Gun Control in the United States

Introduction

The United States citizens are troubled by the ever-rising setback of violence (Pederson et al. 273-281). The American streets have turned out to be battlefields where even the aged are pounded for their credit card checks, frightened women are cruelly assaulted and raped, adolescent goons engage in shootouts in an attempt of finding a place of selling illegal substances, and guiltless children are caught each day in the tussle of drive-by gunfire.1 In this regard, the destructions that the criminals are carrying within the communities cannot be underestimated and strict actions have to be undertaken to eradicate the existing horrors. Nevertheless, the endeavors by a number of misguided people in the elimination of the legal possession of guns do not deal with the actual challenge at hand, and only disarm the blameless, peaceable residents who are greatly in need of a type of self-protection.

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Possession of Guns Enhances Security Concerns

To comprehend successfully the rationale behind firearm control endeavors, one has to dig into the history of the United States, and the influence of the ownership of guns. The 2nd review to the Constitution of America makes the possession of guns lawful.2 Studies affirm that there were good explanations behind the existence of the freedom of gun ownership, justifications that exist even today. Guns were in the past employed in hunting missions and rarely for protection. Nonetheless, the time that the colonial masters developed the feeling that the trouble of British subjugation was unbearable for them, they sought for guns and ventured in the battleground (Pederson et al. 273-279).

Attributable to rising in opposition to the British soldiers, the rebels were left in warfare with some of the mightiest military strength across the globe. The eighteenth century saw the acme of the British supremacy before the tough crew of the resistors of colonialism realized the strength of the Minuteman, the name given to an ordinary resident of the US who possesses a gun. A Minuteman is given such a name attributable to the ability to take up his gun in readiness for defense even after a short notice (for example, in just one minute).3 Minutemen played a key role in acquiring the American Revolution (Pederson et al. 278). Even the early leaders of the United States comprehended that when people possess guns, they become active in eradicating oppression. In this regard, the leaders ensured that ownership of guns became a right that was constitutionally endorsed.

In the course of the years, most of the rationales behind the possession of guns have changed.4 As the United States developed into a powerful country, it expanded towards the west, surveyed the wilderness, and built other urban centers on the borderline. Characteristically, the new urban centers were distant from the hubs of civilization, and the only regulation that governed them was dispersed by townsfolk via the use of firearms (Squires 67). Though there was rampant crime, it could be countered the moment townsfolk embarked on battles against criminals. Finally, the organized townsfolk created a strong police force, which was necessitated by the growth of the urban centers. Although very few individuals were in possession of their guns while on the streets under normal circumstances, the fact is that people had them ready for use when circumstances demanded.

Gun control makes innocent people inferior to criminals (Cavalcanti 13). It is following the Civil Warfare that the initial supporters of gun control strongly voiced their concerns. Such advocates were leaders from the south who were worried of the affirmation of the newly discovered political rights by the freed black slaves.5 On this note, the leaders sought to make sure that oppressing the freed slaves could be done with no trouble. The repression of the free blacks was achieved through making it unlawful in almost every region for them to possess guns. After succeeding in their endeavors, the leaders developed the notions that the black people would now be subject to their dominance, and that they did not have a way of fighting back. Similarly, the individuals who were greatly engaged in the denial of basic rights for the blacks could move about with their guns, which made it impractical for the blacks to oppose their efforts. Since armed individuals stand a better chance when compared to unarmed ones, the people that had the guns found their oppressive strategies working successfully. Nonetheless, this only progressed for a short time prior to the civil rights campaigners of the 1960s succeeding in the restoration of the constitutional rights that the blacks in the United States had been offered in the 1860s.

In the contemporary times, gun control campaigners are a somewhat dissimilar breed as they assert that gun violence in the United States has reached a level where something has to be done to end the ownership of firearms. The campaigners are pushing for the disarming of criminals with the purpose of thwarting the random hostility that exists. Many concur with their sentiments (Blocher 813). Nevertheless, the activists are handling the issue of gun control in an improper manner. While asserting that they desire the illegalization of gun possession by the criminals, they are simultaneously calling for the enactment of laws that prevent the ownership of firearms by the law-abiding residents. In this regard, the endeavors of gun control do not focus on the actual setback of crime.

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The simple description of a felon is a person who fails to follow the law while a law-abiding resident is an individual who adheres to the set regulations (Blocher 813). Hence, if laws hampering the possession of guns are enforced, which group of individuals is unfairly treated? The straightforward response is that gun control regulations result in unjust treatment of the law-abiding residents. Attributable to their very character, criminals are not affected by gun control laws since with or without such regulations they will keep on carrying their guns to facilitate their ill motives. Moreover, criminals will have their efforts of carrying out criminal activities eased by the fact that they will be sure that their targets are not armed as they are. This leads to a setting akin to the one where the freed slaves were unfairly disarmed. Law-abiding citizens are turning out to be victims where regulations make it impracticable for them to retaliate. Being unarmed makes the innocent people easily taken advantage of by criminals.6

Demerits of Gun Control

An appealing current progress has been the reaction against the gun control campaigners. In most states, encompassing Texas, residents have affirmed that they yearn for the protection of the right to own guns for purposes of self-protection.7 From around 1980, some states have been issuing masked firearm licenses to law-abiding residents where they have been holding the weapons to safeguard themselves against widespread felony. The outcome is that the prevalence of aggressive crime in such states has in reality decreased when judged against the countrywide average (Blocher 813). Sometimes back, the state of Florida had been in the forefront in the US with respect to the authorization of citizens to own guns, and the residents gladly received the alteration. Although gun control supporters attempted to assert that there would be atrocities all over if citizens were authorized to possess firearms, the situation has been different. Gun control advocates had warned that the state of Florida would develop into an unsafe place with gunshots on the streets. However, the current situation makes it evident that the gun control supporters were mistaken.

More than 250,000 concealed licenses of gun ownership have been given until now in the United States and just 35 of them have been canceled because of inappropriate use of the guns (Rosenthal 10). This outcome is simple to comprehend as it makes it apparent that permitting citizens to possess guns is of tremendous benefit. The law-abiding citizens should be encouraged to follow the procedure of acquiring concealed licenses with the aim of making it easy for them to carry guns lawfully. It has been established that the citizens who follow the legal progression hardly break the law since most of them do not even have the intentions of committing crimes or using the guns improperly. After all, the individuals who have the intentions of breaking the law will at all times carry firearms (whether legally or illegally) for accomplishing their criminal motives. With or without gun control, criminals will at all times find the means of obtaining guns.8

Though using, carrying, possessing, selling, and transporting most forms of narcotics has been illegalized in the United States, it is still simple for a person to buy any kind of the illegal drugs from vendors on the streets. Similarly, guns would be equally simple for the black-market traders to sell to their clients (Rosenthal 10). Even in regions where ownership of guns by citizens is outlawed, most criminals possess different types of guns, which evidently demonstrate their disrespect for the existing regulations that make the carrying of the firearms unlawful. The moment that such criminals are caught by the law enforcement agents, the courts often release the lesser firearm wrong doers and prosecute the serious offenses that are carried out with the guns.

Gun control supporters have affirmed their arguments by demonizing the firearms themselves instead of dealing with the criminals who carry out violent crimes with the use of guns, which acts as a major fallacy in the line of reasoning. Gun control advocates craftily try to assert that the ownership of a gun makes the average citizens ferocious crooks,9 a theory that crumbles under close examination (Rosenthal 10). If lawful ownership of a gun results in this form of approach, what is the reason behind criminal activities being high in regions such as New York City where there are stringent gun control regulations? On the same note, what is the reason behind the level of crime decreasing in places such as Florida that have chosen to support private possession of guns? In simple terms, legal possession of a firearm acts as a way of discouraging crime.

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Some recent endeavors of the gun control arguments have sought to assert that a number of firearms are naturally evil by allotting emotional phrases, for instance, ‘attack weapons’ or ‘slayer bullets’ to a wide scope of guns with the aim of making people convinced that such ammunitions have a malevolent nature. Many of the individuals who are not familiar with guns do not completely comprehend the significance of such expressions and only accept the use of the phrases devoid of any question. What many do not know is that such terms could be taken to denote semi-automatic weapons or bullets that may go through some forms of bulletproof vests. It occurs as a shock to many individuals that most of the simple hunting guns can accomplish both tasks. Is it true to state that the legal possession of guns results in people turning out to be mass killers? The answer is no, and the government or lawmakers should not fall into the snare of shifting the blame of criminals and their ill-motives to law-abiding citizens (Rosenthal 10).

It is apparent that the issue of making it unlawful for citizens to possess guns is of little or no significance when it comes to preventing criminals from acquiring guns and committing crime.10 On the contrary, gun control laws only limit the individuals who abide by the law, the ones who would just employ guns in a proper way. When citizens are given the right to possess guns, it is evident that criminals find it difficult to commit crime because of the dread that they might turn out to be the victims instead (Lott 58). Though the government and lawmakers have the responsibility of decreasing the rate of crime in the United States, there is a need to assess keenly the presented solutions to ensure that the developed strategies are successful. It is clear that gun control regulations are not reasonable or efficient in decreasing crime. In this regard, efforts ought to be geared toward managing criminal activities rather than outlawing the possession of guns.

Citizens Should Own Guns

Every law-abiding and responsible adult in the United States should be allowed to own a gun as a means of safeguarding themselves against criminals (Faria 16). The possession of a gun in the US has turned out to be the most controversial basic right and a political and social subject of debate. There are approximately three hundred million guns under the possessions of United States citizens, which translate to every American resident having a gun. The fact is that almost 35% of the United States population owns a minimum of one firearm. A lot is said concerning the endorsement of gun control particularly when incidences of mass shooting occur. Nonetheless, the contentious aspect of the issue signifies that enacting gun control laws leads to ignorance of the essential question of the reason behind people legally owning guns after all. The responses to such queries are not as noticeable as one may suppose. Most of the opponents of gun control affirm that possessing a gun makes citizens feel secure. The major reasons being cited behind the ownership of firearms is protection and not hunting or any other use of guns.11

Do the criminals who are seeking to hurt innocent people with their firearms do so in police stations, gun shops, or tightly guarded places? They do not go to such places, which is attributable to the fact that they are aware that people with guns (particularly police officers or other security agents) will bar them from hurting any person. However, since it is not possible to give guns to every individual, it is beneficial to train people to use guns in a safe manner. Because guns are tools just like a hammer or any other, they can cause injuries or harm if utilized in an inappropriate way. Likewise, a hammer ought to be employed for purposes such as driving nails in or out and if used wrongly may hurt the user or other people around. Devoid of suitable training and application, the gun owners may hurt themselves or the people around them. Therefore, owning a gun is not the problem but the people possessing the firearms and using them wrongly (Halbrook 45).

Most of the law-abiding citizens buy guns for protection or self-defense, and this makes sense (Halbrook 45). In the right conditions, a firearm offers the most successful line of security against felons and other interlopers. Since most violent felons have guns, instead of suffering harm, people should be allowed to own and carry guns, particularly when walking around at night or being in a hazardous region. Studies affirm that the victims of criminal activities who carry a firearm have a low likelihood of being attacked or suffering harm when judged against the ones who resort to other means of protection.12 Since the second Amendment to the US constitution guarantees citizens’ right to possess and carry weapons for the purpose of protection, the majority of grownups who lawfully carry firearms are law-abiding as long as they handle their guns correctly.

Gun control laws make innocent citizens vulnerable since they deny them at least a fighting back opportunity in case an armed thief or other forms of invaders manage to gain entry into their homes or workplaces. Just like any other innocent citizen, criminals do not like being at a gunpoint. This is why over 70% of criminals cannot try breaking into a house where they believe that the owner possesses a gun and may be around. To sum it up, the terror of being shot is sufficient to deter criminals from targeting a certain person, home, or business (Faria 16).

Conclusion

The undertakings by a number of ill-advised people in the eradication of the legal possession of firearms do not sort out the actual challenge at hand, and only disarm the guiltless, peace-loving residents who are greatly in need of protection. Gun control laws make blameless people inferior to felons. Given that armed individuals stand a superior chance when compared to defenseless ones, the people that have guns find their strategies working fruitfully. While asserting the outlawing of firearm ownership by criminals, the supporters of gun control laws simultaneously call for the enactment of laws that thwart the rights of the law-abiding residents. In this regard, the efforts of gun control laws do not center on the actual impediment of crime. This is because criminals will have their efforts of carrying out criminal activities eased by the implementation of such laws as they will be confident that their targets are not as armed as they are.13 The dread of being shot is sufficient to discourage criminals from targeting a given individual, home, or business.

References

Blocher, Joseph. “Gun rights talk.” Boston University Law Review 94.1 (2014): 813. Print.

Cavalcanti, Roxana. “Edge of a barrel: Gun violence and the politics of gun control in Brazil.” British Society of Criminology Newsletter 72.1 (2013): 11-14. Print.

Faria, Miguel. “Shooting rampages, mental health, and the sensationalization of violence.” Surgical Neurology International 4.1 (2013): 16. Print.

Halbrook, Stephen P. That every man be armed: The evolution of a constitutional right. Albuquerque: The University of New Mexico Press, 2013. Print.

Lott, John. More guns, less crime: Understanding crime and gun control laws. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013. Print.

Pederson, JoEllen, Thomas Hall, Bradley Foster, and Jessie Coates. “Gun ownership and attitudes toward gun control in older adults: Re-examining self-interest theory.” American Journal of Social Science Research 1.5 (2015): 273-281. Print.

Rosenthal, Lawrence. “The limits of second amendment originalism and the constitutional case for gun control.” Washington University Law Review 92.1187 (2015): 05-15. Print.

Squires, Peter. Gun culture or gun control? Firearms and violence: Safety and society. London: Routledge, 2012. Print.

Footnotes

  1. On the reasons that demand legalization of gun ownership, see Pederson et al. 273-274.
  2. A wide pool of studies offers a comprehensive approach toward gun control. See Pederson et al. 279-281, Cavalcanti 13.
  3. See Pederson et al., especially page 277, for a comprehensive explanation on how Minutemen were trained.
  4. To understanding the history of United States and the issue of gun control, see Squires 67.
  5. See Cavalcanti 13 on for concerns of the freed slaves that underscored the subject of gun control.
  6. See Blocher 813 for an intensive analysis of why citizens should be allowed to own guns.
  7. For explanation of the reasons behind different states permitting citizens to own guns, see Rosenthal 10.
  8. See Rosenthal, particularly page 10, for explanation on why researchers have failed to tackle this point.
  9. Some studies have argued that such an exploration would be futile. See Rosenthal 10, Faria 16.
  10. See Rosenthal 10 for an in-depth review of why gun control laws do not solve the problem of crime
  11. On the need to educate people on the best means of using guns instead of just allowing them to own and carry firearms, see Faria 16.
  12. To understand why having a gun acts as the best way of withstanding armed criminals, see Halbrook 45.
  13. On the issue of guns and protection, see Faria 16.
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