Handgun Control Essay, Research Paper
?The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subjected people to
carry arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subjected peoples to carry
arms have prepared their own fall.? This quote was said by the ruler of Germany , Adolph Hitler,
during the Edict of March 18, 1938. He realized that the people were violent, and allowing them
to carry arms would be disastrous. Today, in America handgun violence is at an astronomical
high. Statistics prove that in recent years, in the United States, nearly 35,000 people have been
killed annually by guns(Godfried 13). Statistics like these will continue to rise unless stronger gun
control laws are passed. The outcries of the people?s views, and the protesting of organized gun
control groups are the key elements in bringing these laws into effect.
Handgun violence has had a major impact on our society. It is the second leading cause of
death among young adults. One in every five American parents personally knows a child that has
been shot. (Leonne18). This youth related gun violence is on a rise according to the Drew
Medical Center in Los Angeles. Before 1980, they had not admitted a child under the age of 10
for gun shot wounds. However, between 1980-1987 they admitted 34 youths. (Leonne 18).
With gun violence at a peek, no school will be safe without stronger regulations. We are now
constantly threatened by gun violence in our schools. Handgun violence is not limited to
America?s youth. It is a major problem throughout the nation. Deaths by handguns include;
15,000 murders, 18,000 suicides and 1,500 accidents. (Godfried 13). As citizens of the United
States, we need to come together in the fight against handgun violence.
Ironically enough, one of the biggest deterrents to the control of handguns, is the law
itself. Innocent people are being injured and even killed by bullets, in big cities, rural areas and
the suburbs. These bullets ,and their guns, are being bought legally and are resold illegally in
areas where handguns are outlawed. The Brady Handgun Violence Act of 1993 requires a
background check for legal sale of a handgun. It requires a five day waiting period, giving law
enforcement the opportunity to do these background checks. Only a select few are disqualified
from owning guns, they are:
1.a person under indictment for, or has been convicted of a crime punishable by more than
a year in prison.
2. A fugitive from justice.
3. An unlawful user of any controlled substance, or a person addicted to any controlled
4. A person who has bee adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to any
5.A person illegally or unlawfully in the United States.
6. A person dishonorably discharged from the armed forces.
7. A citizen of the US who has given up their citizenship.
8. A person who is under court order to refrain from ?harassing, stalking, or threatening a
partner or child. (Partial Summary 3)
These regulations rule out some people but the greater majority of the population can still legally
purchase handguns. Among these people could be the mentally ill who have not been diagnosed,
murders that have been acquitted of their crimes, and dishonest gun dealers looking to maximize
their profits. ?New laws are starting to crack down on drunk drivers, but congress has done little
to keep handguns from falling into the wrong hands: the hands of minors, criminals, drunks, drug
users, and the mentally unstable? (Long 71.) The US is the only nation which continues to allow
this terrible tragedy to continue. We are the only industrialized country that has placed few
effective regulations on handgun control and availability. In 1983, handguns were used to kill
thirty five people in Japan, eight in Great Britain, six in Canada, 10 in Australia, 7 in Sweden, 27
in Switzerland, and 9,014 in the United States(Long 71). In the United States, the vast majority
of the population want stricter laws for gun control. Congress, however has done little to act
upon the peoples requests.
With handgun violence at such a high rate, most Americans are worried and wondering
what, if anything, is being done to control the sale of these wepons. The public is strongly in favor
of gun control. ?Sixty eight percent favor banning cheap handguns, seventy two percent favor
banning semi-automatic assault weapons, seventy eight percent want laws relating to the sale of
firearms to be far stricter, eighty percent favor handgun registration and ninety five percent agree
with a seven day waiting period for handgun purchases? (Leonne 37). Many people are trying to
get involved. The most productive are the peace groups, who come together in large numbers to
fight this on-going problem. One of these groups is Peace Action of Washington. It is a state
wide organization consisting of 16,000 members. They are devoted to lobbying to prevent
handgun violence. It is a group based in Seattle and it has done great things for the community
like organizing and leading a coalition that influenced the Seattle City Council to ban the sale of
firearms at city facilities. Despite the efforts of the people and the peace groups, the biggest
problem for making handguns illegal is the National Rifle Association. (NRA). The NRA was
constructed to protect second amendment rights. The right to bear arms. The NRA is more than
three million members strong. These members fight to block new gun laws, and repeal existing
gun laws. The basis of their argument being the second amendment. ?With an annual budget of
sixty million, the NRA has the money, the numbers, and the clout to influence and intimidate the
congress. (Long 71).
It is clear, to stop handgun violence stricter laws must be placed on guns. In order for
drastic measures to be achieved, every one must get involved. There are still many obstacles to
conquer, but anything is possible. The sad fact is that many people in America are too violent to
have the right to bear arms. As a society, we need to stop this violence. Any obstacle, even one
such as handgun control can be overcome if ,as a nation, we pull together and fight back.
1. Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. ?A Partial Summary Of Federal Regulations
Applicable to Firearms and Ammunition.? September 1999.
*http://www.gunfree.org/csgv/fedregs.htm (September 30, 1999)
2. Leone, Bruno, ed. Gun Control. San Diego, California: Greenhaven Press,
3. Long, Robert E, ed. Gun Control. New York: H.W. Wilson Company. 1989.
4. Gottfried, Ted. Gun Control. Brookfield, Connecticut: The Millbrook Press.1993.