Gun control has been a hotly debated issue in recent years in the United States. Firearms have been a part of American tradition since the days of the pioneers, serving as a means of protection, hunting, and sport. However, as we approach the end of the 20th century, the use of guns has changed significantly due to the fast and steady increase in crime and the fight for the right to own a handgun. Legislation for gun control has been introduced in an effort to reduce crime in the United States.
Although many people feel that gun control violates the right of the people given in the Second Amendment, controlling the distribution, sales, and registration of guns and gun owners is necessary because of the homicide rate involving guns and the violence by criminals using guns. Opponents of gun control, including the National Rifle Association (NRA), argue that the right to bear arms is guaranteed in the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America and that licensing restrictions penalize law-abiding citizens while in no way preventing criminal use of handguns. It is also argued that making it difficult for guns to be bought and registered for the American public threatens the personal safety of American families everywhere.
Controlling the sale and distribution of firearms is necessary because of the homicide rate involving guns. In 1988, there were 9,000 handgun-related murders in America. Metropolitan centers and some suburban communities of America are setting new records for homicides by handguns. Larger metropolitan centers have ten times the murder rate of all Western Europe. For example, in Washington, D.C.
There were an estimated 400 homicides involving guns. Additionally, gun control is seen as necessary due to the violence perpetrated by criminals using guns. Gun control is intertwined with a series of social issues, such as crime and drugs. Guns have become closely linked to drugs and murder in the public mind. Drug dealing and high-tech weaponry have escalated the warfare between long-established, loosely-knit gangs in cities.
Predominantly, guns of crime are used by gang members. Many police officers are killed every year due to drug and gang-related incidents involving guns. For example, in 1988 on February 26, rookie New York City police officer Edward Byre was sitting alone in his police car guarding the house of a drug trial witness in South Jamaica, Queens, where he was shot four times in the head and killed. In conclusion, there are valid reasons for why certain people feel that gun control is unfair.
People against gun control feel that it is a violation of the Constitution to control the sale, distribution, and registration of guns and gun owners. However, it is necessary to have certain limits on the way firearms are handled in this country due to the high homicide rate involving guns and the violence created by criminals using guns. If gun control legislation were to pass, there would be a significant decline in gun-related crimes and fatalities.