The gun control issue began in 1920s when laws were passed across various States in attempt to control distribution of firearms after the bill of rights for people to own and keep firearms gained ratification in 1791. It however became stricter after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963 when public awareness increased with regards to lack of control over sale and ownership of guns across America. The history of gun control issue can be dated back in 1837 when the United States Supreme Court unconstitutionally passed a law banning handguns in Georgia. In 1865, several southern States reacted to the emancipation prompting adoption of black codes to forbid black people from owning a gun. In 1871, the National Rifle Association had to organize primary goals to enhance American civilian marksmanship in preparation for war (USG 1).
In 1927, United States Congress passed a law prohibiting mailing of concealable guns. In 1934, National Firearms Act of 1934 was approved by Congress to regulate manufacture, sale, and ownership of automatic guns. In 1938, Federal Firearms Act of 1938 placed the initial limitations on sale of ordinary guns as sellers had to obtain a Federal Firearm License and maintain sales records. The Gun Control Act of 1968 was therefore enacted to prohibit persons with a criminal history from owning a firearm. It also sought to regulate gun importation in order to avoid person who are incompetent, underage, violent, and drug addicts from owning a firearm. In 1994, the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act was implemented. Congress however failed to authorize it in and fund the Project Safe Neighborhoods gun control program developed by George Bush in 2004. In 2005, the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act was signed to limit abilities of victims of gun related crimes from suing manufacturers and dealers. The National Instant Criminal Background Check Improvement Act was also signed requiring buyers to be screen checked to ensure they are competent without a criminal background. This federal Acts however did not prevent or reduce gun related crimes from being reported in the country (USG 1).
More so, injuries and fatalities related to gun use continued to be reported across the country. For example, the ProCon gun control organization asserts for every one hundred people more than eighty eight guns are owned by the crowd. This translates to more than two hundred and seventy million guns existing across United States. Thus, more than twenty two percent of Americans own either one or more guns at the ratio of one to three among female to male individuals. This is a large percentage per capita number on a global platform proving that, the gun culture among Americans is part of the colonial history (USG 1).
In 2012, President Barrack Obama signed a federal law allowing gun owners to bring their guns to national parks and wildlife refuges if they are allowed by State law. The law however has not prevented several people from being injured and losing their lives, family members, and friends from gun related incidents and accidents (USG 1). For example, a twenty year old shot twenty children aged between six and seven years among six adult staff members in Connecticut on December 2012. The gun control issue therefore remains unresolved as the country continues to record gun related crimes, injuries and deaths. This explains why the president was emotional and irked as he lashed out at lawmakers in January 2016 as he shed tears recalling how first graders were killed through illegal and uncontrolled use of a gun. He therefore questioned why an advanced country like United States had not implemented gun control laws by noting that several lives had been lost due to careless use of guns by people who are either unregistered or unqualified to carry a gun (Stephen 1).
Pro and Con Sides of Gun Control
According to ProCon organization, several Americans believe the gun culture has revolutionary roots based on the assumption that, militia regulations are crucial in order for citizens to bear arms. As a result, more than four hundred and sixty four million deaths across United States were linked to gun violence between 1999 and 2013. These deaths exceed double the number of fatalities associated with murder cases as well as in suicides, intentional, and unintentional deaths. With regards to suicide and homicide deaths, more than fifty percent were linked to gun usage. It is therefore evident that, guns are leading causes of casualties and fatalities in America. It is also claimed that persons aged below fifteen years are more probable to lose their lives due to a gun mishap or incident. It is therefore crucial to ensure gun control rules and regulations are implemented effectively and efficiently (ProCon Organization 1).
Daniel, Jon, Katherine, Emma, Stephen and Shannon assert that, more than thirty one thousand deaths in America are associated with gun violence. These rates are attributed to use of guns among people who are aggressive, youthful, vicious and unregistered to carry a weapon. As a result, large premature mortality deaths coupled with gun wounds are being recorded on a daily basis across various healthcare facilities in the country. Thus, United States is a wealthy realm. Unfortunately, high crime rates due to violent use of guns are still being reported. As a result, the number of people either wounded or have lost their lives to gun violence are higher across United States than any other country with a similar high income or wealth (Daniel, Jon, Katherine, Emma, Stephen and Shannon 2).
They therefore assert that, gun control rules and regulations are vital, as they will also reduce productivity costs incurred by the country. In 2005, more than thirty two billion dollars productivity costs were incurred by the government while ensuring injuries and deaths associated with guns receive medical responses. The costs do not include the costs incurred by the victims and their family members as they overcome psychological, mental, emotional, and social trauma. The trauma decreases citizens’ aptitude to be productive in attempts to enhance property values. Consequently, people incur legal and social costs as they pursue justice and deal with the consequences of gun violence (Daniel, Jon, Katherine, Emma, Stephen and Shannon 2).
The deficiency in gun control, therefore, sustains the government direct and indirect overheads. The authors estimated that the government incurs at least one thousand three hundred dollars annual costs on an annual basis to address gun related violent incidences and accidents experienced by both children and adults. Due to the high productivity expenses, the tax revenues reduce hindering local governments from addressing and fulfilling citizens’ needs. Implementing gun control will therefore ensure the government is able to reduce expenses and increase revenues crucial in sustaining and developing a growing nation due to expanding needs as presented by the citizens (Daniel, Jon, Katherine, Emma, Stephen and Shannon 12).
Glenn, Kevin, and Hannah assert that the president’s executive powers aimed at curbing gun violence, injuries, and deaths across United States are life saving. They however also claim that, some critics and have asserted they are unconstitutional, dicey, and uncertain with regards to political influences likely to arise in the 2016 politics. According to Glenn, Kevin, and Hannah, accomplishing gun control was judicious. This is because they are initiating unilateral steps ought to be undertaken to ensure gun owners are vetted, investigated, and their backgrounds cleared. These steps are vital in affirming gun owners ought to be of sound mind, responsible, and legally recognized in the country. Advocates towards gun control portend that some criminals have owned guns attributing to increase in crimes across the country. These claims affirm that, gun control is vital in order to save lives and reduce the government’s productivity expenses (Glenn, Kevin and Hannah).
Federal agencies and administrative organizations should therefore pursue actions aimed at preventing gun violence through gun control. They should continue to pressure the president and his administration in ensuring gun control across United States is achieved effectively and efficiently. Consequently, cases of domestic abuse perpetrated by individuals who are either known or unknown to the victims will reduce. According to the ProCon organization, at least five women lose their lives due to gun violence on a daily basis across United States. This probability augments if perpetrators are gun owners and holding a weapon or firearm when the domestic violence incidence is taking place. For example, more than five thousand United States soldiers were killed between 2001 and 2015 during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The number of women who lost their lives due to gun violence between 2001 and 2016 was however higher as it exceeded six thousand in number. Their deaths were as a result of being in a domestic relationship with a partner who owns a gun or a firearm. With regards to gun violence, females victims record higher rates than men. For example, the Seal Beach, California gun incidence involved a woman who was engaged in a custody battle with her husband. Her husband was involved in a mass shooting across the area in 2011. Thus, gun control is vital in order to save lives, enhance security across the country, and increase revenues collected by the government as productivity costs are bound to decrease (ProCon Organization 1).
Jennifer and Sam therefore feel that the president took long to ensure gun control laws are implemented across United States. They assert that, governments engage long processes taking a lot of time in order to formulate and implement laws as observed in Congress and White House. Mark Kelly who runs a gun safety group supports the sentiments. The group is known as Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS). The process to achieve gun control took long as several interested people and groups had to take part. Thus, they had to be on board in order to support implementation of gun control laws. As a result, the president had to involve Bureau of Alcohol, firearms, tobacco, and explosives as well as the Justice Department and Office of the Vice President. Bringing all these parties and ensuring they are on board therefore took time (Jennifer and Sam 5).
Accordingly, they declare gun control laws ought to be upheld respectively. They believe this can be achieved by ensuring background checks are stronger before an individual is legally allowed and registered to own and carry a gun. Consequently, attention paid by federal agencies should be refocused towards the smart gun technology. The authors believe that, had gun control laws been implemented a long time ago, Barrack Obama would not have had to address and deal with the pain felt after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Executive actions as persuaded by Congress would have also reduced number of deaths across the country linked to mass shooting of innocent American citizens (Jennifer and Sam 5).
These sentiments are complimented by the ProCon Organization which asserts that, guns are rarely used in self defense. For example, more than twenty nine million violent crimes reported between 2007 and 2011 involved use of guns. Less than three thousand lives victims however used guns for self defense. Thus, less than one percent citizens either threaten or actually use guns for self defense. It should therefore be noted that, use of guns leads to more injuries and deaths compared to the number of lives saved. According to ProCon Organization, gun control regulations are not likely to hinder immoral and unlawful people from infringing the laws in attempt to obtain guns. Legally held firearms are also regularly fall in the wrong hands enabling criminals to utilize them illegally and unethically attributing to high death rates. For example, more than one million guns were stolen between 2005 and 2011 from residential homes and cars. This provided the criminals with weapons to use in future home burglaries, car thefts, and other property crimes. A large number of the stolen guns are sold at comparatively inferior costs. This further facilitates persons with ill intentions and low financial resources to use the newly purchased weapons to commit crimes in search of socioeconomic benefits (ProCon Organization 1).
According to William Krouse, several lives have been lost through gun usage. He therefore supports the government’s efforts in ensuring gun owners are screened, gun trafficking combated, federal gun licenses reformed and the use of firearms regulated. More so, certain guns such as long-range caliber or sniper rifles should be banned or registered under federal firearms laws. The author therefore believes that, gun control laws are vital, as they will ensure the country is protected from illegal use of firearms. This will translate to a reduced or zero gun related suicides, homicides, and domestic violence injuries. Gun control laws will also ensure gun owners use the weapons responsibly to avoid being prosecuted for illegal, antisocial, and unnecessary usage of a gun (William 80).
John Lott does not believe that more guns attribute to an increase in crime rates. John states that, additional guns ought to be distributed in the country as he believes crime rates are bound to decrease. He believes persons who own a gun are provoked to using it. His sentiments are based on a rigorous comprehensive data analysis report he retrieved after analyzing crime statistics for ten years. He focused on every county across United States before he concluded that, if citizens carry guns they would participate in reduction of crime rates. He asserts that the effects of gun control should first be tested before the laws are fully implemented. This process should compare the number of benefits and victims associated with gun violence. More so, the effects of violent crime rates across United States should allow citizens to carry firearms as criminals are deterred by the likelihood of attacking an armed individual (John 117).
John Lott’s sentiments are echoed by Glenn Beck who asserts that, the founding fathers secured a constitutional right for any American to bear and keep a firearm. Additionally, the authors’ sentiments claimed constitutional civil liberties must not be infringed. He therefore believes gun control laws should not be utilized as gun use depends on the people and the culture. Thus, social conditions across United States should ensure gun owners use the weapons to deter crimes by promoting the culture of support rather than individualism. Both authors therefore trust that, the regulations violate peoples’ constitutional liberties to own a gun. Thus, persons owning a gun for hunting and sport purposes should not be denied the right to use them. This is because hunting and sporting guns should not be considered as assault weapons as they are used for marksmanship. Thus, the thirty-two and seven percent gun owners for hunting and sport shooting purposes respectively should not be denied to use their weapons for respective tasks through gun control laws (Glenn 152).
Keith Boykin believes personal relations should not exceed legislative achievements. He also believes Barrack Obama has achieved more goals than any other sitting president in less than ten years. He believes Barrack Obama has gained experience on how to pass major laws despite GOP obstructing. For example, he was able to pass the Stimulus and Healthcare Bills and uplift the ban on gays the military. All these bills had been pursued by the former president, Bill Clinton for years, but Barrack Obama was to pass then within the first term in office. He also reckons the president’s efforts in reforming healthcare, and signing financial reforms. Keith therefore does not believe Obama’s personal feelings played a role as he implemented gun control laws. His sentiments are seeking to assert that, gun control laws are not only necessary but needed. Critics should acknowledge gun control laws have been implemented by a president keen on ensuring the country achieves social, political, and economic developments (Keith 1).
Based on my research, I tend to agree more on the pro side to regulate gun control because it will ensure safety features are observed and respected. ProCon Organization asserts the gun culture has revolutionary roots based on the assumption that, militia regulations are crucial for citizens to bear arms. Thus, guns were developed to enhance personal, societal, national, and international security. For example, several wars experienced on a global platform have relied on gun usage to win and bring an end to the massive killing of innocent lives. It is however worth noting some people owning and carrying a gun lack registration credentials. Daniel, Jon, Katherine, Emma, Stephen and Shannon assert such people could be of unsound mind hence incompetent to own or use a firearm. More so, a background check could reveal they are terrorists striving to conceal the gun for use in causing the country more socioeconomic and socio-political losses. I therefore believe that, steps ought to be undertaken to ensure gun owners are vetted, investigated, and their backgrounds cleared as asserted by Glenn, Kevin, and Hannah believe. Jennifer and Sam’s sentiments of ensuring gun control laws are implemented effectively and efficiently as soon as possible to reduce fatalities and grievances associated with gun accidents should also be considered. This will ensure firearms are absent when settling a dispute or conflict reducing the likelihood of the incidence becoming violent resulting in injuries and deaths.
Some civilians who are gun owners are neither qualified nor experienced enough to stop a crime from taking place. This is because they lack the skills required to deal with a criminal across the various scenarios involving illegal activities. John’s sentiments should therefore be disregarded as unqualified, inexperienced, incompetent, and violent people are more likely to use their guns hoping that they can prevent a crime from happening. Unfortunately, this can aggravate the situation resulting to more injuries and deaths due to a civilian using a gun. Through gun control, therefore, incidences of mass shootings perpetrated by civilians are bound to decrease. Glenn’s believes that gun control laws should not be utilized as gun use depends on the people and the culture should be applied in ensuring individuals owning and using a gun are trained in law enforcement. They support William’s advice in ensuring gun owners enhance individual responsibilities and abilities in handling a gun during life threatening situations without creating a more dangerous and volatile effect. Gun controls should therefore be fully implemented as they aim at achieving social, economic, and political stability across the country. More so, the laws will ensure military grade weapons and accessories are neither accessible nor affordable to civilians.
Daniel, Webser, Jon Vernick, Katherine Vittes, Emma McGinty, Stephen Teret and Shannon Frattaroli. The Case for Gun Policy Reforms in America. John Hopkins Centre for Gun Policy and Research, 2012. Print.
Glenn, Beck, Kevin Balfe and Hannah Beck. Control: Exposing the Truth about Guns. Simon and Schuster, 2013. Print. 1-189
Jennifer, Bendery and Sam Stein. Why it Took Obama So Long to Act on Gun Control: Congressional Inaction, A Spike in Mass Shootings and Hillary Clinton Drove him to Do Something. The Huffington Post-Politics, 2016. Print.
John, Lott. More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control laws. The University of Chicago Press, 2013. Print. 1-472
Keith, Boykin. Obama Gun Control Proposals: A Meaner (Or Nicer) Obama Won’t Change a Stubborn GOP. The Huffington Post, 2016. Print.
ProCon Organization. Should More Gun Control Laws Be Enacted? 2016. Web March
Stephen, Collinson. Barrack Obama’s Emotional Evolution on Gun Control.CNN Politics, 2016. Print.
United States Government (USG). Rights and Freedoms: US Gun Control Timeline. United States Government Information, 2016. Web March
William, Krouse. Gun Control Legislation. Congressional Research Service, 2012. Print.