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By yugendu Nov 13, 2013 1889 Words
If you could pass one law what would it be? Why?

America is the most powerful country and the most developed country with the world’s largest national economy. It is also the world's most ethnically diverse and multicultural nation due to large-scale immigration from across the globe. It is also the country which has the highest homicide and suicide cases in the world! Why so? I think this is because of the relaxed gun laws in the country which lets individuals possess firearms and guns with much ease. First I would like you to just go through the gun laws in The United States of America. Here, the protection against infringement of the right to keep and bear arms is addressed in the Second Amendment to the United States’ Constitution. Federal gun laws are enforced by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The carrying of firearms for protection and other lawful purposes is legal in all 50 states, either under license or as a matter of course. Openly carrying firearms without any licensing requirement is legal in thirty-one states. The liberal law has allowed people across the US easy access to guns. The issue of firearms has, at times, taken a high-profile position in United States culture and politics. “Mass Shootings” have continually generated political debates about gun control laws. There is a sharp divide between gun-rights proponents and gun-control proponents. This leads to intense political debate over the effectiveness of firearm regulation. A couple of months ago, at the mass organized in the memory of the Washington Navy Dockyard victims, President Barack Obama said that the fight for gun laws 'ought to obsess us'.

The incidents of gun violence and self-defense have also generated lots of debate. In 2007, 12,632 murders were committed using firearms, and 613 persons were killed unintentionally. Surveys have suggested that guns are used in crime deterrence or prevention around 2.5 million times a year in the United States. The American Journal of Public Health conducted a study that concluded "the United States has higher rates of firearm ownership than the other developed nations, and higher rates of homicide.” Of the 233,251 people who were homicide victims in the United States between 1988 and 1997, 68% were killed with guns, of which the large majority was handguns. The number of people killed by firearms, including suicides, since 1968, according to The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and the FBI, is 1,384,171 and this means that 212,994 more Americans lost their lives from firearms in the last 45 years than in all wars involving the US! There have been fewer than 20 terror-related deaths on American soil since 9/11 and about 364,000 deaths caused by privately owned firearms. So who is the bigger killer, terrorists or guns? The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) estimated in 1995 that the number of firearms available in the US was 223 million. According to a recent Gallop Poll 47% of Americans own a gun and also 53% of Americans are against any ban on guns! The worst of all are school shootings which have become very common. In most of the cases the kids bring guns belonging to their parents to school and shoot other classmates and teachers. In recent past there have been some ruthless killings which has shook everyone in The United States of America. There have been more than a hundred such cases. How long can we continue with a law that takes away innocent lives. The Virginia Tech Massacre was a school shooting that took place on April 16, 2007 on the campus. This is the deadliest shooting occurrence by a single man in the US history and also the worst act of mass slaughter of college students with a loss of 32 people and many injuries. It also led to passage of the first major federal gun control measure in a long time. In another incident on December 14, 2012, 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot dead twenty children and six adult staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Before driving to the school, Lanza had shot and killed his mother Nancy at their Newtown home. The Columbine High School massacre is another classic example where kids got hold of firearms which they used in killing their school mates. A few recent incidents have been very shocking. A few weeks ago only, in Nevada a 13 year old kid killed his teacher before killing himself. In another incident a 12 year old kid carrying a toy gun was gunned down by police mistaking the gun to be a real gun! Not only school shootings but the ease of accessing firearms also affects a lot of suicides. There were 36,909 suicides in the year 2009 out 19,392 that’s more than half were because of handguns. Using handguns for killing oneself is supposedly the quickest and the least painful way to die. If there were strict gun rules at least the number would have been much less. I strongly feel that this gun culture is due to the feeling of insecurity in the society overall. There is a total lack of trust and the mutual bonds too are missing. The patience levels of the people have also dwindled a lot due to both modern day living pressures as well as work related issues. A little setback, hence, leads to extreme bouts of anxiety and anger leading to depression as well. During such state of mind a person is not able to think rationally and due to lack of outlets to vent out the feelings, the monster in a person takes over. And easy availability of arms helps him in taking out his frustration at times on innocent human beings. Thus, I support a very strict Gun Law in US as is prevalent in many other countries. India, the country where I was born, is the seventh-largest country by area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world, the country where only 66% of the people are educated, the country whose history is millions of years old. I would like to say that most parts of India are very safe just because the gun laws are pretty strict. The gun laws in India: The Arms Act of 1959 and the Arms Rules 1962 of India prohibits the sale, manufacture, possession, acquisition, import, export and transport of firearms and ammunition unless under a license and one has to go through a very stringent process to obtain such a license. This is one of the reasons why there has been only one famous school shooting incident where two children killed a boy by bringing a gun to school. It was also because of the parent’s carelessness that the kids knew where the ‘licensed’ gun was kept. In India private firearm ownership is 4,000,000 where as in USA is 310,000,000. The number of gun deaths in India is 6,219 in a population of 1.2 billion, and the number of gun deaths in America is 32,163 in a population of 313.9 million. Gun homicides in India is 3,093 and in America is 11,101.The gun suicides in India 1,639 and in the United States is 19,766. It isn’t that firearms are not available in India. People smuggle guns, which is illegal, but its mostly small gangs and mafias which still exist in some small parts of India who are only fighting amongst themselves and are otherwise totally harmless. Australia: Firearm laws in Australia are enforced at a Federal and State level and are very strict. Gun ownership is accessible to the civilian population, and those people must comply with 'genuine reasons' to obtain a 'Permit to Acquire' and those 'Genuine Reasons' should focus on either hunting and/or sport/target shooting; it does not include ‘personal protection’. Handgun licenses are also available and applied for separately, but the strictness on personal protection saves many lives. In Australia the gun deaths per year are 236 and in America its 32,163, effect of strict laws in Australia. China: Gun ownership in China is heavily regulated by law. Private citizens are not allowed to possess guns except for hunting. Guns can be used by law enforcement like the military and paramilitary, and security personnel protecting property of state importance only. France: In France, to buy a weapon, a hunting license or a shooting sport license is necessary and the number of weapons bought should be limited. France has no limit on magazine capacity and no "assault weapon" ban, other than that one needs a permit for category one semi-automatics. Homicide levels in France are still quite high. The number of gun deaths in France is 1,864 and in America is 32,163. Germany: Gun ownership in Germany is regulated by the Federal Weapons Act 1972; it extends previous gun legislation and is considered a very restrictive law. Germany keeps a two-tier policy to firearm ownership. Firearms ownership license allows for the purchasing of weapons by those over the age of 21 who meet various “competency or trustworthiness” guidelines like citizens. Those with a mental disability or those deemed unreliable are denied licenses. To get a license issued it is also required to prove the necessity of owning a gun, while self-defense is not an accepted reason to own a gun hence it shows how difficult it is to possess a firearm legally. In Germany the strict gun laws result in only 903 gun deaths and in America the amount of gun deaths is 32,163. Canada: The stated intent of Canadian firearms laws is to control firearms so as to improve public safety. Canadians have a somewhat limited access to firearms, but are still able to purchase them with relative ease. One of the reasons why I feel that the US laws on Guns are in general the most liberal in the world is the thriving Arms Industry. US is the strongest country of the world and a military super power has to have a large weapon manufacturing base and this is big money business. This has resulted in creation of large weapon lobby in US which wants to produce arms and ammunition unabated. The fallout is the eased out law for gun possession and easy availability of guns and ammunition. The voices for the curbing of gun laws is picking up across the country now. A few months back Joe Biden, the US vice-president, made a renewed call on Congress to introduce legislation that would curb the epidemic of gun violence across the US. He was very clear telling resistant politicians that "if Congress doesn't act, we'll fight for a new Congress". President Obama too has made the tightening gun controls one of the priorities of his second term in office but since then has been stymied by largely Republican opposition in Congress and by a virulent counter-attack by the leading gun lobby, the National Rifle Association. In a meeting with 18 mayors from across the country, he vowed to continue to press Congress to pass "common-sense reforms like expanding the background check system and cracking down on gun trafficking". He also vowed to combat gun violence using his executive powers. Even large corporate have started coming out in open against the gun laws, Starbucks asked its American customers to not to bring their guns into the coffee shop. A good beginning I must say, still a long way to go. Whatever the reasons be for the growing gun culture, for the safety of the people I strongly recommend a very strict Gun Law in the United States.

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