Do We Need Tougher Gun Control Laws?
One of the most controversial issues in our society today is the topic of private gun ownership and gun control laws. This controversy has arisen mostly due to the different ways that the second constitutional amendment is interpreted. The amendment states that "a well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right to the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed" (Lott, 2000). On one side of the issue, there are those that believe that the amendment guarantees the right of individuals to possess and carry a wide variety of firearms. On the other side are those that contend that the amendment was only meant to guarantee to States the right to operate militias. One thing that both sides agree upon is that it is up to the Supreme Court to resolve this debate, as it is their responsibility to enforce the U.S. Constitution. Meanwhile, strict gun control laws have been created for the safety of the public. Gun control laws serve their purpose well, and through things such as criminal background checks, training, and permits, they promote responsible gun ownership. Tougher gun control laws are not necessary and would not lead to any intended benefits in society because they only attempt to solve problems that are not being created by the lack thereof.
First of all, the assumption that tougher gun control laws will lead to a decrease in crime is just not true. Most criminals that use guns violently are obtaining them illegally. Criminal gun users most commonly get their guns by buying them from friends and other non-registered sources or by theft. In this case, tougher gun control laws are irrelevant will make no difference at all. The only way that tougher gun regulations are likely to succeed in controlling gun violence is if it could effectively restrict these illegal methods of obtaining guns. The gun laws that are in place currently do exactly what they are designed to do. Gun owner license laws require that owners have a license in order to lawfully possess a gun, even in a home, and in order to acquire the gun in the first place. "This license is not issued until the applicant has passed through a check of official records to see if the person has a prior criminal conviction, and possibly to see if they have some other disqualifying traits, such as alcoholism or mental illness. Purchase permit laws require a person to get a permit before buying a gun, and applicants must first pass through a records check" (Gold, 2004). In addition to all the different types of record-keeping, restrictions, and regulations to own a gun, almost all states prohibit the possession of guns by "high-risk" groups of the population. These groups consist of mostly criminals, mentally ill people, drug addicts, alcoholics and minors. Lawful gun owners, the ones that follow all the gun control laws, as a group are not psychologically abnormal or more pro-violent than non-owners. "Most gun ownership is culturally patterned and linked with a rural hunting subculture. The culture is transmitted across generations, with recreation-related gun owners being socialized by their parents into gun ownership and use from childhood" (Lott, 2000). The strongest and most consistent predictors of lawful gun ownership are hunting, being male, and being older and higher income. As we can see, most lawful gun ownership in the general public is related to outdoor recreation like hunting, rather than crime. The laws currently in place are being followed by these responsible owners, not by criminals. Stricter laws will just make it harder for these law abiding citizens to follow the law to obtain their arms, and to the criminals it will make no difference since they already are not following the law. The only thing that will decrease the number of crimes committed is decreasing the number of criminals out there. As unrealistic as it may seem, even if all of the guns in the population were...
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