Essay, Research Paper: Gun Control

Legal Issues

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Gun control is undoubtedly an issue that most Americans have been exposed to. In
1989, guns killed 11,832 Americans. The National Rifle Association (NRA) members
believe that it is their constitutional right to own guns, stating that guns are
not the root of the crime problem in the United States. Gun control activists
like the members of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV) argue that guns
are responsible for the majority of violent crimes that take place. They wish to
instill many types of bans and waiting periods on firearms, making it nearly
impossible to obtain a handgun. In fact, in 1993 the Brady Bill, which mandates
a waiting period on buying firearms, was passed. Their arguments range from
protecting children to saying that guns are diseases, but when one looks at the
facts, though, the arguments of gun control advocates seem irrelevant and it
becomes clear that guns should not be controlled. Gun ownership by private
citizens is protected under the 2nd Amendment. It 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. The forefathers of our
country meant for the people to own and use firearms, and any law or control on
that right would be unconstitutional. Gun control activists essentially believe
the Second Amendment guarantees only to its militia the right of arms, but the
Gun control proponents have yet to identify even a single quote from one of the
founders to support their claim (Silver 78). The 2nd Amendment supports gun
owners, and hard evidence that it does otherwise is nonexistent. Gun control
advocates have been lobbying for 7 years for the passage of the Brady Bill,
which makes a waiting period mandatory for all national firearm sales.
Ironically, the passage of this bill in 1993 has done nothing to reduce crime;
in fact violence has risen still since the passage of the bill. This bill, which
was most definitely oversold by its supporters, has become the prime distinction
in most Americans minds with gun control. A waiting period did not help the
present situation at all, and similar measures are almost certainly going to
assume the same fate. Private ownership of firearms is not a public health
hazard. Gun control activists argue otherwise, but to put guns in the same
category as influenza and pneumonia is absurd. The Advocates state that guns are
a public health issue and almost deadlier than automobiles to the public. The
fact is that more Americans die yearly from pneumonia and influenza than in all
homicides and suicides, even non-gun related, combined. Many people listen to
doctors, who reason that guns are pathogens. The definition of a pathogen is an
object that causes disease when introduced to a pathogen-free environment. There
are 200 million privately owned guns in America, and only an utterly tiny
fraction of them are used in crimes. According to the definition, guns are not
pathogens and not a public health hazard. The presence of a gun, specifically a
handgun, is beneficial to a civilian in the event of a robbery or intrusion,
because the victim would be able to use the gun for defense. The gun control
activists are right- there is too much crime in the United States. Instead of
attempting to reduce the amount of firearms in circulation, this energy and
money should be diverted into anti-crime applications. Many law-abiding citizens
own handguns and other firearms that they use for their own protection, probably
because the amount of crime present troubles them and drives them to purchase a
gun for self-defense. As David E. Newton shows, between the years of 1937 and
1963, gun ownership in the United States increased by 250 percent. In that same
period, the number of homicides decreased by 35. 7 percent (Newton 40). Guns are
clearly not the problem. The problem with most gun control measures is that gun
violence is not as related to the number of guns as it is to whom owns them. As
an anti gun control slogan states, if guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have
guns (Bernards 54). This is true, stating that if the circulation of firearms
was limited to only officials, meaning that private citizens would not have
guns, then only criminals would have firearms (illegally of course) and the
public could not defend themselves. Most of the criminals who commit violent
crimes with guns did not obtain their guns legally. Toughening up gun control
laws is not going to reduce crime. Gun control activists say that waiting
periods will reduce the number of criminals who obtain firearms, but the NRA
says that waiting periods are ineffective. They argue that if a criminals mind
were set on committing a crime, a waiting period would merely become another
obstacle. Even if a background check were to take place during the waiting
period, and the criminal was denied the sale of a gun, a weapon could easily be
obtained elsewhere: stolen, bought illegally, or another weapon could be used.
The point is that a criminal with the premeditation to act out a crime is going
to do so, whether a waiting period is present or not. Guns stored at home are
not great dangers to innocent people like children, despite what the public
thinks. The slogan of the National Rifle Association says it the best, guns don`t
kill, people do (NRA). Children who are properly taught gun-safety measures are
less likely to be involved in gun-related accidents or with crime. If an adult
in the household has access to a firearm, such a childs life could actually be
saved if an intrusion were to take place. As David B. Kopel states, Gun control
Advocates are hammering at the issue of children and guns as never before in the
hope that it will be easier to enact gun controls aimed at adults in an
atmosphere of panic about children (Kopel 38). Mr. Kopel is Director of the
Second Amendment Project at the Independence Institute. Children are not in any
danger that cannot be prevented with the correct educative measures. Assault
weapons, if banned, will not help to reduce gun violence. Despite the
scary-looking, military-style features, the assault weapons are no more lethal
than hundreds of legal firearms. First of all, the definition of an assault
weapon is not distinct and if they were to be nationally banned no one would
know what an assault weapon is and what a regular firearm is. Giving the name
assault weapon is similar to giving red vehicles with speedometers that go
beyond one hundred miles per hour the name death cars because these are said to
be the favored vehicles of drunk and reckless drivers. Assault weapons are or
were surprisingly attributed to less than one quarter of one percent of violent
crimes in New Jersey. A police officer has a better chance of encountering an
escaped tiger from the local zoo than confronting an Assault weapon. Gun control
should not take place. The constitution prohibits it, common sense when it comes
to protection invalidates it, many statistics prove it, and any reasonable
person when confronted with the facts will disagree with it. Guns are not health
hazards, nor dangers to children, nor preventable with hassling bills and
restrictions. The many differences in types of guns do not give reason to ban
these guns called Assault Weapons. The second amendment should end the argument
to the whole gun control debate, and maybe in a few years another analysis of it
will. Or maybe gun control activists, instead of trying to prevent the ownership
of guns, which deter crime, should focus their energy and effort into a
direction to the root of the crime problem- the criminals.

BibliographyBernards, Neal. Gun Control. San Diego: Lucent Books, Inc, 1991. Kopel, David
B. Gun Play. ” Reason Magazine. Los Angeles: Reason Inc, 1993. Newton,
David E. Gun Control: An Issue for the Nineties. Hillside: Enslow Publishers,
1992. Roleff, Tamara L. Gun Control, Opposing Viewpoints. San Diego: Greenhaven
Press, 1997.
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