Gun Control In 2000 Essay, Research Paper
As early as 1976 it was estimated that more had been written on “gun control” than on all other crime-related topics combined. The literature that was written before this time was very flawed and severely biased. The reason for this bias was the academics could see no reason why anyone should own a weapon in a democracy, and why should they? The only studies that were done were problematic ones, such as gun accidents, gun violence, and gun ownership among extremist groups. Due to these early writings today’s society is seeing more laws being introduced and more court cases that question the Second Amendment. Two examples of these cases are the Emerson case and United States v. Miller. In both of these cases a question is raised, is the Second Amendment being infringed apon. [details of both case to come].
To answer the question of the right to bare arms we must first realize that there is over 20,000 local, state, and federal laws already passed in our nation. Most of the laws control handguns and assult riffles. One such law in California is [state some hand gun law]. Laws like this bring us to the debate over how much more dangerous are hand guns verse long guns in accidents.
To emphasize accidental handgun fatalities among children, Handgun Control, Inc. runs nationally an advertisement which pictures an infant playing with a pistol. An academic-produced video for schools and libraries solemnly asserts that “a child is accidentally killed by a handgun every day” (i.e., 365 per year).(fn) Two academic anti-gun crusaders put the accidental death toll at “almost 1,000 children” per year.(fn) Fortunately these assertions are grotesque exaggerations. In fact, the National Safety Council figures of identifiable handgun accidental fatality average only 246 people of all ages per year.(fn) For children alone, the identifiable handgun average was: 10-15 accidental fatalities per year for children under age five; and 50-55 yearly for children under age fifteen.(fn) Obviously it is a terrible tragedy when a child dies in an accident, whether with a handgun or otherwise. But that does not justify falsifying statistics in order to concoct an argument for banning handguns. As discussed in the next section of this paper, fatal gun accidents (including those involving children) are largely attributable to gun possession among the same kinds of irresponsible aberrant adults who are responsible for murders. Some feasible controls proposals for reducing child (and other) accidental firearms deaths are offered in the penultimate section of this paper. As to the advisability of going beyond controls to banning handguns, the 13 children under 5 who died in handgun accidents may be compared to the 381 such children who in 1980 drowned in swimming pools. Yet nobody would demand a ban on new swimming pools, much less that all those who currently own pools be required to fill them in.
Anti-gun fanatics want to exclaim that even if a gun ban saves only one life it is worth it. That has special appeal if the lives being saved are those of very young children. But if they feel prohibiting upwards of 70 million handguns is justifed to save 13 young children’s lives, why does saving 381 annually not justify banning swimming pools? Is it possible that anti-gun fanatics are motivated more by hatred of guns and their owners than by saving lives? Of course, handguns and swimming pools are very different things that may merit very different policy responses. Among the relevant differences are that, unlike handguns, pools are not used to defend against 645,000 crimes each year and do not save thousands of innocent lives.
The disparity is even more striking in regard to fatalities caused by cigarettes. Compare the 10-15 children under age five who die in handgun accidents annually to the 432 who die in residential fires caused by adults who doze off while smoking.(fn) Not only do we not forbid smoking in the home, the federal government actually pays tobacco farmers subsidies to grow their crops. Yet cigarettes, which have absolutely no social utility (except perhaps for the subjective pleasure they give smokers), take hundreds of times more lives than do handguns in accident, murder and suicide combined. In that connection, it may be noted that we also do not ban alcoholic beverages, though people under their influence commit more murders and suicides than occur with handguns and hundreds of times more fatal accidents and non-fatal violent crimes.(fn)
Anti-handgun advocates recognize that an effective handgun ban would induce many people to substitute long guns for the purposes handguns now serve. In a 1979 article National Coalition to Ban Handguns (NCBH) chief spokesman, Samuel Fields Jr., argued a ban would greatly reduce the “2500 handgun deaths” he asserted were annually “associated with handgun accidents” in that a strict permit system and/or a ban on private possession of handguns would significantly alter the firearms habits of law-abiding citizens, who would then turn to safer long guns for self-protection.(fn) Academic proponents of these views include Dr. Diane H. Schetky in two different issues of the AMERICAN JOURNAL OF DISEASES OF CHILDREN.(fn) Asserting that she wants handguns banned, not the “taking away all firearms”, she follows Fields in alleging as examples of the terrible cost of handgun ownership that “Handguns account for only 20% of the nation’s firearms yet account for 90% of all firearms use, both criminal and accidental.”(fn) What is remarkable about such assertions is not just that their every single assertion is wrong, but that their recommendation that long guns are “safer” defensive weapons than handguns is tragically contrary to the truth. The fact is that, for a host of technical reasons, long guns are both far more susceptible to accidental discharge than handguns and far more deadly when so discharged; and that is particularly true for small children; toddlers cannot operate a handgun, but can easily discharge a long gun their irresponsible parents keep loaded and readily availably to them in the home.(fn)
Another debate that is constantly tied to handguns is the question of if a ban would lower the homicide rate. Anti-gun crusaders have pointed out that, since gun wounds in general are much deadlier than knife wounds, banning all guns would reduce murder because homicidal attackers would be forced to substitute the less-deadly knife for guns.(fn) True enough, if it be assumed that banning all guns were feasible politically and that a ban would disarm the kind of persons who use them feloniously. But the same reasoning shows that banning handguns only is likely to actually increase the death toll from homicidal attack. Handguns are deadlier than large knives (which kill only about 2.4% of those they wound); but rifles are between 5 and 11.4 times deadlier yet, i.e. 15 times deadlier than knives.(fn) Shotguns are so much deadlier yet that for medical purposes the wounds they make are not to be “compared with other bullet wounds.
Of course, unless sawed off, rifles and shotguns are less concealable than are handguns. So it would not be reasonable to assume that, if handguns disappeared, long
guns would be used in 100% of the homicidal assaults now carried out with handguns. Some homicidal attackers would substitute knives instead, with presumably
less lethal results. But according to the NIJ (National Institute of Justice) felon survey: 82% of them concurred that “If a criminal wants a handgun but can’t get one he can
always saw off a long gun.”; and 87% of the felons who had often used handguns in crime felt that sawing a long gun off to make it concealable for carrying would be
“easy” a view concurred in by 89% of those who had often used shotguns.(fn)
Although the questions above seem like they are the main topics that face the courts and socity, they aren’t. The true question that is in front of the courts and socity is weither or not times have changed too much since the Constitution was written. Does the Second Amendment apply to today’s times? The answer is yes, the ideas of our founder are still recent. One of the main reasons for having the second amendment was to arm the people for war or invasion. There was no standing military so the people of the country became the military. Now the people of this nation are protected by a standing military, but the need for the people to be armed is still there. No leader would attack the United States when he knows that he would not only be facing one of the strongest militaries in the world but every armed citizen in this nation. Another reason our founding fathers put this amendment in the Constitution is the fear of an over powering government. The fore fathers wanted the right and the ability to take over a government if it became out of control. The reason that this still applies in today’s world is the same reason that it applied back then. Our fore fathers were out numbered and out powered, but some how still pulled themselves away from a government that was over powering. The people of this nation would be out numbered and out powered if we were to try and take over a currupt government, but without the right to be armed we would never have a chance. Last of all when our fore fathers wrote the Constitution they made the document a living one. The words in it will always fit the times.