Part 1: Thesis
The debate on gun control has recently developed into a sensational topic, consequently sparking increased concern from almost every America citizen. This is primarily because factors leading to the emergence on the gun control are associated with the onset of potentially criminal activities, which are targeting innocent American victims. As a result, critics have taken this debate to the floor of the United States senate debate to permanently address the social problem in an amicable manner. The proposal was to primarily institute strategic legislative measures, which will offer a practical solution that will suit every fundamental of the American society associated with crime development. Hence, critics continuously pose the question: Should America have stronger gun control laws? Several answers have been given by the concerned citizens either supporting or opposing the need for the legislations. In as much as personal security is synonymous with the protection of life, America needs stronger gun control laws, in order to sufficiently limit the use of guns only to defined and predetermined situations proven to pose a threat on the individual.
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The institution of gun laws will lead to better handling of illegal gun sales, which have become a common factor across America states. The subject of illegal gun sales has for a long time frustrated law enforcement efforts, in safeguarding the security of American citizens. This is primarily because illegal gun sales increase the potential of criminals accessing the guns whenever they are planning to carry out criminal related activities. For instance, looking at the Australian and United Kingdom contexts the increasing incidents of suicides and constant terror attacks sparked concern with regard to the sale and possession of guns. This consequently led to the institution of strategic gun control legislations that saw a significant number of guns returned back to the law enforcement’s possession. Baker and McPhedran (2007) observe that, “Major changes to Australian laws resulted in a controversial buy-back of long arms and tighter legislation. The Australian situation enables evaluation of the effect of a national buy-back, accompanied by tightened legislation in a country with relatively secure borders” (p.455). This shows that without proper gun control laws, this significantly increases the element of security in the American neighborhoods considering the fact that America has more porous borders.
The act of allowing citizens to own guns in an uncontrolled manner could significantly lead to an up rise in the number of suicidal activities from normal citizens. Considering the fact that America is currently experiencing massive job losses and economic recession, especially among the relatively elder population, who were previously employed in certain specific work settings. Due to this majority of citizens are increasingly becoming exposed to stressful situations and that some of them might attempt committing suicide. The possession and access to guns therefore posses significant threat to these individuals. This is because it increases the aspect of access to fire arms by virtue of the nature of crisis associated with the occurrence of financially deficient situations. For instance, the amendment of Canada’s Criminal Law Act of 1977, specifically Bill C-51, provides a good opportunity for illustrating the manner in which effects of legislative control laws instituted for guns have impacted upon the occurrence of suicide attempts (Leenaars, 2007). Supposing the same legislative proposals were used in the American context at this time, this would significantly reduce suicidal attempts. In as much as the laws cannot be replicated successfully in all countries, is has been shown that gun control is capable of being to put to significant applications, consequently resulting in the reduction of suicide worldwide (Leenaars, 2007).
The institution of gun control laws will sufficiently reduce the significant access to guns by minors, and underage teenagers. By virtue of the explorative nature of the minors and teenagers, the possession of guns by parents increases the chances of these individuals accessing guns, especially when they have not been stored under safe custody. Moreover, media and videogame accessories have changed the American concept with regard to the ownership of guns such that gun ownership is now seen as a major protective factor. Minors in their young minds have adopted the same notion leading to increasing risks of gun use among them as recently seen in televised teenage gun use incidents.
In one incident, Coleman (2004) narrates, “On that day, Barry Loukaitis, 14, dressed all in black, with boots and a long coat that hid his father’s hunting rifle and two handguns, walked into his Frontier Junior High fifth-period algebra class at Moses Lake and started shooting. He has cut the pockets out of his long Western duster and was able to use the .30-.30 lever action hunting rifle without taking his hands out of the long, black trench coat. Loukaitis killed two classmates (Arnold Fritz and Manuel Vela) and then severely wounded another (Natalie Hintz). Hintz, sitting beside the boys, was shot in the stomach, with the bullet traveling through her elbow and almost tearing her right arm off. Next, Loukaitis aimed at the back of his algebra teacher, Leona Caires, and killed her as she was writing an equation on the chalkboard. With the carnage around him and 15 students in the room crying hysterically, Loukaitis calmly turned toward them, smiled and said: “This sure beats algebra doesn't it?” (p.2). This incident surely portrays the manner in which the application of insufficient control upon the use and utilization of guns poses significant threat to the innocent minors and teenagers as seen in the events happening in school settings.
Part 2: Anti-thesis
The proposal for the implementation of legislative actions for gun control among the American citizens has actually evolved into a sensational subject. This has led to the development of different viewpoints with positive effects getting positive accolade. However, it is important to note that in as much as instituting gun controls poses relative advantages for the entire citizens of America; this could result in a total collapse of the security and existing enforcement framework. The legislation amendment proposal to implement a stronger and more efficient gun control laws will only result in a high rise of criminal related activities. Therefore, in as much as personal security is synonymous with the protection of life, America does not need stronger gun control laws, by allowing legal use of guns within defined and predetermined situations proven to pose a threat on the individual.
The institution of a legal framework allowing guns to be used, will eventually lead to a drastic drop in illegal gun sales across major American states. This is primarily attributed to the fact that allowing citizens to use guns will open an avenue for legal gun sales, since it will no longer be a secretive element of society. In fact, the best approach would employ the institution of legislative policies and mechanisms prescribing the manner in which gun sales will be carried at identified legal gun sale points. In addition, these approaches need to significantly target the respective source points for these emerging issues, for instance, gun ownership. In deed, there is considerable problem in the identification of gun owners and guns in the community (Chapman et al, 2006). This therefore poses the major problems especially since illegal gun sales will go on the rise due to the arising control factors.
The act of allowing citizens to own guns is not directly associated with the rise in the number of suicidal activities from normal citizens. In an attempt to discredit the notion that gun control laws actually leads to a significant reduction in suicide attempts, Kubrin and Wadsworth (2009) observe that, “Like motivation studies, the literature on gun availability and suicide has weakness…note two major problems with the studies of firearms and suicide: (1) lack of reliable data on gun ownership levels in the United States bi either city or state, and (2) failing to control the key confounders in the study. Concerning the first limitation, many studies do not include measures of gun availability, particularly those that attempt to assess the effect of gun control legislation on suicide rates …These studies assume that more restrictive legislation has resulted in fewer firearms within households but they include no measures of gun availability to verify this” (p.1208). This serve to illustrate that there is significant assumption in relating the need for legislative control as being effective in reducing suicide rates. Kubrin and Wadsworth (2009) further add that, “…the prevalence of gun of ownership, rather than strictness of gun control laws per se, is the best predictor of suicide…gun regulation often used as an imperfect proxy for gun availability” (p.1208)
The institution of gun control laws will not necessarily lead to a reduction in the access to guns by minors, and underage teenagers, as commonly seen in educational settings. This is attributed to the fact there are indeed other source points in the community and house levels where minors can access fire arms. In fact, most of the incidents reported the guns were acquired from these other relative sources. The best approach would be to implement a framework by providing policies requiring adequate monitoring of gun storage facilities and other access levels to teenagers. For instance, minors should never be spotted near gun sale points. In regard to incidents reported concerning the rising number of gun attacks on fellow students by some culprit students, there is need to install checking or inspection systems that will sufficiently check illegal entry with fire arms into school and other educational settings. Moreover it has been previously observed that the entry of guns in school setting using minors is primarily as a result of other social, mass media, and societal problems. For instance, in one study carried out by Muschert (2007) he observes that, “Mass media play an integral role in the public perception of school shootings as a social problem, and social scientists have examined the media framing of school shooting incidents” (Muschert, 2007).
Part 3: Synthesis
There is need to implement stronger gun control laws in America given the relative importance given to the subject of security measures. First, the institution of a legal framework allowing guns to be used by lessening stronger controls on gun use will eventually lead to a drastic drop in illegal gun sales across major American states. This is because the actual causes associated with illegal gun sales are not directly associated with the aspect of gun control, but there are other significant factors, which come into play. This can be seen in the case studies and gun control laws implemented in the setting of Australia through introduction of tighter legislation (Baker and McPhedran, 2007)). Moreover, the suggestion that introduction of legislative mechanisms aimed at controlling the sale of guns will not offer a comprehensive approach. A more holistic approach would involve the targeting all the components regarding guns, starting from ownership, sale, handling, disposal, and retrieval from the community.
Secondly, the fact that gun ownership has no relationship with the introduction of gun control laws appears to be a misplaced one. This is because by eliminating the significance of stronger gun laws, then it implies that a large number of people will continue owning guns. Moreover, without proper and stronger regulations being put in place to control the activities and circumstances under which these guns will be put to use further introduces an element of risk towards personal/individual security fundamentals. It is therefore critical to introduce sufficient legislation that will enable responsible ownership of guns, in addition to limiting the persons who can access them. In addition, the institution of critical gun laws will eventually lead to the setting up of efficient systems capable of identifying gun owners in the community through an implementation of an efficient mechanism capable of tracking gun owners in the community setting of America.
Thirdly, the institution of gun control laws will lead to a reduction in the access to guns by minors, and underage teenagers, as commonly seen in educational settings. The suggestion that the problem is more of a social, media or cultural related problem suggests failure to correlate the factor on availability of guns in the respective environments where minors are found. It is critical to note that, “Since school shootings are so complex, more research is warranted to understand these phenomena across differing social and cultural contexts” (Muschert, 2007). Moreover, the issue about the media having a negative impact with regard to the occurrence of school shooting incidents, it is important to note that rarely do they mention the impact brought about by access to guns by these minors and teenagers. Coleman (2004) observes that, “They should also avoid setting up the incident as a logical or reasonable way to solve a problem” (p.12). In this sense, one notes that focus is usually placed on the incident as opposed to the accessibility factors. By instituting gun control laws it will be relatively easy to control access to guns by teenagers and their transfer to educational settings.