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Gun Control
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College
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Gun Control: Not to Regulate or Make Stricter Gun Laws? Essay

One of the most controversial, heated, and debated issues of the modern world involves gun control. Guns can be incredibly dangerous, especially in the wrong hands. In reaction to that reality many averages, everyday people feel compelled to own guns in order to protect themselves from others misuse or abuse of such weapons. While gun ownership is legal there are many laws and serious penal consequences that are intended to deter inappropriate gun use and increasingly severe consequences for its misuse. However, there are many American citizens that feel that Gun Control should be much stricter and essentially keep guns out of all hands that do not belong to the police or the military. Many other Americans considered that viewpoint to stand in direct defiance of the 2nd Amendment, which guarantees a citizen’s right to bear arms. However, most Americans support a certain amount of gun control that does not prevent its citizens from gun ownership but can more effectively weed out those most likely to misuse or abuse the right. There are three areas most heavily debated concerning the issue of gun control; the focus being on how gun control influences and affects violent crime statistics, suicide rates, and finally the potential of “civil wars” or the encouragement of other civil uprisings.

History

Human beings have always committed crimes against each other of one kind or another, were harmful to themselves and were prone to armed rebellions since the beginnings of society. From wooden spears to sabers and swords, humanity has worked very hard at developing ways to fight and conquer others. The discovery of gun powder and the use of firearms has only helped to perpetuate those historical traditions. Films like “Braveheart” and “Troy” have dramatized how bloody and extreme of the battles fought long before the modern era; the concept of handguns and semi-automatic weaponry was not even a “twinkle” in the inventor’s eyes. However, guns may have changed how we fight, but not the reasons that we fought. They were committing acts of robbery and murder long before guns were invented. People who wanted to end their lives and found the means to do so long before guns were invented. People, most certainly, fought wars over civil issues, long before the invention of firearms (Borade 1). For this reason, many experts feel that guns do not cause crimes to be committed. However, at the same time, a gun gives wrong-doers an advantage over their victims when implemented. Violent crimes are being committed every few seconds of every day all over the country and addressing those high statistics is paramount, however, the question becomes does eliminate guns from the “American Public Equation” likely to endorse more crime, suicides, and acts of civil unrest or less? This is the main reason for stricter gun laws decisions.

Discussion

When many people think of gun control they think of the most extreme viewpoints, for example, fascist Adolf Hitler’s strict legal attempts to disarm the citizens of Germany or, the other extreme, where everyone will be strapped with a gun and shooting out in streets the O.K. Corral of the Old West. However, these are both exaggerated scenarios, the reality is hardly as extreme on either side. Many people turn the argument into its basic components, which is not necessarily helpful ( Dacus 10). The perspective is that “guns kill,” so if there are no guns then there would be less opportunity for people to get shot, would eliminate one means of suicide, and affect the rates of crime in general. So by implementing very restrictive gun control laws it would forcibly improve the United States, overall. The opposition to this perspective feels that such laws would infringe and contradict Constitutional Rights, and if you restrict the number of gun ownership you may, in fact, is placing the public in greater danger not less (Borade 1). Both sides of the argument make valid points and are worth greater consideration and discussion.

We are living in a modern era where gun violence is a daily reality of many communities, in multiple cities, throughout the United States. Crimes like robbery and rape are much more successful when the perpetrator has a gun, granting him greater control over their victims. However, many argue that if more victims were armed then it might prevent certain crimes, even if the weapon is never fired (Kates & Mauser 1). Gun Control laws can only be effective if they are adhered to. So while law-abiding citizens would no longer have access to firearms, the criminals probably aren’t going to give up their weapons. This means strict control laws would only empower criminals to the detriment of the public. Some researchers, like John Lott, strongly believe that if criminals no longer have the total advantage of being armed, then the fear of armed victims may be a greater deterrent than gun law the government could ever hope to develop (2-3). According to the statistical data supports that violent crime involving guns is prevalent and in need of serious addressing, but there is no exclusive evidence that supports that criminals would be less likely to commit crimes based solely on their access to a firearm.
Suicide is, unfortunately, is another very common occurrence in this modern society. Today we know that mental illness, depression, and other emotional elements are necessary to lead someone to follow through with a suicide attempt ( Kates & Mauser 1). While the option of shooting oneself in the head or putting the gun barrel in their mouths and ending their lives has been proliferated by film and television; self –inflicted gunshot wounds are not the most popular way to end one’s life (Al-Khatib, 1). People have also been known to end their lives by falling off a building, hanging, and the most common, and intentional drug overdose. The presence of guns will not necessarily have any bearing on the prevalence of overall suicide statistics. Even having a gun in the home may not change the means by which a suicidal person ends their life. After all, people who slit their wrists and bleed out into their bathwater may never have chosen a gun, even if a gun was readily available.

Gun Control issues have been in the news lately. The constitutional right to bear arms is challenged by new perspectives, this relationship is much like oil and water. Many people are certain that the battle over gun control will result in a modern-day civil war.; placing armed citizens against the United States Government (Walton, 1). There have been historical instances where “survivalist groups” have fortified themselves with mass weaponry and a, sometimes, anarchist perspective on the world. This has, in the past, forced law enforcement to step in with deadly consequences, a good example was Ruby Ridge last century. The 2nd Amendment was not designed to allow criminal behavior to flourish, it was never intended to allow unstable individuals to go on shooting sprees, and it was not meant to disallow the public from protecting themselves, their families, and property from those that mean them harm. Many feel that the 2nd Amendment cannot be honored at the same time as the government attempts to impose restrictions on firearms in the United States (Borade 1).

Issues

Criminals use firearms to commit crimes, tighten the governmental controls, and the only people affected are those that chose to follow the law. Eliminating the firearms from the equation may work to leave people, in many ways, unprotected. However, eliminating all legal restrictions and levied controls would, also, be foolish. There are many people in this world who have owned or had access to firearms and misused them (Chemerinsky 479). Not, necessarily, in the commotion of a premeditated crime, but in a moment of anger, become the means of unnecessary and unwarranted violence. Within the last decade, we have seen many people who were certified to own a weapon misuse it or overstep their authority to do so. The controversial case of George Zimmerman, who may have taken advantage of his license to carry a weapon, used his weapon against a teenager. That is not the same thing. For many who feel that the only people who should have access to firearms are hunters, if that is how they earn their living or feed their families, and law enforcement officers. Limiting the use of weapons for any reason to the criminals and the crime fighters is unwise. However, even law enforcement can misuse that right to carry a firearm. This year we have seen a number of police officers abuse their power and intentionally ending the lives of suspects of crimes that logically do not warrant such an extreme reaction. Michael Brown was guilty of shoving and accosting a shop clerk in the process of stealing a package of cigars. When Police surrounded Brown, although he was not armed and he was essentially petty theft, several officers discharge their guns killing the shoplifter.

If the intention of the government to keep guns out of the hands of the “unstable” and unpredictable public, then someone will also have to keep those who have access to that power from misusing it. If part of the issue of gun ownership is that it is best left to law enforcement, but if those law enforcement officers misuse and abuse that power then they are as much of an armed and dangerous threat to the public as any armed criminal would be. Is the public safer with police that granting themselves permission to play judge, jury, and executioner? Officers have other options, tasar guns, and mace, but they opted for a more permanent solution. Given the recent behaviors of police and the continuing growth of gun violence, each year verifies that Gun Control cannot be applied as a universal, one-size-fits-all, solution that will meet all of the rights promised by the 2nd Amendment and keeps weapons out of the hands of the wrong people (Borade 1). The two extremes of the debate would tell you that there is no “happy-medium;” those who do not support firearms want them gone for good and those that staunching adhere to the Constitution believe that no restrictions are the only way to appease the definition o the “American Way.” However, there is always a compromise if people are willing to see and work towards it.

Solution in stricter gun laws

Because guns are dangerous, do participate in a great many crimes, and are all the more of a threat in the hands of violent criminals there is a need for control factors and laws regarding them are in place. This is to prevent misuse. Despite the 2nd Amendment granting Americans the right to bear arms, it would never have endorsed the criminally insane and mentally unstable from purchasing a gun. Gun Control should not be enforced as a means of limiting the rights and liberties of legitimate, honest, responsible owners, but as a means of preventing these weapons from ending up in the wrong hands; whether these people are criminals, suicidal, or a potential Modern American rebel (Borade 1). Since the mental state of a gun owner is incredibly important as is the ability to properly use the weapon. That said part of the ownership of a firearm should require an application, but also, require deeper background searches and require new and inexperienced gun owners to take mandated courses to guarantee that they are properly trained. This would help limit the number of questionable gun owners and force gun owners to understand proper gun use and maintenance is essential.

Conclusion

In the United States of American we pride ourselves on freedoms and the right to choose how we live. Too strict of gun control laws are perceived by the many in the public as stepping too far when restricting actions already guaranteed by the Constitution. Unfortunately, there is a need for gun control laws because of the number of people who misuse their firearms, not for those who follow the laws and safety considerations. Gun Control laws should never overshadow individual personal rights and taking the means of protection from citizen’s hands. While firearms are involved in phenomena like crime, suicide, and civil war, they do not cause them and eliminating them would not necessarily stop people from breaking the law, ending their lives, or fighting for a rebellious cause. The solution to such problems can only be found through further research, greater study, and a compromise of perspectives. Gun Control laws must exist, but they should never act to disarm law-abiding citizens and leaving them unprotected in a world that is sometimes very, very dangerous.

Work Cited

  • Al-Khatib, Talal. “Would Gun Control Reduce Suicides?.” Discovery Magazine. 27 February 2013: 1. Print. .
  • Borade, Gaynor. “Pros and Cons of Gun Control.” Buzzle . 5 Sep 2013: 1. Web. 26 Sep. 2014. .
  • Chemerinsky, Erwin. “Putting the gun Control Debate in a Social Perspective.” Fordham Law Review. 73.2 (2004): 477-488. Print.
  • Dacus, Chris. Gun Control, the OK Corral, and the Second Amendment. 2013. 1-202. Print.
  • Kates, Don B., and Gary Mauser. “Would Banning Firearms Reduce Murder and Suicide?.” Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy?. 30.2 (2007): 649-694. Print.
  • Lott, John R. More Guns Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws. 3rd. London/Chicago: Chicago Press, 2010. 1-472. Print.
  • Walton, Frank Vyan. “Are we Headed for a Shooting Civil War over Guns?.” The Daily Kos. 18 Jan 2013: 1. Web. 26 Sep. 2014.
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Gun Control: Not to Regulate or Make Stricter Gun Laws?. (December 25, 2020).
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