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Gun Control

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The right to bear arms is stated by the U.S. Constitution and is supported by facts suggesting the effectiveness of having guns as a deterrent to crime. The level of violent crime has increased significantly and has become an issue of national concern. This opens up the debate for what should be done about guns and gun related crimes in America. Although enforcing stricter gun control would reduce the amount of guns citizens could possess, it would have a negative effect by not only eroding our rights stated in the constitution but also giving criminals a better chance to take advantage of the defenseless people.
Gun-related crimes have always been a problem in America but cannot be stopped by just making more laws. Two hundred million firearms are put to a variety of uses but unfortunately guns have taken the lives of roughly 30,000 Americans in murders, suicides, or accidental shootings (Dolan). Out of these murders 14,625 victims were fatally wounded by firearms (Dolan). Taking a deeper look into this subject, at least half of these murders were caused by manslaughter from gang fights and the typical “thugs” off the street. Accidental shootings claimed about 1,500 a year, which is extremely low, compared to the total number of accidental deaths caused by car wrecks (Agresti). The federal government estimates, for teenagers, that firearms cause one in every four deaths (Travis). There is no simple way to decrease the amount of gun violence that occurs in the United States year after year.
Outlawing guns altogether would only hurt the average American citizen by leaving them defenseless against criminals, which is best described by the saying; “When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns” (Dolan). The nation’s 70 million legal gun owners and the majority of the law abiding Americans are not responsible for today’s gun violent crimes. Statistically studies have shown that ninety-nine percent of our legal gun owners are not responsible for gun related crimes (Gottfried). Eighteen to twenty year olds are responsible for committing over twenty-three percent of all gun murders. There is a law put in place by the Clinton administration that does not allow anyone with a criminal record to purchase firearms, but it is rarely enforced (Smith)
Enforcing stricter gun control not only has punished the gun owners who do follow the law but also restricts a citizen’s rights, which is stated in the Second Amendment of the constitution. This states, “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” (U.S. Constitution). Reasoning for this being written can both favor those who want stricter gun control and those who oppose it. In the 1600s King Charles II and James II of Great Britain tried to deprive the United States from the weapons out of fear of Americans retaliating, knowing the a high percentage of colonist had muskets to provide food (Snyder). Machiavelli wrote in his novel The Prince that the most dependable protection against government tyranny was for all citizens to be armed and willing to fight for the land (Heston). Because this Second Amendment was written over more than 200 years ago, many claim that it is outdated and that the Constitution does give the people the right to place restrictions on the ownership of guns (Heston).
Other historical events have the evidence to prove that gun control restricts citizens from their rights and leaves the people a defenseless country. The evidence sustaining gun control has thus proven to be ineffective in different countries so why should it be different here. Hitler, Stalin, and Castro are huge world leaders who prove that implementing gun control is the first step to keep their citizens from rebelling (Scott). Germany had established gun control in 1938 and in 1939 a total of 13 million Jews and other defenseless citizens were rounded up and exterminated (Scott). Recently, Australia banned or restricted guns from being kept at home. It was a new law that the country had passed that destroyed 640,381 personal firearms and caused the taxpayers more than 500 million dollars (Scott). It is a given fact that homicides went up 3.2 percent, assaults went up 8.6 percent, and armed robberies went up a total of 44 percent (Scott). This alone should prove how effective firearms are for use of self-defense not to mention the fear that it gives a potential criminal.
Potential victims use guns more than two million times a year to stop violent crimes (Heston). Women are also 2.5 less likely to be seriously injured if they resist attack with guns (Snyder). Guns have been proven to be the best means of protection against violent assaults. The problem is though; guns do provide you with a great amount of protection but is the liability to high. Most believe that carrying a handgun is the best weapon in use for self-defense, but must only be used if there is no other way out of a situation (Snyder). For example, after a series of rapes in Orlando, Florida police trained 3,000 women about the use of handguns. As a result, the rape total dropped a total of 90 percent (Atkins). Maryland also claims to have the toughest gun control laws in the nation and ranks number one in robberies and number four in violent crime and murder (Smith).
For those who are for gun control, most believe that firearms give citizens a false sense of security. Some believe that guns are more likely to be used for suicides, murders, and fatal incidents than self-protection (Atkins). It was reported in the New England Journal of Medicine that for every justifiable homicide committed in home for self-protection is outnumbered by other gun tragedies such as murders and suicides (Gottfried). A historian suggested that a significant number of guns used in crimes are usually stolen from a law-abiding citizen’s home (Gottfried). Most people say they don’t have the guts to kill an intruder and that it would just put them in more danger. There is a Supreme Court trial that is currently taking place that is questioning the validity of the Second Amendment as pertained to enforcing stricter gun control or banning guns in general. The case is still in progress (News 4).
The reality that the Second Amendment may be over turned in the United States is concerning to many of it’s citizens. It will restrict our rights and give the government and criminals the edge of fear to take advantage of the average citizen. Some claim that the Second Amendment does not give the rights to an individual to bear arms but only to members of a select militia while on active duty (Smith). In the Dred Scott case of 1856, the Supreme Court proposed the protected rights of a citizen and clearly listed the right of an individual to keep and bear arms (Smith). There are many other Supreme Court cases that rule the Second Amendment to be the rights for an individual, which is why there has not ever been a just argument trying to overturn it.

The availability to own guns is a huge problem in America, whether one buys a weapon from the gun show without any paper work, or just going to the nearest pawnshop and registering to buy a firearm. Statistics have been taken, which shows no correlation between the availability of firearms, the homicide rate, or the suicide rate in America (Smith). Those who are the criminals do not most likely obtain their gun legally. Five out of six gun-possessing felons acquire a handgun by a secondary market (“black market”) or theft (Atkins).

The level of violent crime has increased significantly and has become a major issue of national concern. It has been proven that restricting gun ownership does not decrease homicide rate. It is not the gun that kills but the person who is behind it. Thomas Pain once said, “Arms, like laws, discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe and preserve order.” It is our rights as an American to be able to own a gun and it that gun which symbolizes democracy in our country today.





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