Free «Gun Control Issue» Essay Sample

Even though guns are acquired for sporting or defensive purposes, Gun Control Laws restrict ownership or purchase of guns. Studies suggest that ownership of guns lowers crime rates. However, liberals press for gun control since it increases the reliance of voters for government protection. Gun Control entails restrictions on the production, possession, importation, use or sale of guns by private citizens. Most commonly, the government formulates policies, proposals, practices or laws that regulate the use of firearms by individual person.

The debate over Gun Control traces back to 1963, when the evidence behind President John F. Kennedy’s assassination sparked public awareness for the relative lack of control over the use and possession of guns in America. Matter-of-factly, before 1968, ammunition, riffles, shotguns, and handguns were sold over-the-counter. At times, any adult within the state would get a gun through magazines and mail order catalogs (Gun Laws in America). However, America’s history on the regulation of ownership of private firearms dates much farther. In fact, it traces all the way back to 1791 when the Bill of Rights included the second amendment in the American constitution. Later in 1837, Georgia passed a law banning the use or possession of handguns by private citizens. However, the law was later held unconstitutional and was declined. In 1865, several southern states adapted so-called “black codes” which forbid the possession of guns by the blacks. The first restriction on selling ordinary fire weapon was given by the Federal Firearms Act in 1938. The legislation required persons selling guns to obtain a Federal Firearms License at a cost of $1 per year. Then again, it required them to keep records of the addresses and names of persons who bought fire weapon. The law also defeated the sale of firearms to people adjudged to jail for penal offence.

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In 1968, a law that kept fire weapon out of possession by persons who are not legally authorized by law was enacted. This included persons barred by the law due to their age, incompetence or criminal background. The restrictions were effected through the Gun Control Act of 1968 (LaRosa). The Act farther regulated the importation of guns, promoted gun-dealer licensing and record keeping requirements. The Law provided specific regulations that limited the sale of handguns. Then again, the list of persons barred from buying firearms was expanded to include individuals who are mentally incompetent, users of illegal drugs or convicted of non-business related felonies. A series of legislations were enacted in the subsequent years in a bid to regulate the use, possession, sale or importation of firearms. Such a reform is evident in 1999, when CA Board Supervisors in Los Angeles voted to ban the Great Western Gun Show that had been held for 30 years.

The Second Amendment clearly asserts that an adult citizen is entitled to keep and bear firearms. Regardless of the side one chooses to take in the gun debate, the provision of the Second Amendment is clear. The amendment guarantees an individual the right to possess a fire weapon and outlaws most gun control. No matter how seemingly reasonable most gun-control measures appear to be, they are often geared towards disarmament of the civilians. Civil-rights activists gave credit for the value of guns that could be used for self-defense. For instance, in 1956, Martin Luther King Jr. applied for a license to have in possession the fire weapon after his homesite was attacked. Extensive series of studies have confirmed that most victims of crimes who defend themselves with guns are less likely to lose property, or be injured in the event of crime. Moreover, the number of crime victims using guns for self-defense has been observed to increase substantially each year. In his book More Guns, Less Crimes, an economist, John Lott, argues that possession of guns by law-abiding citizens help reduce crime rates. He argues that the possession of guns by the citizens would deter crime since potential criminals would not be aware of the individuals in possession of a firearm. Despite myriad arguments against his findings, it is imperative to note that his findings were drawn from all 3,054 US counties from the FBI’s crime statistics (Lott 362). Moreover, it is crucial to consider that self-defense is an inalienable and fundamental right that should not be infringed. The possession of firearms by private civilians is a relevant tool in exercising this right. The second amendment depicts gun ownership as a civil right.

It is also indispensable to realize that an armed citizen can help deter tyranny and crime. The Militia Information Service (MIS) contends that the possession of guns is a civic duty if one is a member of the militia. It farther encourages the citizens to protect the liberties and rights of their fellow citizens. Such is the ethical and legal duty for every individual citizen to protect dependants under their care. The possession of a firearm is bound to enhance the safety of such persons.

In conclusion, it is mindful to note that myriad constitutional reforms have been enacted since 1934 to regulate the use, possession and sale of ammunition and firearms. Such controls often impose a burden for law-abiding citizens and infringe the constitutional rights of citizens provided by the Second Amendment. As explained earlier, it would also serve as a deterrent to crime and potential tyranny.


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