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Gun Control


Within the past year of 2012, gun control has been a heated debate among the government and the American citizens. Multiple shootings have occurred across the nations at schools in Chardon, Ohio, Newton, Connecticut, and a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. That isn't even to mention those smaller shootings that occur within this nation. Whether these people are copy cats seeing someone else on TV become “famous” because of their wrong doing, whether these are psychotics out of control, or whether these are people who didn't receive the help they needed, whatever the reason is, these evil actions need to be put to a stop. Some would say that the solution to this problem is to simply ban firearms entirely; if we as citizens can’t use guns responsibly, then we don’t get them. Others would say that we need more strict regulations on who can purchase and posses a firearm. Still, others would say that those things, especially taking away guns all together, is absolutely unconstitutional, taking away a right that all citizens were given. The answer may not be found in any single one of these opinions, but possibly the answer lies in a combination. The Constitutional right for a citizen of the United States to purchase and own a firearm should be upheld although steps should be taken to put a stop to the rise in gun violence.

The US Constitution was put into effect in 1789 and begins with the purpose for writing such a document, “in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty on ourselves and our posterity…” As is stated in the first line of the constitution, it was written for the people to start a nation that would be safe, free and just. The Second Amendment of this document stated that citizens have the right to bear arms. For the government to have made an amendment to allow the citizens of this nation to own guns, they must have believed that it was in support of their mission to “form a more perfect union”. The men who signed the Constitution believed in achieving “domestic tranquility”. Domestic is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as: of or pertaining to one’s own or a particular country as apart from other countries. Tranquility is defined as: calmness; peacefulness. People constantly talk about the violence and the problems that guns cause, but looking into the diction of the constitution it can be seen that allowing private ownership of firearms was an attempt to help keep peace within the nation. Therefore, the right for a citizen to bear arms should remain with the citizens because it is a right given in the constitution. Granted many people could agree with what has been stated thus far; however, they would argue that, just because the government has given the citizens this right, does not mean that the citizens haven’t abused this privilege and actually made this nation more dangerous and that is why the current government is working on a solution.

President Obama has been actively involved with the controversial issue of gun control, especially after the recent shootings. He is looking for ways to gain supervision over the chaos that has occurred. The President came up with an idea that has four subsections that are: law enforcement, availability of dangerous firearms, safety in schools, and mental health. Several of these shootings, including the recent Connecticut shooting, involved high capacity ammunition magazines and semi-automatic weapons. According to CBS News “Congress passed the original assault weapons ban in 1994, thus imposing a 10 year ban on 19 types of military-style assault weapons , including semi-automatic rifles…”(CBSnews.com). That 10 year ban expired in 2004 and when it was up for re-authorization the subsequent efforts fell short and it was not reinstated, however, with the recent events and shootings, “Mr. Obama’s weapons plan will be tougher than the one that expired in 2004” (CBSnews.com). He certainly wants to be scrupulous, according to the Huffington Post, President Obama “recommended requiring criminal background checks on all gun sales” (huffingtonpost.com). This may seem extreme, but is it? It certainly seems to be common sense not to let people with criminal records have guns.

Several of the shootings that have occurred within the last year were committed by people who weren't mentally stable which is why Obama is also calling “for more training [of] mental health professionals and school counselors…[as well as] training for first responders so they might detect mental health pproblems or warning signs” (CBSnews.com). The shooting in Chardon, Ohio, for example, was committed by a teenager who had been through psychological distress. It is important that we get those people help who need it and it is unlikely they will all come looking for it, which is why Obama’s plan to train people to recognize when someone needs help and then to make that help readily available may help resolve the epidemic.

In conclusion, these horrific acts of gun violence are indeed a problem needing resolution; however, the right to bear arms needs to remain with the citizens. The Constitution, though written over 200 years ago, needs to remain relevant in the decisions that are made by the government. The rights that were established cannot be simply stripped away from the citizens, although, steps toward making this nation safer need to be taken. The President is coming up with ways to limit the firearms that can be purchased and who can purchase them as well as providing those people who are mentally unstable the help they need before they get to the point of committing atrocities. No one extreme, whether it is removing guns entirely or imposing no new laws on gun control, will solve the national problem that seems to be spreading. In a democracy, it is possible that nobody gets 100% what they want, because sometimes it just takes a compromise “to promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty on ourselves and our posterity”.



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