Is Gun Control Necessary Essay, Research Paper
Is Gun Control Necessary?
As a result of the many school shootings that have taken place in the last few years, there has been a huge push for stricter gun control laws. Many people don t feel safe in today s society. The government has been listening to the people and has already passed some laws. There are some people who are opposed to stircter gun control laws. Many gun enthusiasts don t believe that gun control laws realy work because only the law abiding citizens would follow them and they aren t the ones creating the problem. These people do present some good arguments for getting rid of gun control.
One of the main arguments that anti gun control groups make is that they have a constitutional right to own guns. The second amendment to the constitution says that all American citizens have the right to bear arms. There are many people who think that guns should be banned all together. According to the constitution, this can’t be done. All people have the right to own a gun if they want to. If the people are given this right by the constitution, then this right can’t be denied.
The government hasn’t gone so far as to ban guns completely yet, but they have started to pass some laws aimed at controlling guns. One thing that they have done is to require a waiting period and a background check before people can buy a handgun. Gun dealers use a computerized instant check system to perform background checks. Many people argue that this system doesn t really work. According to Newsweek, the system does block some people from getting guns, but it isn’t 100% effective. The system is only as good as the information entered into it, and many local courts are lax about reporting convictions (Newsweek, 30). Even if a potential criminal is stopped from buying a gun, they could still get one if they wanted to. According to John R. Lott Jr., from the Chicago School of Law, these regulations only apply to gun dealers. If someone couldn’t buy a gun because they failed the background check, they could still get one from a private owner or a gun show. These laws simply don’t do what they are intended to do. Criminals can still get guns if they want. All these laws do is make it harder for law-abiding citizens to get guns. (John R. Lott Jr., 6)
Another thing that the government is considering is mandatory gun locks. They claim that gun locks would reduce accidental shootings, especially for young children. Gun enthusiasts don t think this would be the case. According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 1996, there were only 44 accidental gun related deaths for children under the age of ten. There are about 80 million gun owners in the U.S. The fact that there are so many gun owners in the U.S. and so few accidental deaths would suggest that the vast majority of gun owners are extremely careful with their guns anyway. By comparison, about twice as many kids drown in the bathtub each year. (John R. Lott Jr., 6) Only the careful, responsible people would even obey the law and lock their guns, and they aren’t the ones causing the problem. Also, locked guns don’t offer much protection against intruders. The only thing that locked guns would do is increase deaths resulting from crime.
Some people go as far as to argue that gun control laws can actually increase gun related crime. One example of this is Britain. Britain has very strict gun laws. In an article by Miguel A. Faria Jr., he says that in Britain, only certified members of approved target shooting clubs are allowed to own guns, which have to be kept locked up at the club at all times. Guns have virtually been eliminated in Britain. (Miguel A Faria Jr., 10) Despite these laws, crime has risen in Britain over the last few years. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, a person is nearly twice as likely to be robbed, assaulted, or have a vehicle stolen in Britain than in the U.S. While America has cut its crime rate dramatically over the past few years, Britain’s crime rate has gone up. Burglars in the U.S. generally rob people at night and try to make sure that no one is home so their intended victim doesn’t shoot them. In Britain, on the other hand, burglars are a lot more daring. Day robberies are common there. The burglars know that they won’t get shot if they are discovered because they know the people they are robbing don t own guns. (Miguel A. Faria Jr., 10) Crime in Britain has gone up a lot ever since they instituted the gun laws. This just goes to show
Personally, I don t agree with this point of view. I think that gun control is definately needed in todays society. Crime has gotten out of hand in this country. I is far too easy for criminals to obtain guns. We need to place some restrictions on the purchase and ownership of guns. If we just put so,me effort into gun control, we can really make a differance. There are many argumants about why gun control is a good thing.
All of the school shootings have really opened people’s eyes to the need for gun control laws. If people can’t feel safe in school or in the workplace, then there is a serious problem. At this point in time, the vast majority of Americans favor stricter gun control laws. According to an article in Business Week magazine, most American citizens say that they would most likely vote for a presidential candidate in 2000 who favors stricter gun control laws. (Business Week, 128) This fact alone is a good reason why there should be tougher gun laws. The United States is a democracy, which means government by the people, for the people. If the majority of people in this country want more gun control, they should get it.
The government has already instituted some gun control laws. These laws include waiting periods, background checks, harsher penalties for committing a crime with a gun and increased restrictions on dealers. These laws have had some positive consequences. According to James N. Thurman, the murder rate in the U.S. dropped 7% in the past year. Most of this drop is due to a decrease of murders involving firearms. Also, fewer guns were used in robberies, which were down 10%. In 1994, the federal government passed the Brady Bill. This bill restricts gun purchases and requires a background check for all potential gun buyers. Since it took effect, as many as 300,000 gun sales have been denied. (4) The fact that these laws have had a positive effect shows that the government is on the right track by enacting gun control laws.
Another thing that the government has started to is to restrict children’s access to firearms. They have started to punish parents who don t keep their guns away from thier kids. One perfect example of this is the six year old who shot one of his classmates a couple weeks ago. The kid was too young to charge with a crime so they charged the parents instead. I think that this is a good thing. It will send a message to other parents. There is no reason why a six year old should have had access to a gun anyway. If his parents would have just been a little more careful with thier guns, that little girl would still be alive today. Decreasing children’s exposure to guns would obviously have a positive effect on the safety of schools. Parents should be required to keep their guns locked up at all times so their kids can’t use them. Also, the government should hand down harsh penalties to anyone who supplies guns to a minor.
The government has also started to crack down on gun dealers. Many dealers simply don’t obey the regulations placed on them by the federal government. According to the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, most guns used in crimes come from dealers. (Business Week, 128) There is a simple solution to this problem. Dealers who don’t obey the rules should be shut down. According to Kristin Rand, the director of federal policy at the Violence Policy Center in Washington, the government has already started to put more restrictions on dealers. These restrictions are designed to weed out the dishonest dealers. Because of this the number of gun dealers in the U.S. has dropped from a quarter million to 100,000 since 1992. (Thurman, 4) Shutting down the dishonest dealers would make it much harder for criminals to get guns. This would reduce gun-related crime.
Gun control is probably one of the biggest issues that this country faces right now. There are two distinct views on the issue. People from both side will probably never argree completely, but there are a few solutions that can make both sides happy.
Before we start introducing a bunch of new, stricter gun control laws, we just neen to do a better job of enforcing the laws that we have now. Things like waiting periods, background checks, and tougher restrictions on gun dealers may not be completely effective, but they have done some good. There are some holes in the system, but these are mostly related to the enforcement of these laws. If the government would just devote some time and money to improving the system that we already have, there may not be a need for any more gun control. They need to make sure that convictions are recorded into the system and make sure that gun dealers follow all the regulations. Also, they need to expand these regulations to gun shows and private sellers. There is really no reason why the gun enthusiasts should be worried about these laws. All these laws do is keep criminals from getting guns. As long as people are responsible and don t commit ant violent crimes, they will still be able to get all the guns they want.
The government should crack down on the types of guns that are allowed. Some types of guns are simply more dangerous than others. In an article by Jack Maple, he says that modern automatic and semiautomatic weapons are more powerful, hold more bullets and can be reloaded much faster. A criminal can do a lot more damage with one of these than he could with a basic rifle or revolver. (11) There is no reason why anyone would ever need to own an assault weapon or even most handguns. People should be restricted to basic guns such as rifles, shotgun, and revolvers. This would eliminate the more dangerous guns, but still give hunters and people who use a gun for protection what they need. Any other types of really guns aren’t.
Finally, there are a couple of new, high tech solutions to the problem. According to an article in U.S. News and World Report, many gun companies are starting to develop smart weapons. Among them, a personalized shotgun that can only be fired when the user wears a special ring that activated a computer in side the gun (Cannon 26). This is a good idea. It would stop anyone but the owner of the gun from using it. Unlike a locked gun, it could easily be used for protection if needed. This would please both sides. The only problem with this is that it is expensive, but like any new technology, the price will likely drop once it becomes more popular. In Geoffrey Canada s essay Peace in the Streets, he throws out another interesting idea, …make all handun ammunition identifyable. Gun owners should have to sign for specially coded ammunition, the purchase of which would be logged into a computer (527). This would discourage people from using guns to commit violent crimes because the bullets could be traced back to the person who purchased them. It would help to catch criminals and get them off the streets. It would have no negative consequences for gun entusiasts either. They could still have guns and buy ammo. This wouldn t effect them unless they commit a crime.
People on both sides of the issue would benefit form these laws. The crime rate would most likely drop, which is exactly what the gun control advocates want. On the other hand, none of these laws would take away any of the rights of gun owners, they could still have their guns. There is another reason why gun enthusiasts should favor some gun control. The government hasn t resorted to the drastic measure of banning guns altogether yet, but if the crime rate keeps climbing, they might do so in the future. If gun owners want to be able to keep their guns, they need to work at reducing crime before it gets too out of hand. Gun control is one way of doing that.
Thurman, James N., “Behind drop in U.S. Murder Rate, A Decline in Gun Crime”
Christian Science Monitor, 10/20/99, 4
Maple, Jack, “Why We Still Have A Long Way To Go” Newsweek, 8/30/99, 11
Business Week, “Say Yes To serious Gun Control” 8/16/99, 128
Faria, Miguel Jr. “More Gun Control, More Crime.” Human Events
Loft, John Jr. “Bathtubs Kill More Babies Than Guns Do.” Human Events,
“Holes in Clinton’s Safety Net for Guns.” Newsweek, 09/20/99, 30