Essay, Research Paper: Gun Control

Legal Issues

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The Second Amendment to the Constitution 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," and the definition of
gun control is; government regulation of possession and use of firearms by
private citizens. Gun control only takes guns away from law-abiding citizens and
it does nothing to stop criminals from buying illegal guns, who are unlikely to
obey the law and register their guns. I feel that the term gun control is
improperly used. The government is using it as a way to take our right to bear
arms. Why would anyone want to own a gun? Piece of mind is the main reason I
have a gun. I feel a lot safer at home knowing that I am close to my best line
of defense. Guns provide a source of psychological reassurance even among
citizens who are not especially concerned about the fear of crime of being
victimized. In a survey given about guns, "self-defense was the primary
reason given by one out of every five gun owners for firearms." "The
right of self-defense and the right to use firearms for defense of self and
family are the cornerstone of individual rights enumerated in the US
Constitution." Why does the government make it harder to protect ourselves?
Police cannot always protect everyone. There are only about 500,000 police
officers throughout the country, which figures to around only 125,000 police
officers are on duty at any given time to protect the whole country. Only
seventeen percent of Americans give the police a great deal of confidence in
protecting them, while forty-six percent said they do not give them very much
confidence. "Other than a bodyguard or a law enforcement officer at one's
side twenty-four hours a day, the most effective deterrent to criminal attack is
the criminal's fear that the prospective victim is armed and prepared to defend
him or her self." Courts have ruled that there is no constitutional right
to be protected by the state against being murdered by criminals or madmen,
which means that police have no duty to protect the individual citizen. After
hearing this, I trust the police even less. What is the likelihood of being
successfully attacked when you are armed? Criminals' fear armed citizens.
Victims who used guns for protection were less likely either to be attacked or
injured than victims who responded in any other way, including those who didn't
resist at all were; and victims no resisted robbers with a gun were less likely
to lose their property. When victims use guns to resist crimes, the crimes
usually are disrupted and the victims are not injured. A good example of firearm
deterrence comes from a rape experiment done in Orlando. Orlando offered a
training course to women on handgun self defense, which was taken by 6,000
women. A year after the program began; the rape rate in Orlando dropped almost
ninety percent. The police force went on strike in Albuquerque, New Mexico;
during this time, the crime rate decreased because frightened citizens armed
themselves and protected their homes and businesses. Criminals "had no
stomach at all for facing indignant citizens protecting their own property with
the same force the criminals used to steal it. Handgun ownership averts
thousands of victim injuries and deaths that would not have been avoidable given
the tactical advantages that criminals have over unarmed citizens. Who would you
rather have protecting you? In Chicago in a typical year, more criminals are
shot by storeowners and other armed citizens than by the entire police force. In
April 1984 three terrorists attacked a cafe in Jerusalem with automatic weapons,
intending to kill everyone in sight; they were able to claim only one victim
before they were shot by a handgun-armed Israelis. In 1980, between 1,500-3,000
felons were legally killed by armed civilians in self-defense or for
related-legally justified reasons; and additional 8,700-16,600 criminals were
legally wounded under the same circumstances. If these figures are accurate,
then civilians kill and injure far more felons annually than do police officers,
i.e., criminals have more to fear from armed victims than from the police.
Everyone knows that police officers are trained to ask questions first and shoot
later, but I personally feel that if I were in a questionable situation I would
probably shoot first. That is most likely how many other citizens' feel and that
is probably why that figure is so high. Why doesn't the Constitution protect us
from gun control laws? 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." Infringed means to violate
or trespass. The Constitution has never been described as a marvel of clarity,
and the Second Amendment is probably the most unclear amendment in the bill of
rights. It is not easy to understand why the Second Amendment, or the notion of
liberty, should be viewed as creating a right to own and carry a weapon that
contributes so directly to the shock of murders in our society. "It is hard
for me to see how one can argue that circumstances have so changed as to make
mass disarmament constitutionally unproblematic. What have gun control laws done
for citizens? No study of the effectiveness of gun laws has shown any positive
effect, yet some studies have shown a negative effect. The obvious effect of gun
bans is to deny law-abiding citizens access to firearms for their defense. The
black market is open to anyone with money without discrimination of age, race,
gender, or background. Criminals do not bother to with obeying the law, for a
criminal by definition is someone who disobeys laws. Gun control laws do not
even pertain to criminals, unless they try to work through the legal system. The
only people who are affected by gun control laws are law-abiding citizens who
are trying to protect themselves. What does it take to carry a concealed
handgun? To legally carry a concealed handgun, in most states, a license must be
obtained. To get a concealed and carry license one must take a concealed handgun
course. Once the course has been taken, you have to apply for the license from
Austin, where they conduct an extensive background check to see if you have any
criminal record. Many people have invested lots of money in handguns and handgun
classes, then have been rejected when applying for their license. In 1996, 1321
license applicants were denied the right to carry a concealed handgun in Texas.
Why does it have to be so hard for the good guy to get a gun? Why does the
government insist on making the criminal go through the legal system so that it
slows it down for the good guys? There are many questions to ask, but there is
not enough answer to give out. Our Founding Fathers gave the citizens of the
United States the right to bear arms, and our new government is slowly trying to
take it away. The fight to ban gun control is going to be a difficult one.
"The longer gun control advocates distract the nation from this task by
embracing that single siren song, the longer it will take and the more difficult
the job will be." So practice your right to protect your country and vote
against gun control any time you can.
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