Essay, Research Paper: Gun Control


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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. These figures are shocking and there doesn't seem to be a solution. Gun
control is a problem that our country has got to face. ("Gun
Control"). One of the most alarming issues dealing with gun control is
juvenile violence. A large percent of crimes committed with guns are by
children. No one has yet been able to pinpoint the exact reason children
committed such a terrible crime. Many experts feel that risk factors associated
with juvenile crime are poverty, repeated exposure to violence, drugs, easy
access to firearms, and unstable family life. All of these issues play a big
role in the increase of juvenile crime. Possibly out of all of these issues the
most important, is the deteration of the family. Many of these children are not
being brought up in a nice environment at home. ("Reasons"). Juveniles
are not the only ones committing crimes with guns. Adults are just as guilty at
contributing to the nations violence. It is even easier for an adult to purchase
a firearm. Even if the adult has a felony, it is still easy for them to get a
gun. There are many people willing to sell a felon a gun, if the price is right.
If they can not buy one, they can easily pay someone to buy one for them. If an
individual wants a firearm bad enough, chances are they will get one. (Brennen
and Polsby 2). Myth #1: Guns cause crime. There is no relationship between the
number of guns and the amount of crime in the United States. Between 1973 and
1992, the rate of gun ownership increased by 45% while the homicide rate during
that period fell by nearly 10%. Myth #2: Gun control laws reduce crime. Firearms
have not been regulated in the United States for most the past thirty years. The
number of firearms in private hands has increased continuously by millions per
year. Yet the rate of crime, violent crime, and homicide has shown no
significant correlation. Myth #3: Gun control laws stop friends from killing
friends. Most murderers and victims of homicide have criminal records and they
are likely to have other criminals as friends. While it is true that in many
cases of homicide the offender and victim know each other, it is not true that
these "friends killing friends" are the plain ordinary folks often
portrayed in the anti-gun propaganda. Myth #4: Gun control laws keep criminals
from obtaining guns. In surveys of prisoners, only 7% of criminals' handguns
were obtained from legitimate sources. Three-fourths of the felons report that
they would have no trouble obtaining a gun when they were released. Myth #5:
Required waiting periods would prevent some of the most vicious crimes. The
Brady Bill waiting period imposes waiting periods on handguns, the least deadly
type of firearm, while imposing no such restriction on much more deadly weapons
such as rifles or shotguns. While handguns are preferred by criminals because of
their portability and concealability not every criminal who planned to use a
handgun will abandon his criminal plans when confronted by a waiting period.
Myth #6: Guns don't work as self-protection against criminals. Guns are about as
valuable to civilians as they are to police officers. As many as 65 lives are
protected by guns for every life lost to a gun. Every year potential victims
kill between 2,000 and 3,000 criminals, and wound an additional 9,000 to 17,000.
Private citizens mistakenly kill innocent people only thirty times a year,
compared to about 310 mistaken killings by police. Criminals succeed in taking a
gun away from an armed victim less than 1% of the time. Myth #7: Guns aren't
needed as self-protection. Approximately 83% of the population will be victims
in their lives, and there is only one police officer for every 3,300 people.
Myth #8: Gun control laws are needed to prevent the purchase of Saturday Night
Specials and "assault weapons." Inexpensive handguns are involved in
only 1% to 3% of violent crimes; criminals generally prefer larger caliber and
more expensive handguns. In the past fifty years no civilian has ever used a
legally owned machine gun in a violent crime, and no UZI has ever been used to
kill a police officer. Myth #9: Gun control laws are especially needed to
prevent gun accidents in the home. Many people mistakenly conclude that children
die frequently in gun accidents and that sharp restrictions on gun ownership are
necessary to address the problem. There are accidents that occur in the home,
but that number has fallen dramatically. The death rate from firearm accidents
is lower than that from accidental drowning, inhalation, and digestion of
foreign objects. Myth #10: Gun ownership is not a constitutional right. The
Second Amendment reflects the founders' belief that armed citizens were
necessary precaution against tyranny by our own government and its army.
("Gun Control"). One of the largest groups of people that are affected
by these types is minorities. Some minorities blame gun makers for their high
crime rate. Kweisi Mfume, president of the NAACP is considering joining others
that are filing lawsuits against gunmakers. Mfume was stated as saying, "We
represent a significant consistency that is disproportional affected by gun
violence." ("Minorities"). In 1995, there were a total of 35,957
deaths by firearms. There were 25,438 white deaths. There was a total of 9,643
black deaths. ("Death"). Handgun Control Inc. is the major
organization for lobbying, and introducing legislation on gun control. It is
headed by Sarah Brady, wife of former White House Press Secretary James Brady.
She also was the one that introduced a bill to congress about waiting periods.
("Gun Control") Gun control, as we know it, consists of the government
restricting the ability of citizens to purchase weapons. The waiting period
method of gun control is basically a two-step process. The first step in the
procedure is that the person wanting a gun goes to his local shop to place the
initial order. Then, he must wait one to two weeks while the government performs
a small background check for past criminal activities. The problem with this
method of gun control is that it stops the ordinary citizen from purchasing a
gun on the whim, but it actually protects the common criminal. If a burglar
enters a house with full intention to maim or kill; the innocent victim, who
cant get a gun to protect his family because he was arrested for drunk driving
seven years ago. This method supports the black market trade. (Pooley 15 and
Larson 1). Many cities are taking stands and suing gun makers. They say that
they are seeking compensation for cost incurred from gun violence. Many believe
that gun makers intentionally feed an illegal gun supply by negligently
marketing and distributing their products in states with weak gun registration
laws. The overflow eventually leads to a large, unregulated tide of guns in
states with strict gun laws. The states with strict gun laws claim that 90% of
all gun violence comes from guns sold in other states. (Prichard). Another group
that is being targeted, is the video game manufacturer. Parents of three slain
girls in the Heath school shootings are going after the manufacturers. They feel
that particular violent video game is partially responsible for their children's
death. They claim that the video game taught the shooter how to be and excellent
marksman. The boy had never used a gun, but was skilled enough to hit eight
moving targets in only eight shots. Another fact that looks backup the parent's
belief is that of military training. Each year billions of dollars are spent to
train police and military how to shoot. Video simulation is the best way to help
overcome the natural resistance that most people have about shooting someone.
Studies show that people are extraordinary susceptible to programming. One main
difference between military training and video games, military instructions are
constantly pausing the action, where the video game in constant action. (Blakemore).
Firearms are nowhere near the root of the problem of violence and arguably are
almost completely separated from it. As long as people come in unlike sizes,
ages, shapes, and temperament. If they diverge in their task for risk and their
willingness and capacity to prey on other people or to defend themselves from
perdition; and, above all, as long as some people have little or nothing to lose
by spending their lives in crime, dispositions to violence will persist.
Blakemore, Bill. "Creating Killers?" ABCNEWS. New York: 12 May
1998. **.
Brennen, Dennis and Daniel D. Polsby. Taking Aim at Gun Control. 30 Oct 1995.
**. "Death by Firearms
1979-1995". Time Almanac. 1999. Hollis, Harry Jr. The Shoot-em-up Society.
Nashville: Broadman. 1974. "Gun Control". 30 Sep 1999.
*http://www.*.com/Reports/Legal_Issues/Gun_Control.shtml*. "Gun
Industry". Daily News. 11 Feb 1998. New York. 30 Sep 1999.
**. Larson,
Erik. "The Story of a Gun". The Atlantic Monthly. Jan 1993.
"Minorities". Daily News. 21 Feb 1999. Washington: 1 Oct 1999.
**. Pooley, Eric.
"Kids with Guns". New York: 5 Aug 1991. Prichard, James.
"Fighting Back". Associated Press. Paducah. 12 Apr 1998. 29 Sep 1999.

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