Gun Control in the US essay
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Gun control policy encompasses the formulation of laws, practices, plans, and suggestions to limit or confine the use, possession, production, importation, sale, or shipment of firearms by a country’s inhabitants. The reasons for gun control are vast; however, there have been numerous disputes concerning the issue. The regulation of firearms among private citizens began as a way of preventing some factions of the society from acquiring weapon. With time, the question of security has heightened the need for control of the use of firearms by people at their own discretion. Today, the gun control issues still attract public attention in the US. The debate on whether gun control is justified requires critical historical analysis of firearms and their uses in the United States.
Gun control began in the pre-Civil War days as a mean of preventing the Black individuals from accessing guns. The policy, therefore, was based on the racial grounds and segregation; the right to arm was considered in terms of the “black code,” which was popular in the country. At that time, gun control appeared to be a mean of isolating a part of society (the Black Americans) by denying them a right to have guns. With the end of the Civil War, the ownership of guns by Black people became legal with the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1866. This step allowed ownership of guns among different representatives of society without discrimination of race, sex, and other social criteria of classification (Krouse 19).
Currently, the key push of those who fight for gun control has been the need to beef up public security within the country. Recent violent incidents with guns have sparked numerous outcries and debate amongst those who lobby for gun control. The massacre of people by random gun owners had caused a wake that made the gun control supporters and the National Rifle Association (NRA) that had been the key advocate for gun manufactures’ fight against regulation. The NRA has opposed every effort by the gun control lobbyists to check their products and sale of firearms (Reynolds 12).
The significance of gun control in any country is a measure of the reduction in violent crime rates after inaction of the gun control laws. The reduction of the crime rates following the reduction of gun-related violence can be used to justify gun control. However, the official statistics does not support this assumption. The reasoning that guns cause crimes arises numerous disputations, as it does not consider that guns are just another mean of committing a crime. Pro-gun advocates usually assert, “Guns do not kill people; people kill people.”
The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution allows possession of firearms by all private citizens. The right to own a gun was considered a way of ensuring safety of citizens with their own weapons that proved to be efficient in doing so. This bill was signed into law on December 15, 1791 leading to extensive buying and bearing of weapons by the US citizens. The use of weapons, however, had limitations and regulations to ensure that the use of firearms remains within legal limits. The use of firearms for self-defense was a critical issue in that era, and nothing had changed since the time. Furthermore, the restrictions of gun ownership to mentally unbalanced individuals and various militias that exist now make the private citizens vulnerable to uncountable dangers. The Second Amendment bears a written purpose, as stated in the Constitution, that makes it stand out from the rest of the amendments. Security, therefore, is said to be the key reason for allowing gun ownership. The approach of the anti-firearm faction to the issue of gun control will have a hard time trying to find a loophole to outdo the Second Amendment. The right to gun ownership as stated in the Constitution has led to the possessing of guns by an estimated 47% of the adult American population. This scope makes it hard to expunge all of these firearms or manage their usage at a national scale. The result is an unending struggle between the firearm supporters and the anti-firearm supporters. The use of weapons by private citizens has made it a habit amongst numerous Americans to own guns for various purposes. Gun control can circumvent all the huddles it has by approaching the whole issue from a different angle. Guns issues have numerous sides that can be regulated instead of phasing out firearms altogether. The reliance of people on commodities in a society (guns in this case) makes clearing out or changing the policy on the usage of firearms a strenuous task. While sorting out the issue of gun control altogether, the regulation of ammunition and designs of guns aid in exercising significant firearms control. It reduces the lifestyle change amongst the firearm users significantly(Mauser 28).
Gun control laws started as a mean of preventing the ownership of guns by the African Americans, but as the reasons behind it evolved, so did the opposition. In 1993, the NRA met the ban on production of machine guns in the US with tremendous opposition. The enactment of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act caused the decimation of lucrative transactions in the gun production industry. The subsequent lawsuits that followed the gun manufacturing companies because of gun-related tragedies due to their products had caused massive perturbations in the industry. The result of these events has been the formulation of policies and laws that monitor the production and sale of guns. Other amendments came on demanding a background check of all customers of the gun vendors. These regulations have caused significant inconveniences to the gun manufacturers. Today, the only consolation to these companies is the Second Amendment that makes gun ownership a right of every citizen.
Violent crime rates have been increasing for years, and pro-gun control activists have aimed at reducing this statistic. The chances of a criminal acquiring a gun in a society that makes it a right to own are painstakingly high. This approach engenders the formulation of an effective mean, with which gun ownership is put in check in terms of registration and client information. While guns are an easy, quick, and violent mean to end life or deter attackers, the risk of using it to an innocent bystander cannot be ruled out (Williams 32). The control of gun usage in the US requires a state-federal association in a manner so symbiotic that they should synchronize fully. Today, the gun control regulations within different states vary extensively. This fact creates the massive task of monitoring the use of firearms in a country with so much decentralized power. In practice, the federal government cannot fully control the state-set regulations in all jurisdictions within the US. However, the support of the cause in different states by the federal government goes a long way up to the enforcement of gun control laws support. Nowadays, it is immensely crucial and attracts massive political interest and attention. Gun control is necessary for safety purposes just as much as the guns provide safety for those who wield them. This fact calls for both factions on either side of the divide to form some kind of middle ground to agree upon the appropriate regulations on the firearm usage. Politics behind gun control has cost many politicians their careers and reputations. The NRA does not take organizations or individuals that attempt to impose any regulatory policies on the gun manufacturing industry lightly. Case in point, recently, Representative Peter Smith lost his election due to his attempt to ban the manufacture of assault weapons. These events happened after the representative had deceived the NRA that he opposed gun control (Roberts, and Stalans 67).
Events that have caught the interest of Americans and resultantly pushed them to support gun control include violent crimes that attracted wide national attention. The massacres of fourteen students and their teacher in Columbine High School in Littleton, Nevada caused the boost of the gun control laws initiated before the incident. The massacre received excessive media coverage that left Congress with no other choice than to pass the Brady Bill with a little modification. Under the law, processing the details of a person intending to buy a gun has to take a whole day to ensure that one is fit to own and use a gun. This policy came with a massive reduction in acquiring guns by delinquents. This case was an instant in which gun control actually offered a safer environment for the US citizens. This is because of the surety that those who wield guns have a sound mind and good intentions. Furthermore, the policy stipulates that the weapon one had should be used within the legal boundaries of the firearm use. This reduced the number of legally sold guns that went into the hands of people who were likely to cause harm to themselves or other citizens (LaFollette 45).
Gun control brings to the table a variety of issues related to the Second Amendment. The Amendment allows the ownership of firearms by all citizens with certain regulations. This law was enacted 225 years ago; the reasons for it, therefore, did not match the existing challenges that had been facing the country today. This engenders a mean of regulation of the guns usage to make sure the Amendment has not lost its essence along the way. The liberation of the nation by its founding fathers required considerable use of force, and for that reason, guns proved to be a fundamental feature of making a statement in the society. Self-defense practices also called for the use of guns for ensuring safety of the owner. Currently, the US is a multicultural country with dynamic features that make it an extremely fragile and susceptible target to attack. A reduction or significant monitoring of the circulation of weapons among private citizens is done for reducing the cases of violence that has dire consequences. Gun control, in turn, offers an outlet for this solution (Williams 49).
The gun-free states within the US, on the other hand, create a massive vacuum in the security of their citizens. The fact that gun control can account only for the legally acquired weapons causes this situation. The circulation of guns in the black markets is significant enough to enable delinquents acquire weapons. Gun-free states offer criminals little resistance to their attempts to rob or harm other citizens. This engenders conditions, under which each person can protect himself or herself sufficiently and effectively. The susceptibility of unarmed individuals to violent crimes is higher than that of people who possess weapons to protect themselves. This, in effect, goes against the whole point of the gun control policy that is championed today. This risk arises, as the acquisition of guns by criminal and people who are unfit to handle them is not a difficult task. Corrupting firearm vendors, borrowing or stealing weapons, and offers of an extremely lucrative black market enable access to weapons to virtually anybody. These facts show how gun control is a way to protect the country from lawbreakers that counter those of law-abiding citizens who try to keep safe. This shows how gun control policies can be contradictory in their purpose. Acquiring and moving around with weapons makes them serve their primary aim of providing security as attacks occur at any given point engendering people to stay prepared for any eventualities (Krouse 12).
The attachment that numerous people have for guns comes from a historical view of the culture of human beings. The signing of the Second Amendment was a necessity for the society back then as security was an issue of crucial importance. It is in human nature to ensure one’s own survival despite the situations and circumstances. The culture of firearm ownership and carrying has stood the test of time making them a part of their daily life. Since gun control is implemented in several ways like a ban on certain types of guns or the wielding of hidden guns, the American society is going to face out an age-old culture. The nature of a society does not respond well to changes imposed on them that intend to phase out its identity. Case in point, the wars against colonialism by other countries were extremely bloody and regrettable. All that reaction was caused by the refusal of societies to change their cultures. The rules turn law-abiding citizens into possible felons as breaking of these laws lands one in a correctional facility. The banning of more and more guns from the public systematically clears the culture of gun ownership. Though the example has an extreme consequence, it has a clear message that changing cultures of society can be a difficult task. This is likely to make gun control ineffective, as the response to the regulations will be dismal.
The Clinton Gun Ban of 1994 demonstrated just how much gun control is inefficient in finding violators of the gun laws. The bill banned the sale of nineteen different assault rifles in order to reduce the recurrence of violent, gun-associated crimes. Nevertheless, only eight people were prosecuted for violating these regulations over the period between 1997 and 1998. This statistic is shaming as it shows the concern over the bill as being crucial and exaggerating it up because of that turned out to be unnecessary. The bill expired in 2004. Today, there are no signs of its being reconsidered for renewal, as it does not seem to be necessary and efficient. This illustrates that gun control for people, who own guns from legal sources, rarely participate in activities that might be deleterious to fellow citizens. The government thus should focus on making the country safe by curbing the black market that supplies numerous criminals with the weapons to harm other citizens.
The laws that require trigger locks on guns do not consider the whole point of wielding a gun. Preparedness to protect oneself in case of an eventuality requires one to be swift and quick. The trigger locks eat into the time one takes to respond to a looming threat. Gun control that tries to change how guns are used or kept has indirectly banned the guns altogether as the weapon loses its effectiveness. The time it takes to unlock the trigger, however little, is enough to cost one his/ her life as the attacker can react upon noticing that one has a weapon. The reduction of firearm ownership and an increase in regulations concerning the usage of guns in a bid to reduce the mortality rate and crime level within the country are not functional. Take an example of Switzerland, it has a higher gun per capita than the US, yet the crime rate is surprisingly low. The reason for this statistic is that criminals are not able to face up to the citizens, who are responsibly trained to protect themselves from attackers. The logic behind possessing a gun in Switzerland shows how liberal thinking and trust in citizens’ responsibility has borne fruit. This instance should be used to develop the firearm usage policies within the US so that the US can be a secure place to live. Furthermore, radical changes that do more harm than good in the need for idealism are not recommended. Gun control requires a liberal look at the issues that the American society faces currently and even back in the day when the Second Amendment came into play.
Gun control promotes itself by explicating every possible danger that accompanies owning a gun. These instances include the danger to children, possibility of failure, or even misuse of the guns. All these are possible eventualities, but the prejudiced view of such advertisements disregards all the advantages that accompany ownership of a gun. Just like any other invention, guns have their downside. The fact that cars cause serious accidents, however, does not subject them to being phased out from life because of their importance to society. Guns equally offer numerous life-saving functions that require a good knowledge of their functioning. Instead of forcing on regulations to curb the gun use, the pro-gun control faction should champion the education of society in the proper use of firearms. The use of guns in the society protects lives and reduces the vulnerability of people in the society to criminals.
The over-20,000 laws formulated or in the process of formulation cause massive confusion among most people within society. The likelihood of prosecution over wrongful gun use is so high because the new rules change age-old traditions making people fall victims to ignorance. This appears to be an indirect way of creating criminals to fill the already-straining correctional facilities. The rules are not justified as they come up because of emotional tantrums that arise following an incident where guns have caused massive catastrophe. The use of media to the advantage of those who advocate for gun control ends up forcing the government into a corner, resulting in new firearm policies. The effectiveness of these policies does not have a significant impact in the society, as most people are not going to change, thus ending up being prosecuted. Furthermore, the rate of changing such policies is so high that the confusion in its wake lands unmeaning law-abiding citizens in trouble (Gonzales 24).
In conclusion, the gun control policies and laws are only beneficial to the American society if they do not invade the right to ownership extensively as they do now. The Second Amendment clearly allows the ownership of a firearm; going against this rule is contradictory to the founding principles of the US nation. In addition, gun control is an outright violation of the Second Amendment, and any effort to go against the Constitution should not be tolerated. The denial of gun ownership makes a community a target for prospecting criminals as it appears to be defenseless. The use of guns in the US has risen since the signing of the Second Amendment and guns use has become more of a culture in the US than an activity. The gun control measures try to limit the gun usage by controlling the types of guns people use and making the acquisition of guns a long and detailed process. Gun control is only good to the extent where it enables citizens to be accountable for their guns and its whereabouts. However, not all other aspects of gun control that were brought in to extinguish gun use are justified. Therefore, gun control should not be allowed in the US if the security and culture of the citizens is to be preserved.
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