Gun Control Essay Research Paper In 1988

Gun Control Essay, Research Paper

In 1988, handguns killed 7 people in Great Britain 19 in Sweden 53 in

Switzerland 25 in Israel 13 in Australia 8 in Canada And 8,915 in the United

States The figures are shocking but what is the solution? Gun control is a

problem that our country has faced for many years. In the past this issue has

been placed on the back burner but the recent school, subway, and gang related

shootings have pushed it to the forefront of political and social issues. There

are basically three categories in the dispute for gun control. The extreme

"right" which thinks anyone should have access to any weapon or

ammunition. The extreme "left" who believe Government should have

ultimate control of all handguns in the United States, and that possession of

guns or ammunition should be illegal. In the middle are the

"moderates" who think that gun control including background checks,

training classes, and waiting periods would solve the problem. Gun control is an

issue that is surrounded by many myths and misunderstanding, with more than its

share of misinformation. In the following pages we will explore all sides of

this argument and offer up our own solution. BACKGROUND As mentioned in the

introduction, the gun control issue has not been in the media or political

spotlight until recently, approximately ten years ago. Before that time the idea

of gun control was on the minds of few people, but today it’s a major issue.

Know it’s impossible to pick up a newspaper or watch the evening news without

being bombarded with the details of another mass shooting, or another child that

was killed while playing with a gun. Unfortunately, there are many people who

take the easy way out when it comes to a solution, they choose gun control. They

make this decision without ever taking the time or effort to educate themselves

on the issue. In their minds choosing gun control means caring about children,

and wanting to stop the violence we have all become so accustomed to. We believe

that misunderstanding and misinformation are the two biggest culprits when it

comes to the argument over gun control. If every citizen were to educate

themselves the messages from the gun control advocates would fall on deaf ears.

MYTH vs. REALITY The following is a list of ten of the most widely

misunderstandings about crime, guns, and gun control. Myth #1: Guns cause crime.

There is no relationship between the number of guns and the amount of crime in

the United States. Between 1973 and 1992, the rate of gun ownership increased by

45% while the homicide rate during that period fell by nearly 10%. Myth #2: Gun

control laws reduce crime. Firearms have not been regulated in the United States

for most of the past thirty years. The number of firearms in private hands has

increased continuously by millions per year. Yet the rate of crime, violent

crime, and homicide have shown no significant correlation. Myth #3: Gun control

laws stop friends from killing friends. Most murderers and victims of homicide

have criminal records and they are likely to have other criminals as friends.

While it is true that in many cases of homicide the offender and victim know

each other, it is not true that these "friends killing friends" are

the plain ordinary folks often portrayed in the anti-gun propaganda. Myth #4:

Gun control laws keep criminals from obtaining guns. In surveys of prisoners,

only 7% of criminals’ handguns were obtained from legitimate sources.

Three-fourths of the felons report that they would have no trouble obtaining a

gun when they were released. Myth #5: Required waiting periods would prevent

some of the most vicious crimes. The Brady Bill waiting period imposes waiting

periods on handguns, the least deadly type of firearm, while imposing no such

restriction on much more deadly weapons such as rifles or shotguns. While

handguns are preferred by criminals because of their portability and

concealability not every criminal who planned to use a handgun will abandon his

criminal plans when confronted by a waiting period. Myth #6: Guns don’t work as

self-protection against criminals. Guns are about as valuable to civilians as

they are to police officers. As many as 65 lives are protected by guns for every

life lost to a gun. Every year potential victims kill between 2,000 and 3,000

criminals, and wound an additional 9,000 to 17,000. Private citizens mistakenly

kill innocent people only thirty times a year, compared to about 310 mistaken

killings by police. Criminals succeed in taking a gun away from an armed victim

less than 1% of the time. Myth #7: Guns aren’t needed as self-protection.

Approximately 83% of the population will be victims in their lives, and there is

only one police officer for every 3,300 people. Myth #8: Gun control laws are

needed to prevent the purchase of Saturday Night Specials and "assault

weapons." Inexpensive handguns are involved in only 1% to 3% of violent

crimes; criminals generally prefer larger caliber and more expensive handguns.

In the past fifty years no civilian has ever used a legally owned machine gun in

a violent crime, and no UZI has ever been used to kill a police officer. Myth

#9: Gun control laws are especially needed to prevent gun accidents in the home.

Many people mistakenly conclude that children die frequently in gun accidents

and that sharp restrictions on gun ownership are necessary to address the

problem. There are accidents that occur in the home, but that number has fallen

dramatically. The death rate from firearm accidents is lower than that from

accidental drowning, inhalation, and digestion of foreign objects. Myth #10: Gun

ownership is not a constitutional right. The Second Amendment reflects the

founders’ belief that armed citizens (called militias) were necessary precaution

against tyranny by our own government and its army. PRO GUN CONTROL Handgun

Control Inc. (HCI) is the leading organization that is lobbying for, and

introducing legislation on gun control to the Congress. It is organized and

chaired by Sarah Brady, the wife of gun violence victim and former White House

Press Secretary James Brady. She was the driving force behind the recently

adopted "Brady Bill" which made a mandatory waiting period for the

purchase of a handgun. She is know working on the "Children’s Gun Violence

Protection Act", which will impose the following: 1. New safety standards

on the manufacture and importation of handguns, including a child resistance

standard, a safety lock, a magazine disconnect safety for pistols, a manual

safety, and drop test equipment. 2. Authorize the Consumer Products Safety

Commission to study, test, and evaluate various technologies and means of making

guns more child-resistant. 3. Prohibit the sale of an assault weapon to anyone

under the age of 18. 4. Increase the criminal penalties for selling a gun to a

juvenile. 5. Require gun storeowners to implement minimum safety and security

standards to prevent theft of firearms. 6. Require gun owners to store loaded

guns in a place that is reasonably inaccessible to children, or use a device to

lock the gun, and imposes criminal penalties for adults who leave firearms

available for illegal use by children. These may all sound like wonderful ideas

if this is all you know about the subject. However, one must ask the question,

are these new rules and regulations really going to serve their purpose? Or are

they only going to succeed in taking away more of our constitutional rights?

RECOMMENDATIONS Our recommendation would suggest that both parties should be

able to agree on common ground. It would not hurt all gun owners to submit to

background checks and waiting periods. This should not only include handguns,

but rifles as well. However, there is no reason that pro-gun control advocates

should continue their crusade to ban certain types of weapons and ammunition.

Stiff mandatory laws should be established and enforced for those who are

unwilling to obey these new regulations. The laws should be the same in all

states in order to do away with the senseless lawsuits being brought against the

gun manufacturers. CONCLUSION In our misinformed society, when we hear

politicians saying they are pro gun control we automatically translate that as

meaning they care about the children, it makes us feel good. That is what it is

all about, feeling good. Letting feelings run our lives and make the decisions

for us, instead of educating ourselves on the issues and then making informed

decisions. It has to do with choosing feelings over substance. The gun control

crowd has managed to hype up the crime in this country and pass all the blame on

the guns, forget the fact that someone has to pull the trigger. They tell

glamorous and violent stories of gruesome killings and accidental shootings, and

then promote gun control as the cure-all idea. While at the same time cast the

"right" as wanting to kill your children, put guns in our schools,

give guns to your children, and basically run all over the country shooting

people. While some basic gun legislation might be in order, what these people

are trying to do is throw the Second Amendment right out the window. Here is a

quote from the founder of HCI: "I’m convinced that we have to have Federal

Legislation to build on. We are going to have to take one step at a time, and

the first step is necessarily, given the political realities, going to be very

modest. Our ultimate goal, total control of handguns in the United States, is

going to take time. The first problem is to slow down the increasing number of

handguns being produced and sold in this country. The second problem is to get

handguns registered, and the final problem is to make the possession of all

handguns, and handgun ammunition illegal." This is really demented thinking

that shows what incrementalism can do once it gets started.


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