Gun Control- A Firing Issue

Gun control is undoubtedly an issue that most Americans have been exposed to.
In 1989, guns killed 11,832 Americans. The National Rifle Association (NRA) members
believe that it is their constitutional right to own guns, stating that guns are not the root of
the crime problem in the United States. Gun control activists like the members of the
Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV) argue that guns are responsible for the majority
of violent crimes that take place. They wish to instill many types of bans and waiting
periods on firearms, making it nearly impossible to obtain a handgun. In fact, in 1993 the
Brady Bill, which mandates a waiting period on buying firearms, was passed. Their
arguments range from protecting children to saying that guns are diseases, but when one
looks at the facts, though, the arguments of gun control advocates seem irrelevant and it
becomes clear that guns should not be controlled.
Gun ownership by private citizens is protected under the 2nd Amendment. It
states that 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. The forefathers of
our country meant for the people to own and use firearms, and any law or control on that
right would be unconstitutional. Gun control activists essentially believe the Second
Amendment guarantees only to its militia the right of arms, but the Gun control
proponents have yet to identify even a single quote from one of the founders to support
their claim (Silver 78). The 2nd Amendment supports gun owners, and hard
evidence that it does otherwise is nonexistent.
Gun control advocates have been lobbying for 7 years for the passage of the Brady
Bill, which makes a waiting period mandatory for all national firearm sales. Ironically,
the passage of this bill in 1993 has done nothing to reduce crime; in fact violence has
risen still since the passage of the bill. This bill, which was most definitely oversold by
its supporters, has become the prime distinction in most Americans minds with gun
control. A waiting period did not help the present situation at all, and similar measures
are almost certainly going to assume the same fate.

Private ownership of firearms is not a public health hazard. Gun control activists
argue otherwise, but to put guns in the same category as influenza and pneumonia is
absurd. The Advocates state that guns are a public health issue and almost deadlier than
automobiles to the public. The fact is that more Americans die yearly from pneumonia
and influenza than in all homicides and suicides, even non-gun related, combined. Many
people listen to doctors, who reason that guns are pathogens. The definition of a
pathogen is an object that causes disease when introduced to a pathogen-free
environment. There are 200 million privately owned guns in America, and only an utterly
tiny fraction of them are used in crimes. According to the definition, guns are not
pathogens and not a public health hazard.

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The presence of a gun, specifically a handgun, is beneficial to a civilian in the event of a
robbery or intrusion, because the victim would be able to use the gun for defense. The
gun control activists are right- there is too much crime in the United States. Instead of
attempting to reduce the amount of firearms in circulation, this energy and money should
be diverted into anti-crime applications. Many law-abiding citizens own handguns and
other firearms that they use for their own protection, probably because the amount of
crime present troubles them and drives them to purchase a gun for self-defense. As
David E. Newton shows, between the years of 1937 and 1963, gun ownership in the
United States increased by 250 percent. In that same period, the number of homicides
decreased by 35. 7 percent (Newton 40). Guns are clearly not the problem.
The problem with most gun control measures is that gun violence is not as related
to the number of guns as it is to whom owns them. As an anti gun control slogan states,
if guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns (Bernards 54). This is true,
stating that if the circulation of firearms was limited to only officials, meaning that
private citizens would not have guns, then only criminals would have firearms (illegally
of course) and the public could not defend themselves. Most of the criminals who
commit violent crimes with guns did not obtain their guns legally. Toughening up gun
control laws is not going to reduce crime.
Gun control activists say that waiting periods will reduce the number of criminals
who obtain firearms, but the NRA says that waiting periods are ineffective. They argue
that if a criminals mind were set on committing a crime, a waiting period would
merely become another obstacle. Even if a background check were to take place during
the waiting period, and the criminal was denied the sale of a gun, a weapon could easily
be obtained elsewhere: stolen, bought illegally, or another weapon could be used. The
point is that a criminal with the premeditation to act out a crime is going to do so,
whether a waiting period is present or not.
Guns stored at home are not great dangers to innocent people like children,
despite what the public thinks. The slogan of the National Rifle Association says it the
best, guns dont kill, people do (NRA). Children who are properly taught
gun-safety measures are less likely to be involved in gun-related accidents or with crime.
If an adult in the household has access to a firearm, such a childs life could actually
be saved if an intrusion were to take place. As David B. Kopel states, Gun control
Advocates are hammering at the issue of children and guns as never before in the hope
that it will be easier to enact gun controls aimed at adults in an atmosphere of panic about
children (Kopel 38). Mr. Kopel is Director of the Second Amendment Project at the
Independence Institute. Children are not in any danger that cannot be prevented with the
correct educative measures.

Assault weapons, if banned, will not help to reduce gun violence.
Despite the scary-looking, military-style features, the assault weapons are no
more lethal than hundreds of legal firearms. First of all, the definition of an assault
weapon is not distinct and if they were to be nationally banned no one would know
what an assault weapon is and what a regular firearm is. Giving the
name assault weapon is similar to giving red vehicles with speedometers that go
beyond one hundred miles per hour the name death cars because these are said
to be the favored vehicles of drunk and reckless drivers. Assault weapons are
or were surprisingly attributed to less than one quarter of one percent of violent crimes in
New Jersey. A police officer has a better chance of encountering an escaped tiger from
the local zoo than confronting an assault weapon.
Gun control should not take place. The constitution prohibits it, common sense
when it comes to protection invalidates it, many statistics prove it, and any reasonable
person when confronted with the facts will disagree with it. Guns are not health hazards,
nor dangers to children, nor preventable with hassling bills and restrictions. The many
differences in types of guns do not give reason to ban these guns called Assault
Weapons. The second amendment should end the argument to the whole gun
control debate, and maybe in a few years another analysis of it will. Or maybe gun control
activists, instead of trying to prevent the ownership of guns, which deter crime, should
focus their energy and effort into a direction to the root of the crime problem- the
criminals.
Works Cited
Bernards, Neal. Gun Control. San Diego: Lucent Books, Inc, 1991.
Kopel, David B. Gun Play. Reason Magazine. Los Angeles: Reason Inc,
1993.
Newton, David E. Gun Control: An Issue for the Nineties. Hillside: Enslow Publishers,
1992.
Roleff, Tamara L. Gun Control, Opposing Viewpoints. San Diego: Greenhaven Press,
1997.

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