Gun Control

Gun control is a very controversial, complicated, and delicate subject, because it affects a large amount of people in our society, and is full of moral and legal arguments which all must be heard. There are two really strong positions on gun control, pro and con. But views on gun control aren’t that simple, there are many views that branch off of pro or con gun control. There isn’t really one source of controversy, but a large group of them. For example, what about hunters and sport/game shooters, should there right be taken away because of the actions of others, when they have not hurt anyone. This is one example of a delicate issue that you must take into consideration when discussing gun control. Public opinion on gun control varies.

Some people feel that all gun should be outlawed, some feel that guns aren’t that problem, some people feel that certain people shouldn’t have guns, some people feel that people shouldn’t have certain guns, and some people feel differently. Some people feel that guns are the cause of many crimes in the United States, and maybe they are right. Many others feel that guns aren’t the problem people are. The National Rifle Association (NRA) feels that ?§guns don’t kill people, people kill people??; this is also the slogan for the NRA. The following are statistics that show the magnitude of the issue.

44 million people own guns, 35% of households own 192 million guns, of which 65 million are handguns.

242 million firearms were for sale, or possessed in the United States. This includes 72 million handguns, 76 million rifles, and 64 million other types of firearms.

8,259 were committed by guns, in which 6,498 were committed with a handgun, 387 committed with a rifle, 503 committed with a shotgun, 90 committed with other types of guns, and 781 committed with an unspecified gun.

Note that 355 kids from the age of 13-16 were killed by guns, and 4,264 from the age of 17-29.

To completely understand the issue, you must look at its history. The official text from the second amendment of the constitution states that ?§a well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed??. The right to bear arms was officially recognized in England before the Invasion of 1066. They were required to keep weapons. But this was limited, since the 14th century there have been laws to control the use and ownership of weapons. Guns could not be carried in the public, and in the following centuries only the extremely rich and powerful could keep their weapons with them at all times. By the year 1671, it was required that to own 50 times the amount of land required to vote and to have a gun. After all theses restrictions only a very small fraction owned firearms, something in the area of 1%. Some Kings preferred a standing army to a militia, as a militia was a locally operated thing. Under King Charles II, gunsmiths had to keep sales records, and had to carry firearm licenses. After the death of King Charles II, his brother, James II, a catholic, used the arms restrictions as a tool of persecution against the Protestants, which he disliked greatly. After the revolution of 1688, Parliament made a right for Protestants to bear arms, and include it in the English bill of right, which William and Mary of Orange had to sign before taking power. This was only ?§as allowed by law?? and wasn’t absolute. Also the King could not have a standing army. To Americans at the same time, it was a useful thing as a first line of defense in the inevitable war with England. The ?§minutemen?? were citizens that could be called to war at a moment’s notice, and all of them kept their weapons at home. The 2nd Amendment is out dated some say, and maybe they are right. The whole argument lies in the text itself.

What does ?§a well regulated militia?? mean? This brings us to a very important issue within gun control, definitions and interpretation. Pro gun control actives claim that a well-regulated militia is outdated, because now there is the National Guard, a modern day militia with tanks, and helicopter and modern weapons. Con gun control actives think that by militia the text means a community militia. This is called collective right vs individual right. Many people say that the more people that own guns, the safer we are going to be against an invasion of foreign powers, or an extremely powerful United Nation. As some wing militias claim.

Is the 2nd amendment even absolute? Note that no right is absolute, even those of which that were supposedly granted by God. For example even trough the 1st amendment grantees freedom of speech, the right is limited. For example I can’t publish in the Washington Post that George W. Bush is a severe LSD addict, because it is completely untrue. That would be called libel, which is a valid abridgment of my rights. A classic example of the immanent danger rule is: I can’t yell ?§fire?? in a crowded movie theater (unless there is in fact a fire), because the ensuing panic may cause injury. The same rule can be applied to guns. If my right to bear arms interferes with public safety, this can be abridged, in order to protect the public. Courts have agreed with this on previous occasions.

In the Miller v United Sates (1939) limited the rights to bear a certain type of firearm on the basis of public safety. The court upheld a Nation Firearms act of 1934 which required registration of sawed off shotguns, didn’t violate the 2nd amendment. The court ruled that the purpose of the amendment was to keep militia systems effective, and a sawed off shotgun had nothing to do with keeping militia systems effective. Pro gun control actives argue that Miller clearly connected the right to bear arms to the militia, eliminating a right to keep guns for fun or self-defense. Con gun control actives said that Miller’s case was only about that particular type of firearm.

In the earlier Presser v United States case, the supreme court ruled that the 2nd amendment applied only to acts of National Government. Unlike other things in the bill of rights, the 2nd amendment has not been applied to the states. In the Presser case, the Supreme court upheld a state law of Illinois that prohibited ?§drills and parades?? with weapons with anyone but the regular organized volunteer militia.

In the Printz v United States case of 1997, the supreme court ruled that the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention act was unconstitutional, but not on 2nd amendment grounds. The Brady bill, is a law named after a secretary of Reagan who was paralyzed by a bullet in an assassination attempt. The court ruled that congress could not require state officials to carry out federal programs, because that defeats the purpose of federalism.

In the 1982 Morton Grove v Quilici case, the Supreme Court decided to allow the town of Morton Grove continue to ban handguns outright, as can be done on a local and state level. Morton Grove was the first town to do this. The town require everyone with a gun to hand it over, except for police, military, security guards, people like that. Guns for sporting purposes were stored at the sporting facility. Morton Grove’s law was upheld, because the 2nd amendment only applied on a national level.

What of the good uses (or not so good uses) of the 2nd amendment? There was belief that it was the constitutions way of over throwing a dictatorship, if it ever came up. They’re a couple of reasons this isn’t a very good argument. First and most important, the constitution was a document made to start a government that could be changed by the people through peaceful means and it has done that for 200+ years. Other peaceful ways exist to change, or even overthrow, the government. One counter argument is sometimes heard here is that if the government take guns away from the people, that people is defenseless against a dictatorial takeover, and cannot retaliate. This is always possible, but the chances according to some, that someone will take over without getting the support of millions of people in the United States. As well, there is the old saying only people with arms can avoid being slaves, but this saying is also a bit out dated.

Guns have taken a huge role in America. There are many reasons people keep guns. The most common is self-defense. This is the most popular excuse for buying guns, but studies have shown that a gun kept in the home is 43 times more likely to kill a member of the household or a friend, than an intruder. In 1997 only 2 people were killed breaking and entering into someone’s home. Also people buy guns because they claim women are weaker and can’t defend her self from an assailant with other means, but studies show that people that pull guns on assailants are usually kill with his or her firearm.

What about hunters and game shooters, they do nothing to deserve to have their sport taken away from them, they harm no one. Many people say that the fact of the matter is that hunting and game shooting has nothing to do with ?§a well regulated militia??, so they should be sports anyway.

The big question is what should be done with guns? There are already several laws that restrict the type and caliber of weapons and the ammunition. There is the Brady Bill that requires a background check of the purchaser of the firearm, to determine if he or she qualifies for the purchase of the firearm, there’s also a waiting period. Some states checking systems are instant (NICS) and some aren’t. There is also new technology and trigger locks. Many people proposed the following should be done:

„h A national system for the registering guns and ammo, instead of state systems. This would prevent people from going into other states and buying guns that are illegal in the states that they are from and bring them home. This would also make police investigation easier.

„h Stiffer sentences for gun crimes. The NRA supports this proposal

„h Greater gun education programs. Many studies have shown there is a connection between the lack of crime education and violent crimes. The is a school of thought that claims the purchaser should have to take mandatory safety and education courses. This might lessen the accidental gun death rate. The NRA supports this one as well.

„h Hand grip ID tagging. This is something that is just beginning to arises. The gun is designed to only fire when the owner of the gun pulls the trigger, for anyone else it will not fire. This would stop murders with a stolen gun, but it’s very expensive.

I feel that certain people shouldn’t have guns and that people shouldn’t have certain guns. I feel that ex-cons, kids, and mentally unstable should not have guns at all because I feel mentally they are ready to handle something that can take a life in seconds. I also feel that certain guns have know purpose but to destroy someone, like an assault rifle. I feel that game hunters should be allowed to hunt but they must keep in mind that is a privilege not a right to hunt with a gun.