Guns In The United States
In today’s society of political turmoil, violence, and economic tragedies, many gun control advocates are pushing for more gun regulations from the government. Guns have been a part of America’s way of life for centuries. However, it was not until the 20th century that the government enacted it’s first gun control act. The National Firearms Act was enacted in 1934, as stated in “Firearm Laws, Regulations, and Ordinances,” edited by Sandra Alters, in response to the increased criminal and gangster activity as a result of prohibition (19). This act aimed to make it more difficult to acquire specific firearms by establishing a $200 tax on firearms (Alters, ed. 19). In 1968, the Gun Control Act was passed and amended the National Firearms Act of 1934 to include a wider range of firearms. This act was passed in the wake of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. The act required firearm dealers to be federally licensed, restricted interstate sales of firearms, and forbid the sale of firearms to minors or criminals (Alters, ed. 19). The passage of the Gun Control Act of 1968 was criticized, however. The main criticism involving the Gun Control Act of 1968 was that the act penalized law-abiding citizens and rewarded criminals (Alters, ed. 20). In 1986, the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act greatly amended the Gun Control Act of 1968 in an attempt to address the various criticisms and concerns linked to the act. There have been various gun control regulations enacted since 1986; however, the enactment of the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act is one of the largest regulations ever put into place. Much of the controversy over gun control laws now and then involves the second amendment to the constitution. Today, lawmakers face much pressure from gun control advocates, as well as anti-gun control advocates regarding gun laws. However, putting more regulations on guns is not going to change the way that people use them, which many gun control advocates believe to be true. There should be no further government gun control in America because additional gun control will not lower violence and it is not financially feasible to enforce additional gun control laws.
The most significant federal gun control act today is the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993, as discussed in James Jacobs and Kimberly Potter’s article "Keeping guns out of the 'wrong' hands: the Brady law and the limits of regulation." This act requires federal firearm licensees to run background checks on gun sale purchases, and also created a federal database for federal firearm licensee’s access to The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (Jacobs and Potter). A 5-day waiting period for the purchase of a gun was also introduced. The National Instant Criminal Background Check System is to provide access to names of those persons not allowed to purchase a gun (Jacobs and Potter). The aim of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act was to prevent criminals, or ineligible persons from purchasing guns. The Brady Act expanded the definition of an ineligible person to include: illegal drug users and addicts, former mental patients, illegal aliens and persons dishonorably discharged from the armed forces (James and Potter). This act, along with the other regulations discussed, form the current federal gun control laws. One central view of gun control advocates in support of additional gun control is the belief that banning guns would lower violence in America. Stephen E. Wright, writer of “From the Bluff,” claims that the main focus of anti-gun groups is on gun ownership (par. 2). Anti-gun groups claim that if citizens did not own guns, fewer crimes would be committed. Although taking away guns appears to be a good plan to reduce crime, it is not a realistic one. Banning gun ownership could have an effect similar to the Prohibition Act of 1920. In 1920, the American government...
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Jacobs, James B., and Kimberly A. Potter. "Keeping guns out of the 'wrong ' hands: the Brady law and the limits of regulation." Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology Fall 1995: 93-120. Academic OneFile. Web. 2 Dec. 2012.
Kates, Don B., Jr. "GUN CONTROL: A REALISTIC ASSESSMENT." Gun Control: A Realistic Assessment. N.p., 1990. Web. 01 Nov. 2012. <http://www.catb.org/esr/guns/gun-control.html>.
Roberts, Amy. "By the Numbers: Guns in America - CNN.com." CNN. Cable News Network, 01 Jan. 1970. Web. 02 Nov. 2012. <http://www.cnn.com/2012/ 08/09/politics/btn-guns-in-america/index.html>.
Wright, Stephen E. "Gun Control Laws Will Not Save Lives." Guns and Crime. Ed. Christine Watkins. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2012. At Issue. Rpt. from "Anti-Gun Group Common Sense Gun Laws and Real Common Sense." StephenE Wright.com. 2010. Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 1 Nov. 2012
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