April 25, 2012
Recently, there have been many debates going on in the news that are focusing on firearms, and firearm control. These debates have led to many American citizens questioning the laws revolving around gun control, and the amendment to the constitution allowing the right to bear arms. Since many people are unsure of how exactly laws pertaining to firearms work, it is crucially important that gun control is discussed. This paper will focus on gun control, the history of gun control, reasons for firearm prohibition, and so on. Gun control is a touchy topic that many people in the United States are uncertain about.
Typically, firearms can be sorted into three categories. The first of these categories is handguns. The hand gun is the most commonly owned gun in the United States and most people are referring to hand guns when the are talking about “guns”. The next category is rifles. The third and final category is shotguns. Rifles and shotguns are usually considered “long guns”. Currently, 45% of households have a firearm of some sort. Of these 70-80 million people, 45 million people own a handgun. 67% of the people who own a firearm claim to own it for protection use. 66% of the owners claim to own it for target shooting, and 41% use their gun for hunting. There is a large group of people who are not allowed to own a firearm. These people include anyone who has been convicted of a crime, a fugitive, someone who misuses a controlled substance, anyone who has been ruled “mentally defective”, anyone who has been admitted to a mental institution, illegal aliens, dishonorably discharged members of the military, anyone who has renounced their US citizenship, anyone who has been convicted of a misdemeanor in domestic violence, and people subject to certain restraining orders. There are therefore, many reasons to stop many Americans from owing a gun. Though it is not federal law for background checks to be distributed when a person purchases a firearm, the seller is subject to punishment if they had even the slightest hunch that the person they sold the firearm to fell into one of the categories that are aforementioned (Agresti and Smith, 2010).
Firearm control and gun rights have been an issue since the Second Amendment was ratified in 1791. This amendment stated, “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”. Then, in 1837, the state of Georgia tried to pass a law that banned handguns. This law was quickly ruled unconstitutional and discarded. Later on that century, in 1865, several southern states adopted “black codes” which forbid all black persons from possessing firearms. These laws were adopted because of a reaction to emancipation. In 1871, the NRA, the National Rifle Association was formed. It had goals of improving American’s marksmanship in preparation for any type of war (Longley, 1999).
Then, in the 1900’s, more and more regulations began to come out. In 1927, congress passed a law that banned the mailing of concealable weapons. At this time, people could buy guns from catalogs, magazines, and pretty much anywhere they looked. This law slowed the distribution down quite a bit. A few years later, in 1934, the National Firearms Act of 1934 started regulating fully automatic firearms such as sub-machine guns. Four years later, in 1938, the Federal Firearms Act of 1938 placed the very first limitations on selling ordinary firearms. It created a law that made people who wished to sell firearms obtain licenses to do so. This cost them an annual fee of $1. They were also required to create records of every person they sold a gun to (Longley, 1999).
In 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. This created uproar with gun control since Kennedy was assassinated by gun fire, as well as the man who was believed to have killed him. It is no wonder that in 1968 the Gun Control Act of 1968...
Cited: Agresti, J. D., & Smith, R. K. (2010, September 13). Gun control. Retrieved from http://www.justfacts.com/guncontrol.asp
Cramer, C. E. (1993). The racist roots of gun control. Retrieved from http://www.firearmsandliberty.com/cramer.racism.html
Head, T. (2012). District of columbia v. heller (2008). Retrieved from http://civilliberty.about.com/od/guncontrol/tp/District-of-Columbia-v-Heller.htm
Longley, R. (1999, September 22). Gun control timeline. Retrieved from http://usgovinfo.about.com/library/weekly/aa092699.htm
Pew Research Center. (2010, March 23). Gun control splits america. Retrieved from http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1535/poll-state-local-governments-laws-banning sale-possession-handguns
The future of gun control. (2009). Retrieved from http://www.gun-control-facts.com/of Gun-Control.php
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