Evaluation Gun Control in the United States
English 101 Section B
Galen College of Nursing
Omar Rodriguez, MA
Gun Control in the United States
Gun control is not one issue, but many, some people think gun control is a gun issue, and to others it is an issue of rights. Gun control is an issue of safety, education, and politics. In each of these issues there are those who want more gun control and those who want less. Both sides of this issue have opinions from the moderate to the extreme, let’s face the facts, guns are not for everyone. Many individuals cannot handle a firearm safely, and many choose to use them inappropriately. Society has passed laws restricting ownership and the use of some firearms, and more is being considered. Most legislation restricts to some degree, the rights of individuals to use or sometimes even possess a firearm. In some cases these restrictions may be necessary, but some have gone too far. Society benefits from firearms in the hands of responsible, and law abiding people. Attempts to keep firearms away from these people do more harm than good. To begin lets define a “responsible person”. According to a definition from the School of Champions web-site, “a person who is able to act without guidance or supervision, because this person is accountable and responsible for their own actions Such a person can be trusted, and depended on to do things on their own”. These people must be law-abiding, have no criminal offences, not be mentally ill, and not known to abuse alcohol or drugs. They also must not have renounced U.S. citizenship, not have been dishonorably discharged from the military, and must be in the U.S. legally” (10). This definition was taken from the Federal Gun Control Act of 1968. The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution states: “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the free people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” The Founding Fathers included this in the Bill of Rights because they feared the Federal Government might oppress people if they did not have the means to defend themselves as individuals Halbrook (1984): That every Man be Armed 65-84. This is not a new idea. The founding Fathers’ thought on the right to keep and bear arms were influenced by many others. The militia referred to cannot be construed as a meaning the Army or National Guard, in the words of “Samuel Adams; the militia is composed of free citizens.” The reason given for most gun control laws is “crime control.” The Brady Bill for is one example. This bill named after James Brady, who was shot by John Hinckley during the attempt on President Reagan in 1981. Supporters for this bill used that incident to support gun control legislation; however, records show that “a criminal background check was run on Hinckley four days before he obtained the revolver to shoot President Reagan and Jim Brady. The check came back that Hinckley’s record was clear. There were also no records of him suffering from any type of mental illness. The Brady Bill was not effective in fighting crime, but affected crime victims. The five day waiting period during which a police background check was supposed to serve as a cool down period to prevent crimes. Fortunately this process was waived in many states, some of which already had instant background checks in place.Another more recent example of gun control legislation that affected the wrong people held on was the “Assault Weapon” ban included in the Crime Bill of 1994. While supporters claim the firearms banned by this bill are considered “weapons of choice” of gangs and drug dealers, the FBI Uniform Crime Reports showed that this was not true. However at congressional hearing held March 31, 1995 several people testified that they had used guns which were then banned to defend their lives to prevent crimes. It was fortunate that these people had firearms and the education on how to use such firearms to protect themselves. Case in point, the following is an article from the “Armed Citizen.” The sound of breaking glass in the early hours of the morning woke the resident of a rural home and alerted him to a burglary in progress. The resident armed himself with a pistol and confronted the intruder, who was holding a hatchet. After a physical altercation, the resident fired the pistol. The resident immediately called the police, who arrived to find the suspect in the home, dead from a single gun-shot wound to the chest. If not for the advantage of having the pistol the resident might have been seriously injured or even killed. Firearms are also used for hunting, competitive sports. The Olympic Games include competitions with pistols, rifles, and shotguns. There are also many competitions throughout the country in bull’s eye, bench rest, silhouette, practical pistol, trap and skeet, and three gun competitions.Even without formal competition, shooting can be enjoyed as a hobby. Recreational shooting can involve paper targets, tin cans, or other suitable targets. This hobby can be enjoyed at indoor ranges also. Throughout history violence has plagued the human race. Since ancient times the strong have preyed on the weak. We pass laws to protect society, but the violence continues. Laws are an attempt to change or modify human behavior, but human nature cannot be changed. Laws and legislature are not enough to protect people from aggression or crime. People must be allowed the means to protect themselves. Protection in the main reason that half the people in the United States own a firearm.It is a fact that not all people are of the same size and strength. Sometimes people must defend themselves from stronger more powerful aggressors, sometimes more than one aggressor. This is especially true of women since they are, on average, smaller than men. This also holds true to the older population when trying to defend themselves against younger adults. The Brady Bill and the “Assault Weapons” ban in Crime Bills of the past are examples of bad legislation, but some good firearms related legislation have also been passed. Legislature has seen the benefits of firearms in our society. Many states including Arizona and Texas have passed laws permitting responsible citizens to carry a concealed weapon with a permit and of course training. And as early as last year Oklahoma passed their open carry law, which allows law abiding citizens to carry their firearm exposed. Statistics are not out as to the benefits or lack of them with Oklahoma’s open carry law; however according to National Rifle Association with in a year after passing permit carry laws in Arizona, homicide rates dropped by 36 percent. The Founding Fathers of our country won our freedom with firearms. After we won our independence the Founding Fathers saw fit to include the right to bear arms in the Constitution. This was an effort on their part to ensure the freedom that they had fought and died for would last. Americans own and use firearms for many reasons as stated earlier. Some legislation had been passed to restrict our right to some firearms, and the shortcomings of the laws have been exposed and when the sun sat on these crime bills they were put to rest, apparently showing that such laws had no effect on violent crime. Firearms can be dangerous in the hand whether it be a criminal are a law-abiding citizen who lacks proper training. The best training is educating people on the laws currently in place and training on the proper use of firearms. This training can be passed down from one generation to another. Formal training courses for hunting, concealed carry, and any basic course that incorporates safety as a key factor with the use of a firearm. Recognized is the fact that criminals have misused firearms with tragic results, it must be pointed out that we need to punish those committing these crimes to a point in which the criminal themselves will weigh the consequence of using a firearm to commit a crime in the first place. Guns are not the cause of criminal activity in this country. The criminals are. Effective crime control laws should provide harder sentences for these criminals, and more officers on the street to deter criminal activity and apprehension of said criminals. Gun control should not limit the rights of responsible citizens to own and carry firearms. Society does benefit from firearms in the hands of responsible people. And it is up to those people to be responsible in the safe ownership and use of any firearm in their possession.
NRA staff, (January 21, 2014), American Rifleman Blog web page “The Armed Citizen.” Original article from the South Bend Tribune, Hudson Lake, IN, 7/9/13 Halbrook,Stephen (1984)“That Everyman be Armed.” Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press
Kurtus, Ron, (2013) School of Champions @ www.School of Champions.com /character/responsible
Federal Bureau of Investigation Crime in the United States 2011.