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Gun Control Why Do We Need Licenses

Gun Control: Why Do We Need Licenses To Own Guns? Essay, Research Paper

Gun Control: Why Do We Need Licenses To Own Guns?

Automobiles must only be licensed for use upon public roads, and

licenses are not required for the purchase of cars. There are no waiting

periods or background checks on the purchase of cars. People who misuse their

cars are punished for their own actions, and particular types of cars aren’t

banned or taken away from those who use them safely. Unlike driving on public

roads, which is a privilege, owning a gun is a right explicitly protected by the

U.S. Constitution . The right of self -defense is fundamental and inalienable,

but requiring a license to own the means of self defense gives government the

power to deny that right, for whatever reason. Licensing of law-abiding

citizens to carry a concealed weapon is permissible, because, like driving, the

government has an interest in maintaining public safety by ensuring as best it

can that only the law-abiding carry in public. However, some supporters of the

right to keep and bear arms oppose requiring a permit for concealed carry, and

prefer a permitless system like that of the state of Vermont, which simply

punishes misuse of guns, rather than restricting their lawful use. Restricting

the ability of law-abiding citizens to own and use firearms on their own

property, and in defense of their homes and families, punishes them before they

have even done anything wrong.

In 1990, guns, which gun control supporters claim are “designed only to

kill,” were involved in about 1,400 accidental deaths, 18,800 suicides, and

13,600 murders, for a total of 33,800 firearm-related deaths. There are more

than 200,000,000 firearms in private hands in the United States. Also in 1990,

motor vehicles, which are not “designed to kill” were involved in about 46,000

accidental deaths and 1,900 people decided to suck on an exhaust pipe to end

their lives, for a total of 47,900 motor-vehicle related deaths. There are

about 143,000,000 passenger cars in use in the United States. From looking at

the numbers, these licensed and registered vehicles routinely kill more people

than the unlicensed and unregistered deadly weapons do. This isn’t because

these devices “designed only to kill” aren’t used a lot; U.S. gun owners go

through roughly 4,000,000,000 rounds of ammunition a year.

Much has been made by some gun control advocates of the fact that there

“are more gun dealers than gas stations” in the United States. While arguably

true (there were 269,079 Federal Firearms Licenses (FFLs) in 1990 according to

the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and about 205,000 gasoline service

stations and auto dealers combined in 1990), it doesn’t require a federal

background check to run a gas station or to sell cars so those numbers aren’t

definitive. Those Federal Firearms License holders who had no retail location,

often called “kitchen table dealers” by anti-gun activists (and who, until

recently, were a significant percentage of FFL holders), got their licenses

primarily for the added convenience of being exempt from waiting periods or to

facilitate purchases from out-of-state dealers or mail-order companies.

There’s nothing wrong about wanting to be exempt from the regulations

which the supporters of gun control have placed on the right to keep and bear

arms. By undergoing the FBI background check required in order to get an FFL,

these people have shown that they are law-abiding. Such low-volume gun

“dealers” have been the target of BATF policy makers recently, and many have had

their licenses revoked for not having a retail location. It should be noted

that in many areas, the private sale of firearms by unlicensed individuals who

the BATF does not consider to be in business are legal, and almost completely

unregulated. After all, firearms are considered property, and so long as the

owner does not knowingly sell or transfer a gun to a person who is underage or

who is forbidden by law from owning firearms (such as felon), one may dispose of

one’s own property as one sees fit. How ironic that the low-volume “dealers”

who have gone to the trouble and expense of obtaining an FFL are the ones the

BATF has chosen to target, rather than going after armed felons and the illegal

and/or unlicensed dealers who supply them.

The fact is, most people use guns at least as responsibly as they use

their automobiles, and the vast majority of gun owners never harm anyone. That

being the case, why punish everyone for the wrongs committed by a few, whether

they be criminal car drivers or criminals with guns?