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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 preceding quotation states the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution and guarantees the citizens of the United States of America the right to possess firearms. However, with this statement comes power and responsibility. Crime can become an issue and to reduce crime the gun laws in each state should be strictly enforced and only certain people should be given the right to carry firearms. I believe that the safety of the United States and its citizens is in jeopardy because of the loosely interpreted gun laws. We see this everyday as people are killed by guns due to, domestic violence, hate crimes, ect. The worst part is that because of technology kids grow up faster and experience more now than ever before. When kids are influenced by dreadful events they might turn to violence, in this case guns.
Gun laws have been an up and coming controversy that has been brewing for years. The issue of gun laws is both a political and social problem that's has proved to be very controversial. There are a variety of viewpoints on how gun laws should be controlled or established in society. A common disagreement is whether guns should be allowed in the hands of the people as a mode of protection and self defense or whether guns should be prohibited in the interest of public safety. The real question is whether citizen gun ownership improves safety and should be allowed? This debate is fueled by a multitude of events such as black market gun sales, illegal manufacturing, the concept of self defense as a right, the compulsion of use of deadly force in self defense, and hunting.
Of course guns laws have been established since 1791, when the bill of rights was ratified. That being said there are still many different laws that pertain to guns and they each differ state by state with national laws in place as well. An example is the gun control act of 1968 which states the ineligibility of people to be in possession of a firearm. Some ineligible persons are as follows, illegal aliens, users of narcotics and other drugs, convicted felons, non us citizens, mentally handicapped, and Persons subject to a restraining order.
The laws for purchasing a firearm differ from state to state but they must comply with the federal laws that follow. The person must be 18 years of age to purchase a rifle or shotgun, the person must be 21 years of age to purchase a handgun, and with every purchase of a firearm it has to be documented using a federal form. If the sale of a firearm is not government documented than it is punishable by a thousand dollar find and a year in prison. If a person is found with a gun in their possession during a violent or drug related act that person receives a mandatory sentence of twenty years in prison. If the weapon is found to be automatic or suppressed they receive life imprisonment without release.
Some states have more lax laws than others. For example Oklahoma determines their gun law by whether the individual's life was in danger. If the individuals life was indeed to be found in danger than no charges are pressed. The main way states differ in gun laws is their issue policy. The categories that are currently in place among different states are Right to carry where no permit is required; Right to carry where a permit is required; May issue right restricted (means that they may issue a permit, but tight controls are in place); and Shall issue with some rights restricted. Our state, Florida, is a shall issue state. State laws become a big issue when people travel across state lines with their firearms.
In many states guns are prohibited in public schools with the exception of a police officer. That being said some states allow concealed permit holders only to have their gun in their car and only Utah allows concealed permit holders to bring a gun on campus.
The transportation of firearms naturally also has strong laws. You cannot transport a firearm to another person, you cannot transport a firearm if it is not yours, you cannot transport a firearm if you are under age, the gun must be locked and unloaded at all times, and even the ammunition cannot be transported by anyone under the age of 18. In addition to these laws it is also illegal to manufacture or purchase armor piercing ammunition.
The main problem states or politicians have with guns is the ability to cause death. Granted anything can be used as a weapon but guns have a certain attractable power that people use and desire. These easy to use and acquire weapons are what make them so deadly and debated.
Some people have a very difficult time accepting gun laws because they believe it violates our rights. Others believe that it endangers common civilians. The real question is where do we draw the line? For as long as our government has been around and this debate has been brewing the consensus remains the same.
People believe we should have the rights to bear arms but the gun laws should be enforced more and be stricter. However when this majority is heard the government is faced with a problem. How much are the able to control and how much rights do the states have. The federal government has in place its rules so it can act upon the state but also allow the state its freedom to make its own laws. United States citizens are normally happy with our gun laws until an event happens and then a wide spread pandemic of fear occurs. A perfect example of this is columbine.
The columbine massacre provoked debate regarding gun control laws, the availability of firearms in the United States, and gun violence involving youths. Much discussion also centered on the nature of high school clique, subcultures and bullying, as well as the role of violent movies and video games in American society. The shooting also resulted in an increased emphasis on school security and morality.
Another famous massacre that sparked fear was the more recent Virginia tech massacre where the attacks received international media coverage and drew widespread criticism of U.S. laws and culture. It sparked intense debate about gun violence, gun laws, gaps in the U.S. system for treating mental health issues, the perpetrator's state of mind, the responsibility of college administrations, and privacy laws. This massacre was the single largest massacre in American history by one gun man. It led to passage of the first major federal gun control measure in more than 13 years.
These recent events sparked the controversy that we see today but one of the earliest events that brought on fear was the Saint Valentine's Day massacre. This massacre occurred in 1929 in Chicago. Led by Al Capone, it was the only fully automatic weapon massacre and led to the ban of fully automatic weapons.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the majority of murders in the United States are committed with firearms, specifically handguns. So, in fact, reducing the number of firearms or strictly enforcing gun laws would result in fewer murders. In 2006, 68 percent of murders, 42 percent of robbery offenses, and 22 percent of aggravated assaults were committed with firearms (U.S. Department of Justice). These numbers are alarming; especially the number of murders that were caused by firearms and the fact that the number of homicides due to firearms has increased steadily each year since 2002.
Most of the firearms used in shootings or crimes are not licensed or are obtained illegally. The National Institute of Justice performed studies on illegal gun trafficking and how illegal guns are tied to other crimes as well; the results are as follows: many juveniles carry illegal firearms; a higher quantity of people arrested own firearms and are more likely to get shot as opposed to common citizens; and a majority of criminals steal illegal firearms through the gun market. Most of the people that possess illegal firearms are juveniles and young adults (U.S. Department of Justice). In a Washington Post article 50 inmates from the Webster Correctional Institute in Connecticut were surveyed about their experiences with firearms. When asked whether they had ever been shot at, 31 out of 50 inmates answered "Yes," which demonstrates once again the high number of criminals which have been involved in shootings. Forty-one of the fifty inmates said that they had shot a gun before and forty-two of those agreed that licenses and permits are needed (Cooper). Many people say that anyone who has committed a crime and served jail time should never be allowed to purchase a firearm or any weapon for that matter. However, as stated in the study, many of these criminals are obtaining their firearms through illegal markets and dealers. It would be very hard to remove all or even most of the firearms from these criminals and their dealers.
Furthermore, it is no surprise that as the total number of concealed carry permits has risen and the number of illegal firearms has decreased, violent crime rates are exceptionally low (Thune). Concealed carry permit owners have always had to prove that they obey the laws and can carry firearms without the risk of an incident. Because of all of these privately owned firearms, the number of robberies and crimes has plunged. When criminals do not know whether their victims have a weapon or not, they are not as likely to attack.
However, some who oppose this argument may say that allowing everyone to possess firearms will lead to less crime. Most juveniles who have possessed illegal firearms claim that they have them for self-defense, which, many times is not true (U.S. Department of Justice). While at the Congressional meeting to decide whether to override state gun laws, Senator John Thune (Republican) proposed a similar theory. His solution would allow weapon owners with permits to transport their weapons across state lines legally. Thune also suggested that his solution would reduce the rate of crime because criminals would not be able to know whether their victim was armed or not. The Democrats strongly opposed Thune's notion saying, "This amendment is a bridge too far and could endanger the safety of millions of Americans." They also argued that "Each state has carefully crafted its concealed-carry laws in the way that makes the most sense to protect its citizens" and "To gut the ability of local police and sheriffs to determine who should be able to carry a concealed weapon makes no sense." Those against Thune's proposal also believe it could jeopardize the success they have had in decreasing crime rates across the nation. The Democrats' solution is perhaps the best method to lower gun crimes. It has worked thus far to reduce armed robberies and assaults with a deadly weapon (Murray).
On the other hand, the states with loose gun laws had high numbers of fatal shootings of police officers, illegal gun purchasing, and handgun killings, according to a report by 300 U.S. mayors. The report, which traces the paths of guns used in shootings, found that only ten states supplied 57 percent of the guns recovered in crimes in other states in 2007. That information is rather encouraging, though, because it shows only a small number of states producing and exporting these firearms as opposed to a large number of states. John Feinblatt, the criminal justice coordinator for New York City, commented on this data by saying, "It's only a small group of states responsible for interstate gun trafficking; not only do their guns victimize people from out of state, they have higher gun-violence rates themselves.". A majority of law enforcement officials believe that the states with the most illegal gun trafficking are the ones with easy access to guns (Thompson). Because of this ease in obtaining guns in those states, just about any person off of the street can purchase one. Many of those people are not law-abiding citizens. Furthermore, the ten states with the highest gun export rates had about 60 percent more gun homicides and nearly three times as many fatal shootings of police officers as the lowest ten gun exporting states (Thompson). The only city that would not be able to ban firearms altogether is the District of Columbia because it is a special Federal District.
To discontinue the trend towards high murder rates and high levels of shooting crimes around the nation, gun control should be strictly enforced. Most of the murders in the United States are committed with some type of firearm. Most of the criminals receive their firearms illegally through the black market or illegal gun dealers. The states with the loosest gun laws have the highest rate of shootings, crimes, and gun exports around the country; and, those states have the highest crime rates. Guns should not be banned altogether, but restricted to certain people. The safety of the United States of America and its citizens must be protected by enforcing strict gun laws.