Gun Control Essay, Research Paper
On Monday two men shot an 18-year-old to death on a street corner in Las Vegas. Tuesday in Idaho, a state police officer was shot in the head and killed. The next day 28-year-old Damon Damar Ingram was gunned down while walking his dog in the nation?s capital. On Thursday officers arrested 49-year-old Frances Boice in rural South Dakota. Police say she shot and killed her 51-year-old husband in upstate New York before flee-ing to the heartland. Welcome to a week in the United States, one of the most free and violent countries in the world. Where people carry weapons to protect themselves from the other people who own somewhere between 200 and 250 million firearms according to PSR online. And since about 40 percent of those guns were obtained illegally, most are probably going to be used for illegal purposes. So just think, there are 100 million guns out there that could kill or injure you.
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In order to reduce the number of guns used by people to commit these appalling crimes, we should do three things. Change the current laws governing the process of purchasing guns, make gun manufacturers responsible for their products, and show pri-vate citizens that gun control can be aided with their help
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To begin, the gun laws must be changed. In 1999 there were nine school shoot-ings, thirty people have been killed and seventy-five wounded. That is thirty people too many, for a problem that could be solved with a simple passage of a law. When large numbers of people start to die we try to find a cause. The cause of these problems is ob-vious, and when an apparent cause is found, people of the United States should try to rec-tify that problem. But why hasn?t the legislative branch done anything to rectify the problem? Maybe because lobbyists for gun rights have inundated our congressmen with large amounts of money, something to the tune of eight million dollars between 1997 and 1998. Handguncontrol.org states the NRA alone spent nearly twelve million dollars from 1991 to 1998 to strengthen their argument. It seems that money talks. But really a small interest group should not dictate what laws govern all of us. But what this really all comes down to is that guns need to be more closely regulated than they are now. A gun is a gun and it was meant to kill something, and today guns are used to kill more people than ever. This situation will only get worse before it gets better, but maybe that is what the bureaucrats need to know. They should take their blinders off, they need to see that people get murdered every day and it doesn?t need to be like that. Some progress is being made though. As stated by Howard Fineman in the May 31st, 1999 issue of Newsweek more than 50 gun-control bills have been introduced in congress, although many of the proposed bills were prevented from becoming laws, there are still bills that haven?t been voted on yet.
While the Brady Bill was passed, many convicted felons still commit murders with guns. The law was meant to check a person?s background for any discrepancies. And it has done its job superbly. According to Matt Bai in the June, 28th, 1999 edition of Newsweek as many as 50,000 guns have been prevented from reaching those considered unfit to handle a gun. But still we have individuals who have served prison sentences that obtain guns. How do they do it? Well it is quite simple, there are people who go to gun shops where there are no laws governing how many weapons they buy. Some gun-runners buy 500 to 600 guns at a time according to PSR online. Now you would think that someone would figure out that they wouldn?t need 500 firearms. As stated by How-ard Fineman in the May 31st, 1999 issue of Newsweek, ?these individuals committed 414,000 crimes, including murder, robbery, and aggravated assault.? When the gunrun-ners get back to their buyers they make very hefty profits. Many make a 400-500% profit over the legal purchase of the firearm. This lucrative business stays afloat because of the relative ease with which gunrunners can purchase multiple weapons. Although only state residents can buy guns, the gunrunners can get by this by obtaining false identification or hiring someone to purchase the weapons for them. According to Viveca Novak in the May 31st, 1999 issue of Time ?more than 600,000 crimes are committed each year in-volving guns, and 13,000 people die each year due to gun-related violence.?
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Why are handguns and other firearms sold to people with such lax restrictions? How come someone at the age of 18 in some parts of the country (21 in others) is able to go to a gun shop and purchase a gun after a mandatory 5-day waiting period? If a person wants to drive a car, they must pass a long and arduous, testing program. All that instruc-tion just to drive a car. You would think that since guns were meant to kill things they would be harder to come by. But no, not even a training period is needed. Just a proof of legal age and one can own a gun. That is what is wrong with the gun-buying process. These instruments can kill and they should be used carefully. I think that in many cases new limits should be placed on the use of handguns. If they are used by a person to mur-der and subsequently convicted their privilege to weapons should be revoked. The sec-ond amendment says that people should have the right to exercise a militia. But the bill of rights was written at a time when the serenity of the nation was nonexistent. People were not sure if their once oppressors, now enemies would come back with a large scale attack and try to take back what they thought was rightfully theirs. Today there is no rea-son to have a militia, but the second amendment still stands.
December 6, 1999 Fort Gibson, Oklahoma. April 20, 1999 Littleton, Colorado. May 21, 1998 Springfield, Oregon. And the list of dates goes on. What do these dates have in common? They will all live in infamy. Every one of these dates calls our atten-tion to the fact that violence has no age limit, and that guns are not supposed to be in the hands of dangerous persons. How come in many gun stores they still sell semi-automatic weapons? What were they invented for anyway? Well the first semi-automatic machine guns were produced for soldiers in combat. There hasn?t been a war fought inside the United States for over a century. So why are they still being manufactured and sold? I?ve never seen a hunter who needed 10 shots a second to kill one little pheasant. Shot-guns are more than enough. But the need to shoot an animal 37 times seems excessive. Also why do the gun owners need silencers? They aren?t going to kill some animal really, really quietly are they? Silencers were made for one reason, to silence the gun. But why is such a device sold? I could think of another reason, maybe so that other peo-ple in the vicinity of the shooting wouldn?t hear the shot. Well the gun manufacturers know their demographics, they aren?t a multi-billion dollar business run by a group of naive businessmen. The gun companies know who buys their guns. And the companies are just giving them what they want. Its good business you always give the customer what they want, and in this instance the customers are felons and they want to get away with murder. It is blatantly obvious what the manufacturers are doing, but it just takes one congressmen, one senator, just one person to blow the whistle. Companies shouldn?t get away with catering to criminals. Well just recently the U.S. filed suit against the gun manufacturers for producing unsafe products. According to Harold Gearry in the Decem-ber 18th, 1999 issue of Newsweek ?the government is planning to sue the gun industry for the ways they market and distribute their products. The Department of Housing and Ur-ban Development is readying a lawsuit on behalf of 3,200 public housing authorities around the country to recover the costs associated with gun violence, which is estimated at around $1 billion a year.? Brent Swiller, a top level HUD official said the [lawsuit?s] ?primary interest will be to change the way the gun industry does business.? Swiller was also quoted saying that ?this is a massive problem that is facing the United States.?
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In conclusion, in order to reduce the number of guns used by people to commit appalling crimes, we should do three things. Change the current laws governing the process of purchasing guns, make gun manufacturers responsible for their products, and show private citizens that gun control can be aided with their help. In the U.S. 250 peo-ple are killed every week from guns. I?m not one to trample on the constitution but there should be limits to our rights to bear arms. Thomas Jefferson once said ?all people are bad in nature, but are good in intentions.? With the semi-automatic weapons and pipe bombs out there being made by 17 year-olds, intentions aren?t good enough anymore. We need to change the laws presiding over firearms, tell manufacturers of guns that their products would be a lot safer if they put a little thought into more safety features, and open people up to the fact that thousands of innocent people are killed every year. It won?t stop without their help and support. It is the people who take action that change the future not the dreamers.