Gun Control: OverviewThe issue of gun control has been debated for a long time, probably eversince they were invented. The gun is a small, rather easy to obtain, weapon thatis lethal if used in the right (or wrong) way. This makes the gun an extremelydangerous factor in our lives.
If used improperly, a gun could be lethal to notonly the target, but the user as well. The availability of guns has sky rocketedin the past decade or so, and the immense population of guns in our society makeit a dangerous place to live. Gun violence claims approximately 38,000 lives inthe U. S.
each year, including 5,000 children and teenagers. (1) In the past fewyears, many steps have been taken to help reduce the risk of fatal accidents orintentions. One of these steps was the ban of assault weapons. Two years ago, congress passed a landmark bill, banning the sale,manufacture and, importation of semi-automatic assault weapons and largecapacity ammunition clips.
Due to this ban, the number of crimes traced toassault weapons has decreased almost 20% from 1994. (2) This ban was repealed bythe House of Representatives. On march 22, 1996 another big legislation in thefight against guns was the Brady bill, which demands a 5 day waiting period forall handgun purchases. These legislation’s are some what effective and indifferent ways. The only real way to eliminate most gun violence is to eliminatethe availability of guns. Surely making guns illegal would do this but thisraises a very important issue.
If you outlaw guns, only the outlaws will have guns. Simply put, nomatter how many bans you put out, there will always be the black market tosupport the criminals in the U. S. Needless to say the law abiding citizens ofour country would be defenseless. The NRA has made sure that this will neverhappen.
What the United States needs is some one to pass a bill that willprotect all our citizens. Some men and women in Washington think they are thatsome one. Some think that there should be more availability of guns. Let’s seewhat they both think. Two years ago, as I mentioned, Congress passed a ban on the sale,manufacture, and importation of all semi-automatic assault weapons. Soon afterthe 104th Congress resumed power, The House of Representatives repealed the banas a pay back to the National Rifle Association (NRA) who had funded thousandsof dollars to Congressional candidates through their Political Action Committee(PAC).
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the NRA has spent over$3 million in 1993 and 1994 alone on campaign commercials. The NRA is one of themajor organizations and the biggest in the fight for pro-gun ownership. According to polls, 65% of Americans say they would be more likely to vote for aCongressman who would not vote to repeal this. 18% said they would vote for someone who would repeal this ban and 15% said it would not effect their vote. It isimportant for Americans to know how their Congressmen stand on the issue.
(3)In 1981, the current president Ronald Reagan and his assistant, JamesBrady, were both shot in an assignation attempt on Reagan. Brady was paralyzedand has been ever since. The man who shot them had bought his gun no longer thana day or two before the shooting. On March of 94′ a bill, quite appropriately named The Brady Bill waspassed demanding a mandatory waiting period on all hand gun purchases. Theperiod is used to do background checks on the customer. Each state has the rightto regulate restrictions as to what on this background check would prevent acustomer from purchasing a gun.
In Massachusetts, the restrictions are asfollows:The person must be over the age of 18. The person must be a United States CitizenThe person must never have been convicted of felonyThe person must never have been convicted of a drug charge, even amisdemeanor. The person must not have any reported mental illnesses. In other states these laws are different but, they are very similar.
This bill was signed by President Bill Clinton. Although this is a federal billa problem arises with states not willing to accept this bill for some reason areusing the 10th amendment to ignore the Brady Bill. The 10th amendment gives thepowers, not given or prohibited by the constitution, to the states. It is a slimchance, if any, but some lawyers in these states are fighting the Brady Bill.
Another restriction on the purchase and owner ship of guns is amandatory permit or License to carry firearms. These permits are issued by acitizens local police department and must be presented when buying a firearm. These must also be shown when a police officer request a gun owner to displayhis/her license. If you do not have a permit and carry a gun it is a mandatorysentence of one year.
Politicians feel this bill will help prevent people from getting madwith some one and going out, buying a gun and killing them the next day. Thisalso reduces the convicted criminals sources to the black market. Recently,there was a suggestion for a increase of 100,000 police officers. This is stillbeing decided but it certainly couldn’t hurt.
What does the future hold for guncontrol? It all depends on who we vote for. President Clinton during the past four years signed two major bills forgun control. The Brady Bill which I discussed earlier and the ban on semi-automatic weapons. Both actions were criticized by the NRA and other pro-gunownership organizations. In fact the NRA’s lobbying efforts are the reason ittook thirteen year to pass the Brady Bill and the why the ban on semi-automaticweapons was repealed. The NRA say’s “Bill Clinton has had the most anti-Secondamendment Administration in our history, and he’s proud of it.
“(4) They believethat if Clinton achieves his goal for another four years in the house, he willeventually license, tax, and ban the second amendment out of existence. President Clinton’s administration believes that he will bring many pro-gun control supporters to the 105th congress. The NRA takes a direct approach tothe second amendment. The Right to Bear Arms, period.
Clinton, an the other hand,takes a different approach, that of a more complicated nature. He has passeddifferent bills with different regulations on buying a gun and has said to, bythe NRA, the have created gray areas of the law. But if the NRA were president,then this country would bleed to death. We simply can not let anyone andeveryone have the power to kill another human being by twitching their indexfinger. On the other hand, the absolute ban of guns would not successfullydisarm the criminals while it would disarm the civilians of the country.
The NRA has sent many complaints to the Clinton administration about thedestruction of guns. Clinton’s gun buy back program destroyed countless firearmsincluding collectors items and valuable guns that had never been fired. Theycomplain that historians, collectors and, target shooters are not happy. Theyclaim the reckless destruction of historical artifacts is inexcusable.
Howeverit is said that the rate of gun violence has gone down since the passage of theBrady Bill and the gun buy back program. This program however was very costlybut, not as costly as 38,000 American lives each year. Maybe a different approach to the gun control question is that of Canada. Canada’s crime rate and gun violence are impressively lower than the U. S.
Letstake a look at how they do things. Aside from just guns, bow and arrows,crossbows, and just about any harmful projectile is subject to licensing inCanada. Any . 25, . 32 caliber pistol, or guns with barrels shorter than 4.
14″ arecompletely banned. Everyone must buy there own gun, meaning not to give them asgifts or anything. Bill Clinton praises Canada’s system of gun control highly. All guns there must be registered by make, model, and, serial number.
A new lawin Canada will soon ban 58% of there guns, even non-firing replica’s of theseparticular weapons. (I don’t think this is necessary). This maybe extreme butregistering your gun is not difficult to do. I think if Clinton is reelected,some or even lots of these laws will be implemented in this country. Not as much can be said about Bob Dole’s views because he has not beenas much of a spot light however, he has done allot for gun control as a U.
S. Senator. On November 23, 1993, the Brady bill was considered dead for a year. Itwas killed by bipartisan filibuster.
On Nov. 24, Bob Dole agreed to stop thefilibusters and pass the Brady Bill. However, he opposes a seven day waitingperiod for gun purchases. Bob Dole’s big claim to fame on the gun control issueis that when only three senators were on the floor, and all others were home forThanksgiving, only he could have rejected the vote and the future of the BradyBill conceivably laid in his hands. He allowed the bill to pass. Bob Dolequote’s on his actions:”I know the Gun Owners of America, another group, have a little different view.
They are blaming me for the Brady Bill that passed because I sat there with themajority leader and everybody else had gone home, and we made an agreement. Welet the bill pass. I was picketed, and they called me a traitor and everythingelse. .
. because that happened. “(5)On November 19, 1993 Bob Dole voted for the crime bill. This billcontained the Feinstein gun ban, proposed by a California Senator, on more than180 firearms. Two weeks earlier Dole broke an agreement a prevented a filibusteron the Feinstein amendment from ever happening. Dole urged Clinton while onnational TV to support this senate crime bill.
On February 94′ Bob Doleintroduced the S 1815 a bill that made the government pay people for turning inguns. Another of Bob Doles ideas is mandatory sentencing for criminals who usefirearms in committing crimes. A study conducted by two Ohio coroners and two professors from CaseWestern reserve University conducted a study proving the ineffectiveness of agun for protection. Their result was surprising. It is seventy percent morelikely for a gun in the home to kill some one you know than an intruder. Theycan out to the fact the for every one intruder killed by a gun, four familymembers are killed.
To put it simply, if you come for a large five person familyand you shot a burglar coming into your house, statistically, you have killedyour entire family. Another study has proven that seventy percent of murders inthe U. S. were committed by family members or acquaintances. People allegedly getso angered they use the protection gun to shot a family member.
This contributesto the percent of family members killed. Would people think twice before killingor committing if they had to use a knife or a bat? Some people think so. I agree. Researchers have proven also that area’s of the country that have high guncontrol, have lower crime rates.
If no one has a gun, you need not protectyourself with one, true? Toledo used to be the highest gun populated gun city inAmerica, they passed a gun control law and successfully dropped the crime rate22%. (6)Countries with gun control as liberal as the United States’ are hard tocome by. This may contribute to the nearly 85 times more gun deaths per yearthan England, who have a strict gun law. Japan has the lowest murder rate of all. Standing at a low, . 02 percent per 100,000 people Japan is a country to learnfrom.
In 1972, Japan suffered a astoundingly low 28 gun deaths. The U. S. on theother hand incurred 10,017 deaths. Japan has completely outlawed the possessionof hand guns for civilians. This may not be as bad of an idea as I though.
Although Japan holds the idolized lowest rate, they are closer to the rate ofother countries than the U. S. They, in fact, are not at the extreme end of thespectrum the U. S. is.
England, France, and the Netherlands are all examples ofmajor countries with low murder rates. They all have one this in common, theyrequire citizens to register all guns. Point being, if you won’t protection,protect yourself by keeping guns out of the house. (7)My practical thoughts on gun control in the U. S. are this, one can notfollow the Second amendment literally and give the country complete freedom tobear arms or, completely take away a citizens right to protection.
Because notall citizens are fit to own a gun and, not all guns are fit to be owned bycommon citizens. My thoughts one the matter lie in the middle, most near theideas of the Canadian system of gun control. I think that a mandatory waiting period for the purchase of a gun is anextremely good idea in that it will not allow minors, criminals, drug users, ormentally ill people to buy guns. A permit is good idea so that police may checkto see if a gun owner is legally certified.
Since protection and hobby are themain (and should be the only) reason for a civilian to buy a gun, guns that aremade for killing, for example all assault weapons, should be banned. There issimply no need for them. This would put only protective guns into the hands oflaw abiding citizens. Now what about criminals. They get guns by making them, buying importsor let’s not forget stealing them.
First off, In my opinion it should be illegalto import guns or gun related material to anyone accept the U. S. government. Theblack market would surly suffer.
For those who make guns, there should be arestricted supply of materials to make guns. This supply should be governmentregulated. All firearms should be registered by make, model, and serial number,and police should be able to run checks on this mass catalog of guns and owners. While I am on the topic of police, the number of police should be increased tohelp increase the number of confiscated guns. Not much in my opinion can be doabout stolen guns. If a criminal takes a gun from a citizen who should have agun, there is no way any bill or law can stop him.
Since it is obviously alreadyillegal. The only way to stop that is more police. Simply put, an intense amount of regulation should be put on guns. It’slike having a fire.
If you keep it in your fire place, know exactly were it is,and control it, it will heat your house and cause no danger. If you randomlyspread fire everywhere forgetting where you placed it, lighting it where itdoesn’t belong, you then have a problem and you may get hurt. Well, the fire isspreading fast and people are burning everywhere. The government has no ideawhere the guns in this country are or where the next piece ,of what once was ourhome, will burst into flames. If we don’t act quick, this country will burn tothe ground.
We need a giant fire extinguisher and a responsible person operatingit. We have to put the fire back in it’s place. My person al views on gun control are a bit different. Ideally I wouldbecome the Japanese as far as gun control and outlaw guns for private citizens.
I think that if your want protection, get a security alarm. 1 out of every 4burglaries occur when the home owner is not even home, and in no danger. Atoddler looking around in her daddy’s bedroom however should not have to be. Ifyou want a gun for leisure or hunting that is a different situation but take myword for it, getting a gun for “protection” is a false sense of security.;