 children and 6 children (Smith).
These shooting incidents stirred up the gun control issue in the U.S. and the impacts of the second amendment provisions with regard to guns in America. Politicians and legislators, among them President Barak Obama, have advocated for the creation of new laws that will significantly minimize gun violence in America (Fram). These laws will entail thorough background checks for all gun buyers and dealers and subsequent ban on assault weapons; in an attempt to keep guns away from individuals who may cause harm to themselves and others. The gun culture in the United States, where citizens are allowed to own and use guns freely, dates backs to the era of the founding fathers and the enactment of the bill of rights 1791 (Agresti & Smith). The possession and use of guns has historically been endemic with controversy. More on this theme you can read at critique paper example movie .
Gun Control in America
Gun control cannot define an accurate regulation of gun possession and use in the United Sates. Consequently, there is no accurate quantification of the degree in which crime will reduce in the event that a gun control policy is implemented. Thus, there is no recognized research indicating what the baseline is in the absence of gun control. Various government parties have presented their distinct gun control proposals and arguments as the optimal universal solution to the gun problem. These proposals include mandatory locking mechanisms packaged with each gun purchase and restrictions on various categorizations of guns that one can own (Moorhouse and Wanner 104).
The difficulty of implementing an effective gun control policy, laws and regulations, are envisaged in the failure of passing the ban on assault rifles. The prohibition of assault rifles will prevent incremental casualties if an unstable individual goes on a homicidal rampage. However, gun control should not be limited to assault rifles since other guns are equally dangerous in the hands of unstable individuals, for instance, the mass shooting that occurred in 2012 did not involve assault rifle; instead hand-guns were used (Smith). Alongside the ban on assault tougher policies, regulations and laws will allow quicker tracing of weapons.
The implementation of electronic data systems and new background checks of all guns and ammunition transactions will enable law enforcement to avert future shootings. The enactment of laws and policies aimed at preventing shootings in public areas and facilities is essential. President Barack Obama issued a proposal requesting congress to authorize a budgetary allocation towards hiring new police officers, psychologists and counselors in schools with the aim of addressing underlying issues that result in mass killings (Fram). Significantly, along with the strict background checks, additional mental health records are accessible to the national system. The government will limit gun sales apart from those authenticated through a background check, such as gun sales to citizens with permits to carry fire arms (Fram).
Consequently, gun control should ascertain that the gun control laws and regulations are implemented along with appropriate enforcement of the law. For instance, a state could institute a comprehensive gun control law where each country is required to enforce the law. As such, law enforcement and the judiciary in the state will play a critical role in ensuring that gun control laws are enforced since the law is an integral aspect of effective measures towards gun control (Moorhouse and Wanner 122).
The existing laws prevent an accurate quantification of the impacts of gun control. Fundamental changes must be initiated at the federal level with the aim of supporting gun laws at the county and state level. For instance, various states need background checks that go beyond the stipulated federal requirements; consequently, a number of states do not have the relevant mechanisms required for ensuring comprehensive checks are made (Moorhouse and Wanner 105). These entail fundamental changes that are essential to occur prior to measuring the extent in which gun control will impact gun related crimes.
One of the central emphases of gun control proponents is to ban assault type weapons. Assault weapons are similar to military grade weapons but are functionally indistinguishable to various hunting weapons; essentially, they are hunting guns with dissimilar cosmetics. On the basis of such a resilient push to endorse a comprehensive ban on assault weapons, it is assumed that these weapons are used in a particularly large number of violent crimes. Essentially, less than 3% of gun crime perpetrators have claimed to use assault type guns in committing a crime (Smith). Arguably, criminals view assault type guns as inefficient given the difficulty to conceal them and their large size.
A criminal is highly likely to use a handgun in the commission of a crime instead of an assault weapon. If new gun controls are implemented, criminals will not be able to access guns freely. This is because criminals are averse to licensed gun dealers who require a buyer to provide authentic documentation and identification. As a result, there are various laws that restrict the sale of guns to people who have previously committed crimes, mentally unstable individuals, unlawful users of controlled substances, and fugitives or somebody convicted of a domestic violence crime. There are several restrictions in place which would forbid a licensed gun dealer from selling weapons to such persons. Consequently, a large number of guns used in committing violent crimes have been stolen or acquired illegally given that violent offenders are not eligible to acquire guns legally.
Facts about Guns
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) has indicated that there are about 223 million guns accessible to United States citizens. A projected 80% of the 223 million guns were made in the United States. These include estimated statistics indicating 79, 77 and 66 million, long rifles, handguns and shotguns respectively. Furthermore, these statistics are expected to increase annually (Lindeen 1667).
Nevertheless, the Second Amendment stipulates that it is the right of every American citizen to bear arms. The proponents for gun control have failed to account for the integral parts of a functional gun, which entails the gun and munitions. Therefore, while regulations governing gun ownership and accessibility are difficult to change, the same cannot be said about the rules governing the provision of ammunition since there is not provision in first amendment regarding the right to own ammunition.
While there are potential benefits emanating from the implementation of strict gun control policies, regulations and laws, the question arises as to whether these would be adequate to stem incidents of gun violence. The existing guns in America will continue to be used in the commission of crimes. Therefore, the implementation of laws that prevent the acquisition of guns but do not address the guns that are already in the hands of the population will have minimized impacts towards gun crime mitigation. Essentially, implementing new gun control measures will not make the guns already in people’s possession disappear. As of 2010, an estimated 40%-45% of homes in the U.S. owned firearms (Agresti and Smith). That is approximately 50 million homes. The number does not include the number of guns in each home, but even at a single gun per home, the total is numerous guns in the population’s hands.
In 2010, there were approximately 300 million guns possessed by United States' citizens. These guns were owned for several of reasons. Of the households owning guns; 67% owned guns for personal protection, 66% for target shooting and 41% for hunting (Agresti and Smith). Meanwhile, laws aimed at getting guns off the streets do not appear to be assisting to minimize the rate of violent crimes. This is indicated through the gradual increase in the murder rate in the United Sates; which continued to rise through the 70s to the 90s in spite of these laws being in place (Smith).
Consequently, there is an assumption that a direct correlation exists between the rate of violent crime rates and gun availability; contrary to the perception that the lesser the guns in people’s possession the lesser the crime rate but this is not always the case. According to the United Nations, as of 2005, Scotland was described as the most violent country in the developed world. This representation is premised on the fact that violent crimes have doubled in the country in the previous 20 years. In 2011, there “were over 11000 murders by firearms in the U.S. and another 20,000 gun deaths from accidents and suicide, not to mention many more injuries” (Smith). However, this trend does not result from the high number of gun ownership among the citizens since an estimated 6% of the population own guns in Scotland. In contrast, Switzerland has an estimated 27% gun ownership among the citizens; however, violent crime rate is 25% lower than Scotland (Smith).
The National Rifle Association (NRA) is among the most vocal gun proponents in the United States. This association uses its political lobbying initiatives to aid in limiting the laws that are passed to implement gun control. The NRA is of the view that American citizens should have unlimited rights to bear arms. As such, the organization has opposed each firearm regulation presented (Medlock 43). The NRA has opposed any regulation, law or policy attempting to limit accessibility to guns or any gun control measures that have been initiated; as such, there is a prevalent belief that the NRA has significance influence in the day’s echelons of power. Therefore, making the enactment of adequate gun control laws and measures an extremely difficult task. The NRA achieves its objectives through cultivating fears of insecurity and danger into the minds of American citizens and sponsoring political agendas (Medlock 52); therefore, making it difficult for any consequential laws to be made and implemented.
The NRA stance on gun control fails to consider the implications and past events that have resulted from the loose gun laws; which have enabled unstable and violent individuals not only to perpetrate violent crimes, but also to murder innocent people including children. In spite of the positive impacts of gun control regulations, the causes of violent crimes must be addressed at the root level; otherwise, violent crimes will continue to persist irrespective of the gun control laws in place. Particularly, the NRA persistently refutes the incidence of gun violence acts and uses its capacity to instill fear into American citizens. Such fear is used to prevent the enactment of gun control laws.
Each anti-gun control argument is countered by a contradicting argument from the pro-gun control advocates. Various studies have been conducting with the aim of establishing the prevalence of gun preference among the American population. Incidentally, there are indications that while the older generation of Americans have a high preference for guns and advocate for the rights to bear arms; the younger generation of Americans has a more liberal view of gun control (Fram). Among the largest campaigners for gun control is The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, which was instituted by Mark Borinsky in 1974. Although this group’s central motivation is towards handgun control, they also aspire toward saving innocent lives from unnecessary gun related deaths (Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence).
This group backs gun control initiatives and laws that entail limiting the sale of assault type and semi-automatic guns and comprehensive background checks on all gun transactions. The Brady Campaign among other pro-gun control advocates are not against the second amendment’s provisions of the people’s rights to bear arms; however, they lobby for the development and implementation of policies, regulations and laws aimed at preventing guns from being accessible to the wrong hands such as violent criminals and terrorists. Towards this end, policies aimed at the implementation of harsher punitive consequences for those dealing in illegal gun transactions or the use of gun in an illegal and unlawful manner or circumstances.
Pro-gun-control activists often cite cases where innocent children, mothers, fathers or innocent by standers are accidentally shot as a result of loose gun control regulations (smith). However, such accidents are not preventable through the enactment of more laws and regulations but the development of various public education programs on the impacts of guns. Accidents can occur in any given contexts such as road accidents or other forms of accidents. In light of this, while guns have dangerous consequences, the extent in which they are abused is dependent on the level of education among gun users.
Therefore, adequate education and training on how, when and where to use a gun is critical. These will avoid unnecessary deaths such as children shooting their parents or siblings accidentally because they do not know how to handle a gun. In the final analysis, it is the duty, and responsibility of gun owner’s responsibility to make sure that their guns are secure and safely kept preventing the occurrence of accidents. In such instances, additional laws will only complicate matters while firearms education can significantly aid in the reduction of gun related incidents that result in injuries or deaths. Largely, not all gun control initiatives are negative though they make it difficult for Americans to acquire guns. Hence, in the event that citizens are determined to own and keep their right to bear arms, then small tasks such as filling out forms and background checks should not discourage them.
Though possession of guns is an American culture; the guns culture is gradually declining. The evidence of historical events has supported the American rationale to hold on to their guns. Furthermore, there are instances when people cannot rely on the state agencies to protect them and their properties; hence, there is a need for people to bear arms. As such, passing a bill that appears harmless, could be injurious to the American public’s right to own and bear arms.
Gun restriction and control have the potential to make any American society safer; however, the comprehensive implementation and enforcement of such initiatives would require more input than limiting gun transactions. The issue of abusing guns through their application in committing violent crimes can be mitigated through appropriate education, addressing the root causes of violent crimes such as poverty and unemployment and limiting gun accessibility to minors, criminals and mentally unstable individuals. Though the proponents and opponents of gun control have valid arguments, the use of guns emanates from other causes other than the impromptu desire to use a gun against other people. As such, gun violence can only be reduced and subsequently eliminated if the fundamental causes of gun violence are addressed. These can be the creation of more and better paying jobs, healthcare for all and comprehensively inclusive education programs.
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About the AuthorJuddy Piterson
Joined: September 7th, 2019
Articles Posted: 1