On March 24, 1998, firing from the woods overlooking their school, 13-year-old Andrew Golden and 11-year-old Mitchell Johnson shot and killed four middle school students and a teacher and injured ten other students in Jonesboro, Arkansas. The two boys had a semiautomatic M-1 carbine with a large ammunition magazine, two other rifles, seven handguns and more than 500 rounds of ammunition which they took from the home of one of the boy?s grandfather, who had a large arsenal of weapons left unsecured. Officers arrested the two boys as they ran through the wooded area near the school, and they were convicted on five counts of capital murder and ten counts of first-degree battery in September 1998.
I want to inform people what I have learned about gun control in America. Firearms and their consequences are so pervasive in our society that they seem to be standard fare. Each day newspapers in major cities report injuries and deaths from guns and show photographs of their bereaved families. Movie advertisements scream titles that promise plenty of bloodshed, illustrated by guns and though characters who flaunt them. A casual flip through several television channels often reveals a succession of handguns, automatic riffles, and murders. Facts are much more sobering and don?t reflect the justice we?ve grown accustomed to seeing on televisions and in movies. The fact is that 22,000 people die each year because of firearms. Annually 12,000 people commit suicide with handguns and another 1,000 die from unintentional fatal injuries. Every year, there are about 9,000 handgun homicides in this country. In addition, there are more than 200,000 injuries due to firearms annually (Anderson 26).
Handgun Control works to enact sensible gun control legislation in the United State but does not seek to ban guns. The Brady Bill, which was signed into law by President Clinton and took effect February 28, 1994, establishes a national five business day waiting period and requires local law enforcement to conduct background checks on handgun purchasers, but our nation’s primary gun law is the 1968 Gun Control Act: MAJOR PROVISIONS:
Established categories of prohibited firearms purchasers and possessors:
Convicted felons, fugitives from justice, illegal drug users or addicts, minors, anyone adjudicated mentally defective or having been committed to a mental institution, anyone dishonorably discharged from the military, illegal aliens, anyone having renounced U.S. citizenship.
Licenses and set standards for gun dealers:
Establishes licensing fee schedule for manufacturers, importers, and dealers in firearms; sets record-keeping standards; requires licenses to be obtained from the Secretary of the Treasury; requires serial numbers on all guns.
Prohibits the mail-order sales of all firearms and ammunition
Prohibits the interstate sale of firearms:
A handgun purchaser may only buy a gun in the state in which he/she resides;
Sets age guidelines for firearms purchased through dealers:
Handgun purchasers must be at least 21.
Long gun purchasers must be at least 18.
Prohibits the importation of non-sporting weapons:
Sets penalties for carrying & using firearms in crimes of violence or drug trafficking.
Prohibits importation of weapons covered in the National Firearms Act and extends NFA restrictions to machine gun frames and receivers and conversion kits (i.e., parts to make machine guns).
Prohibits importation of foreign-made military surplus firearms.
Prohibited the sale and manufacture of new fully automatic civilian machine guns:
Prohibited the sale of parts or “conversion kits” – used to make semiautomatic firearms fully automatic.
Classifies silencer parts and kits as weapons falling under the National Firearm Act.
Over the past several years, a series of important studies have provided evidence of the efficacy of gun control; the paper by Colin...