Guns Essay, Research Paper
The Right to Control Arms, Not Bear Them
A child, two years of age, walks into her parent?s bedroom. After playing on the bed for a while, the child?s attention is drawn to a shiny metallic object under the bed, a gun that is fully loaded. The child takes the gun and plays with it. Holding the barrel of the gun the child tries to examine it further. She looks into the barrel, of the gun, gripping it from the trigger. The toddler, while looking down the barrel, pulls the trigger. The father of the child, who is in a different room of the house, hears the sound. He rushes to his bedroom to discover his daughter lying lifeless on the floor. This scenario occurs more often than thought in American society.
In the USA, 12 to 13 children under the age of 18 are killed daily by gun violence. As for the country as a whole, guns kill 87 people daily. These are staggering numbers. Guns are a problem to many people that should be controlled.
When most people talk about the controversial issue of gun control they begin with the 2nd Amendment of the US Constitution ?the right to bear arms.? Yet the right to bear arms controversy deals with whether or not guns were intended to be just for militia use. Since the USA has the strongest standing army in the world, many feel that the 2nd Amendment is not needed. Hence, some people believe that the right to own a gun should be taken away from every civilian in the USA. Wishful thinking.
It would be difficult to eliminate guns from the US because of the number of guns that exist. Therefore the only alternative, to lower murder rates and other crimes of this nature, is to increase gun control. Gun control needs to be increased in the US because as the laws stand today guns are too accessible.
Accessibility of guns is the main issue of gun control advocates. Many states require a criminal background check for gun owners. Yet many people who feel that guns should be more accessible in the USA feel that background checks are useless. In ?The Brady Law,? Michael D. Robbins states, ?Ninety-three percent of criminals who misuse firearms obtain them from illegal sources, and it is obvious that the remaining seven percent can easily do the same if they are not imprisoned under the Brady law.? Even though this statement has a valid point, because of the Brady Handgun Act many people may not attempt to obtain a gun that have a criminal history. These people realize that obtaining a gun through normal methods is impossible and that obtaining a gun illegally could put them back in prison. Therefore they do not obtain a gun, which means fewer guns on the streets.
On the other hand, in most states background checks are not needed at gun shows. This makes guns accessible to anyone over the age of 18. In ?What I Saw at the Gun Show,? Dan Baum states that gun shows are associated with some of the most horrific crimes in the US. The guns purchased that were used in such crimes as the Oklahoma City bombing and the Columbine incident, were guns purchased at guns shows. Eighteen-year-old Robyn Anderson, who bought two shotguns and a rifle for Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris the two Columbine organizers, stated “I wouldn’t have helped them buy the guns if I had faced a background check?(Baum). Yet she did obtain guns and many people died. This is an example where a criminal background check at gun shows may have saved lives.
Another idea that may aid in gun control is the raising of the age limit in the USA from 18 to 21 to own a gun. Many feel that since the age of 18 is the legal age in the USA that guns should be sold to those who are 18. When the USA rose the age to drink to 21, alcohol related deaths drop drastically, the same would occur with gun related deaths. The number of gun owners would drop therefore the number of guns that are owned would drop, making guns less accessible.
The type of guns that are sold should be limited. The common man has no need for semi-automatic weapons. Yet guns such as shotguns for hunting should be allowed. In ?Second Defense,? Rodger Koopman states, ?IF you or I wanted to own an AR-15 or any other gun, it is none of the government?s business why we want it, and certainly none of its business to presume that we may be up to no good?(192). Koopman?s ideas have much to disagree with. The government must regulate to some extent what guns should be bought or sold. AR-15 are semi-automatic assault rifles. In self-defense it has no real purpose. Most criminals would be scared of an assault rifle as much as hand such as a Cougar Magnum.
If states don?t look at ways to limit guns accessibility, then gun laws should be angled towards gun safety, such as safety locks and safes. Think about the scenario that occurred with girl, at the start of this paper. If there would have been a safety lock on the gun or if the gun would have been stored properly this incident may not have happened. According to Patricia Winters Lauro, ?34 percent of American households with children have firearms, and an estimated 300 accidental child deaths and another 900 injuries involving guns occur each year.? She goes on to state that 50% of households that have guns that have children don?t properly store their guns. The families that don?t store there guns properly, maybe careless, or not able to afford a safe. If states where to make it mandatory for each gun to be purchased with a safe then the number of families which store guns improperly would decrease.
There are many situations which occur when a child finds a gun or children go over a friends house where there is a gun. They play with it and some one dies. The accident may not have occurred if the weapon was put away safely or if the gun had a trigger safety lock. Yet if the gun weren?t accessible by being present in the house we wouldn?t say the accident might not have happen, we can say the accident would never happen.
Baum, Dan. ?What I Saw At the Gun Show?. Rolling Stone,
06/08/2000. nclive. Shaw Univ. lib., Raleigh, NC.
1 Nov. 2000. *http://www.nclive.org*
Koopman, Roger. ?Second Defense?. The Informed Argument. 5th ed. Robert K. Miller. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1998. 191-194.
Lauro, Patricia Winters. ?A new campaign tries to persuade gun owners to lock up their weapons to save children’s lives.? New York Times. 27 Sept 2000. nclive. Shaw Univ. lib., Raleigh, NC. 1 Nov. 2000. *http://www.nclive.org*
Robbins, Michael D. ?The Brady Law?. nclive. Shaw Univ. lib., Raleigh, NC. 1 Nov. 2000. *http://www.nclive.org*