Gun Control Essay Research Paper The

Gun Control Essay, Research Paper : The failure of Gun Control Laws Americans are faced with an ever-growing problem of violence. Our streets have become

Gun Control Essay, Research Paper

: The failure of Gun Control Laws

Americans are faced with an ever-growing problem of violence. Our streets have become

a battleground where the elderly are beaten for their social security checks, where

terrified women are viciously attacked and raped, where teenage gangster shoot it out for

a patch of turf to sell their illegal drugs, and where innocent children are caught daily in

the crossfire of drive-by shootings. We cannot ignore the damage that these criminals are

doing to our society, and we must take actions to stop these horrors. However, the efforts

by some misguided individuals to eliminate the legal ownership of firearms does not

address the real problem at hand, and simply disarms the innocent law abiding citizens

who are most in need of a form of self-defense. To fully understand the reasons behind

the gun control efforts, we must look at the history of our country, and the role firearms

have played in it. The second amendment to the Constitution of the United States makes

firearm ownership legal in this country. There were good reasons for this freedom,

reasons which persist today. Firearms in the new world were used initially for hunting,

and occasionally for self-defense. However, when the colonist felt that the burden of

British oppression was too much for them to bear, they picked up their personal firearms

and went to war. Standing against the British armies, these rebels found themselves

opposed by the greatest military force in the world at that time. The 18th century

witnessed the height of the British Empire, but the rough band of colonial freedom

fighters discovered the power on the Minuteman, the average American gun owner.

These Minuteman, so named because they would pick up their personal guns and jump to

the defense of their country on a minute?s notice, served a major part in winning the

American Revolution. The founding fathers of the country understood that an armed

populace was instrumental in fighting off oppression, and they made the right to keep and

bear arms a constitutionally guaranteed right(The Gunin American 14-25)Over the years,

some of the reasons for owning firearms have changed. As our country grow into a strong

nation, we expanded westward, exploring the wilderness, and building new towns on the

frontier. Typically, these new towns were far away from the centers of civilization, and

the only law they had was dispensed by townsfolk through the barrel of a gun. Crime

existed, but could be minimized when the townspeople fought back against the criminals.

Eventually, these organized townspeople developed police forces as their towns grew in

size. Fewer people carried their firearms on the street, but the firearms were always there,

ready to be used in self-defense(27-39) It was after the Civil War that the first

gun-control advocates came into existence. These southern leaders who were

afraid that the newly freed black slaves would assert their newfound political rights, and

these leaders wanted to make it easier to oppress the free blacks(41) This oppression was

accomplished by passing laws making it illegal in many places or black people to own

firearms. With that effort, they assured themselves that the black population would be

subject to their control, and world not have the ability to fight back. At the same time, the

people who were most intent on denying black people their basic rights walked around

with their firearms, making it impossible to resist their efforts. An unarmed man stands

little chance against and armed one, and these armed men saw their plans work

completely. It was a full century before the civil rights activists of the 1960?s were able

to restore the constitutional freedoms that blacks in this country were granted in the

1860?s(46). Today?s gun control activists are a slightly different breed. They claim that

gun violence in this country has gotten to a point where something must be done to stop

it. They would like to see criminals disarmed, and they want the random violence to

stop(Edel 77). I agree with their sentiments. However, they are going about it in the

wrong way. While claiming that they want to take guns out of the hands of criminals,

they work to pass legislation that world take the guns out of the hands of law abiding

citizens instead. For this reason the efforts at gun control do not address the real problem

of crime. The simple definition of a criminal is someone who does not obey the law. The

simple definition of a law abiding citizen is someone who does obey the law. Therefore,

if we pass laws restricting ownership of firearms, which category of people does it

affect? The simple answer is that gun control laws affect law abiding citizens only. By

their very nature, the criminals will continue to violate these new laws, they will continue

to carry their firearms, and they will find their efforts at crime much easier when they

know that their victims will be unarmed. The situation is similar to that of the disarmed

blacks a century ago. Innocent people are turned into victims when new laws make it

impossible for them to fight back. Am unarmed man stands little chance against an

armed one. An interesting recent development has been the backlash against the gun

control advocates. In many states, including Florida and Texas, citizens have stated that

they want to preserve their right to carry forearms for self-defense (Furnish 23). Since the

late 1980?s, Florida has been issuing concealed weapons permits to law abiding citizens,

and these citizens have been carrying their firearms to defend themselves from rampant

crime(25). The result is that the incidence of violent crime has actually dropped in

contrast to the national average. Previously, Florida had been leading the nation in this

category, and the citizens of that state have welcomed the change. Gun control advocates

tried to claim that there would be bloodshed in the streets when these citizens were given

the right to carry. They tried to claim that the cities of Florida world become like Dodge

City with shoot-outs on every street corner, and duels over simple disagreements. These

gun control advocates were wrong. over 200,000 concealed carry permits have been

issued so far, with only 36 of these permits revoked for improper use of a firearm(31).

This statistic is easy to understand. It is the law abiding citizens who are going through

the process of getting concealed carry permits so that they may legally carry a firearm.

The people who go through this legal process do not want to break the law, and they do

not intend to break the law. The people who do intend to break the law will carry their

guns whether or not the law allows them to do so. Criminals will always find ways to get

guns. In this country we have criminalized the use, possession, sale, and transportation of

many kinds of narcotics, however, it is still easy for someone to take a ride and purchase

the drugs of their choice at street corner vendors. Firearms and ammunition would be just

as easy for these black market entrepreneurs to deliver to their customers. Today,

criminals often carry illegal weapons, including sawed-off shotguns, machine guns, and

homemade zip-guns, clearly showing their disregard for the current laws which make

these items illegal(Gottlies 112). And when they are caught, the courts regularly dismiss

these lesser weapons charges when prosecuting for the more serious charges that are

being committed with the weapons(113). The gun control advocates have argued their

case by demonizing the gun itself, rather than addressing the people who commit violent

crimes(Davidson 82). This is the main fallacy in their argument. They slyly attempt to

claim that possession of a gun turns average citizens into bloodthirsty lunatics. This

theory falls apart under close scrutiny. If legal possession of a firearm caused this sort of

attitude, then why are crime rates highest in areas such as Washington, D.C. and New

York City which have strict gun control laws? And why are crime rates dropping in

sates such as Florida where private ownership of firearms is encourage? Simply stated,

legal ownership of a gun does not cause crime(86). The most recent efforts of the gun

control lobby has been to claim that certain types of guns and ammunition are inherently

evil. They assign emotional catch phrases such as ?assault weapons? and ?cop killer

bullets? to broad categories of firearms and ammunition in the hopes that people will

believe that some guns have an evil nature(122-123). Most people who are unfamiliar

with firearms do not fully understand what these phrases mean, and they accept the terms

being used without question. What people do not often understand is that the term

?assault weapon? has been defined to include all semiautomatic rifles, and ?cop killer?

has been defined to include any bullet that can penetrate type two Body armor(125). It

comes as a surprise to most people that a large number of simple hunting rifles can do

both. Does ownership of one of these weapons cause people to become mass murderers?

It does not, and we must not fall into the trap of blaming the sword for the hand the wie!

lds it. So I?ve shown that the act of making it illegal to own firearms does little to prevent

criminals from getting guns. These laws only restrict people who respect the law itself,

the people who world only use firearms for legal purposes anyway. And when we give

people the right to defend themselves, we find that criminals start looking for other

victims out of fear that they will become the victims themselves. We must work to

reduce crime in America, but we should look at the problem realistically, and develop

plans that would be effective. Its is obvious that gun control laws are neither realistic, nor

effective in reducing crime. Therefore, we must direct our efforts toward controlling

crime, not controlling legal ownership of firearms.