Gun Control Essay
The issue of gun control evokes strong passions from people at both ends of the debate. There are those who feel that they need to have guns either for protection or for sport and they are those who feel that guns are best placed in the hands of those that are mandated to protect the general population. The recent spate of school shootings goes a long way in showing how a relaxed attitude towards the licensing of guns can cause such untold carnage. The advocates of no gun control are ignoring the signs of the times; that we are breeding a generation that does not think twice before they pull the trigger.
The same gun they are lobbying to have may someday be turned against them by someone they know. In my opinion I believe that guns should be strictly controlled to avoid scenes of 11 year olds striking Rambo poses as they blast away their fellow students and teachers. The Brady Handgun Violation Act of 1993 requiring background checks on retail sales went a long way to control the guns but the fact that it did not place the same restrictions on gun sales from gun shows left open a loophole for the proliferation of guns in the wrong hands.
The lapse of a 10 year ban on assault weapons on 13th September 2004 in Congress shows that the anti ban lobby has strong proponents in high places. The reason for them favoring the use of guns in the face of so many tragedies is baffling. The reason could be financial. The question is should the nation put the welfare of gun manufactures before that of its citizens? I do not agree. Advocates of the anti gun campaign cite the second amendment which states inter alia that, ‘the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed’.
By harping on this amendment the pro gun brigade say that any attempt to stop them from the right to own arms will be fought in the courts of law. President Bush and congress seem to side with this view because they let the ban on assault weapons lapse. Further Bush got the endorsement of the powerful National Rifle Association (NRA) that appeared to favor no renewal of the ban to enable them to make huge sales. The pro gun lobby argues that the right to life comes with the right to protect oneself and thus the need to have guns.
They conveniently forget that there are police who are mandated to carry out this task. The second amendment on closer inspection does not grant the individual the right to have a gun but rather favors the arming of militias to protect the state. The NRA is so powerful that it has been able to push for the scrapping of new laws to regulate guns and has been able to water a number of existing laws to make it easier for one to carry a concealed weapon. This situation is saddening in the light of the Maryland School shooting and the gang wars that continue to claim hundreds of youth per year.
An interesting argument that the NRA and its supporters have developed is that the more guns in the hands of people will act as a deterrent to the incidence of gun related incidences. They were probably drawing their thinking from the proliferation of nuclear weapons and the threat of total annihilation acting as a deterrent to other states from using the weapons. (Lott, John R Jnr. 2000) This aspect of international relations during the cold war cannot be simplified and applied to the local situation.
My opposition to the pro gun campaign is that while the second amendment may have given some rights for ownership of weapons it surely did not give the right to take ones life away. The people who buy and use guns more often than not use them in the wrong way; by taking away the life of an innocent person. While you can walk in to a shop and replace a gun there is no known way to replace a dead human being? The shooting of 32 people in the Virginia Tech case on April 16th 2007, goes to show how lack of gun control can led to the guns getting into the hands of the wrong people and causing untold damage to the innocent bystanders.
Seung-Hui’s mental state was not established when the gun dealer sold him the gun. The lack of sufficient background checks and the short waiting period before being given a gun are thus contributing to the wrong people getting guns not to fulfill the assumed raison d’etre behind the second amendment but rather to abuse it. The failure of the congress and the pro gun lobbyists should d take full responsibility for this and other carnage that has taken place. The introduction of gun laws has contributed to the reduction of crime and gun related deaths. Kenneth, Jost 2007) The passing of the Brady Law and the ban on assault weapons saw a major decline in the number of deaths by guns. From 40,000 in 19993 to 29,700 in 2002. This has obviously shown that the effect of controlling guns can lead to the reduction of gun related crimes and deaths.
Phillip Cook found out in a study conducted that the suicide rate in the over 55’s dropped significantly in the same period probably because the buyers had time to rethink their decisions in during the five day waiting period. (Spitzer Robert J. 004) The introduction of instant check for the buyer to enable him to buy a gun will most likely see an increase in the number of gun related crimes. The need to control the ownership of guns is further justified by the school shootings that have occurred in the last few years. The question is where are these children getting the guns from? If they are not buying them from gun shows or fences, then they are probably getting them from their homes. This means that the weapons the parents are buying are not being stored safely and are actually causing rise in the number of gun related incidents.
It is a shame for any one to call for the relaxing of gun control when those in possession do not seem able to be able to secure them safely. Rather than put more guns in the hands of the public , more funds should be placed into the law enforcement agencies hands to enable them to effectively protect those who are threatened by those with guns. The failure of the current laws to reign in the gun problem is because the NRA has punched holes in the efforts of those calling for a total ban. Klerk, Gary 1997) The lapsing of the ban on assault weapons had the tacit support of the president while the lobby was able to intimidate those that wanted to push for an extension. The second window of gun sales in the form of the gun shows defeated the noble aims of the Brady bill. The likes of Seung Hui would not have been able to take to the grave so many productive innocent souls if the likes of NRA had been stopped in their tracks by laws that restrained, banned or even fully outlawed the sale of guns to any person other than those in the law enforcement agencies.
As it is now a person with a tainted record could get a gun from a licensed dealer if the instant check comes up with faulty information. The solution to this matter is for gun shows to be banned or put under the strict application of the original Brady law and for the ban on assault weapons reintroduced with a wider application. ( Hemenway, David 2004) This will stop the ‘merchants of death’ from making a killing but will ensure that the killing of our people ends.
Subject: Gun control,
University/College: University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 11 January 2017
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