Gun Control Essay, Research Paper
Section 1. Overview
The issue of the letter which I sent was gun control legislation. The recipient of my letter was United States Senator George V. Voinovich of Ohio. This issue is an important topic in our country at this time which involves critical and controversial legislation, a large industry and special interest groups.
Section 2. Summary of the Issue
The Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights in the United States Constitution states, ?the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.? The reason for this Amendment as intended by the founding fathers was to insure that the citizens of the newly formed union could protect themselves from government tyranny and to guarantee the states a right to a militia. As with many other reasons for reform, the colonial authors could never have imagined that weapons would exist such as the ones that were banned in the 1994 Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act.
The need for gun control legislation was never really a hot topic in the United States until the early 1980?s, starting with the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan. During the last two decades this issue has sky-rocketed to the top of the list of concerns of the American
population. After the April 1999, massacre at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado gun control became the topic of much full scale nationalized and media exploited debate in our country, especially in the federal and state Congresses. Even though gun control legislation was already being debated and bills concerning gun control were set to be voted on within days and weeks of the Columbine incident in both federal and state Houses, a new and even stronger waive of calls for reform ripped through the nation. Most called for better control laws, but some called for radical legislation.
Section 3. Relation to Course
The large gun manufacturing and retail industry is supported by many special interests groups. These groups, like other industry support groups, are very important to those employed by this industry for job security. One of the most powerful lobbies in the nation today is in fact the gun lobby. Although recently many of the anti-gun control groups such as the NRA and the American Shooting Sports Council, Inc. have agreed and even pushed for better gun legislation.
Many Congressmen are also supported by PAC?s which either support or oppose gun control legislation. Even in wake of the pressing of constituents who may have changed there views recently and are pushing for new reforms, this makes it very difficult for Congressmen to vote against the beliefs of these committees as long as they continue to hold fast to there beliefs. This conflict will probably create a reluctance of Congressmen to come to a compromise on bills before they can even be brought to the floor for vote.
Even if new gun control legislation is passed the question will again be raised about whether the law is in compliance with the Second Amendment. With all of the controversy that surrounds this issue it is undoubted that a new law would be opposed in the United States
Supreme Court. In the past the Supreme has been quick to rule against any law that even slightly infringes on the Second Amendment. This may be another area of reluctance for Congressmen to pass gun control legislation.
Section 4. Recipient
United States Senator George V. Voinovich was elected to the Senate in 1998. Before that time he served two terms as Governor of Ohio and ten years as the Mayor of the city of Cleveland. In the Senate, he serves on four committees: the Environment and Public Works Committee, the Governmental Affairs Committee, the Small Business Committee and the Select Committee on Ethics. When deciding which official to write to I chose Senator Voinovich because he is the highest ranking federal official who was elected in an election in which I was able to participate and also because of his strong reputation as a leader and motivater. I have received a reply from the Senators office in which he states his stance on gun control legislation and assured me that my concerns would be taken into account in future legislation.
Section 5. Conclusion
The Second Amendment guarantees the right of American citizens to bear arms, but in recent times people have begun to question to what extent this right holds true. Although gun control has been a topic of new legislation for nearly two decades, today constituents are pressing even harder than ever for reform. The large gun industry has much support from special interests groups. Congressmen have become very reluctant to act on this volatile issue based on fears of lack of support and constitutionality. This means that it may be a long time before any real effective gun control legislation is passed. We can only hope that our representatives will make the correct decisions on this issue in the future.