Examining Gun Society And School Murders Criminology Essay

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On April 16th 2007, America faced one of the most tragic mass school murders in history; Seung-hui Cho killed thirty two innocent students at the Virginia polytechnic institute and state university in Blacksburg, Virginia. Cho was diagnosed with severe anxiety disorder in middle school, as well as depression which assumingly led to this incident .Cho's Constitution rights allowed him to purchase two types of handguns and ammunition online and in person. The United States constitution give people the right to keep and bear arms to protect their homes and loved ones, however this right is being misused to result in an incredible increase of gun violence in the US. There is no absolute way to completely control the sale of firearms in the United States, but tat the same time we can control the procedure of obtaining a firearm.

Based on the article of "Gun Violence" by Kenneth Jost, the author said that shooting massacre that occurred at the Virginia tech has brought many ideas and argument to the people of the US (Kenneth Jost 1). An argument about how could the people could have prevented such a horrible act, and the debate of maybe toughing the process of buying a gun especially to mentally ill citizens. Cho suffered all his life from mental illiness, and depression based on stories from his family members and school mates. Cho also was advised twice verbally by Virginia tech police reference to stalking female students on campus dormitory (Jost 2). An obvious behavior of someone who is definitely should not own any type of harmful weapons. Based on pictures and videos that Cho sent to the local media prior to the incident, it proves that Cho has planned this operation for quiet sometime. Also credit card statement that were researched by the FBI showed many purchases done online; including two different gun stores and the famous website "eBay" was also used to purchase ammunition (Jost 3).

Also from the article, "Gun Rights Debate", by Kenneth Jost stats that the state of Virginia requires four steps in order to purchase a gun. The first step is to be of a legal age to purchase the gun (21 or older), and second to show proof of state residency in the state that the gun is being purchased in, also a ten questioner that is taken by the buyer to test his knowledge of how to operate a handgun safely, and finally the buyer has to pass a criminal background that clearly has no concern if the buyer has any history of mental illness similar to Cho's case. Also The state of Virginia gives a lengthy time period of thirty days to obtain the handgun after all four step have met, while in California its is only ten days.

Apparently after the Virginia tech shooting, the nation has opened its eyes to focus on how to control gun violence in the United States (Gun Rights Debate, Jost 1). Clearly numbers claim annually of 82 deaths a day reference to homicides murders that involved a gun in any way (Jost 1).

Also Jost states that the NRA (National Riffle Association) has also argued over the years to support easing the weapon laws with the argument of "allowing more people to carry weapons will deter gun crimes and enable potential victims to protect themselves" (Jost 1). Cho's purchases was nothing but a natural transaction between a gun dealer to normal citizen, based on the "estimate of 2 million handguns being sold in the United states each year" (Jost 2) there was no reason to find any suspicion to any dealer for Cho's mental disturbance behavior between his friends and family, or what he was going to use the fire arms for.

In addition, gun advocates and member of the NRA fight everyday for their constitution right of bearing arms, for different reason such as pleasure or home, and self defense. The argument "Gun Violence" is, to decrease gun violence in the United States the government must enforce "tougher penalties against criminals who use guns in criminal acts instead of more restrictions on gun owners" (Jost 4).

For people who desire the control of firearms dispute that restraining the right to use of firearms will decrease gun-related crimes and accidental shootings. Also firearms in general are the main worry. And for those who oppose of the subjects believe the problem with gun-related violence rests with the person holding the gun. As a slogan for the "National Rifle Association, "Guns Don't Kill People -- People do." (Gun violence Jost 3). Gun lovers say that if firearms were made hard to find, or even banned altogether, criminals still would be able to get them by theft or through the black market. But law-abiding citizens would be deprived of an effective means of self-protection against armed criminals.

The government has many restrictions of the purchase and ownership of firearms in order to reduce violent behavior caused by the use of the firearms. The issue of gun control has initiated many arguments for those who are Pro-Gun Control feel that if guns are eliminated, crime and violence will deteriorate. However, the best case scenario in reality, if guns were taken away, more violence would occur and it would leave potential victims defenseless against criminals who have ways of obtaining weapons illegally.

In addition Richard L. Worsnop in the article of "Gun Control" argues that after the death of Martin Luther King, Congress imposed the Act of 1968, which increases the processes of buying a firearm and controlled the sales to out of state residents. It also excluded the sale of firearms via mail orders which disqualified many convicted felons and citizens with mental illness that is actually reported. The summary of the Act was Gun Control banned the importation of guns that are not "particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes." (Richard Worsnop 4). Then later on over the years, congress passed the Act of 1984, "which set a mandatory, minimum five-year prison sentence for those who carry or use a handgun with armor-piercing bullets while committing a violent crime" (Worsnop 4).

Moreover, congress also signed another important bill, The Brady Bill Act was introduced during the Clinton days, were it started initially to require purchasers to wait up to five days for a background check to purchase a firearm. The bill also impose that if the background check was returned before the five days had went by, then the sale could occur at that time, and if the check had not been completed in five days, then the sale was not allowed to occur. But in some states if a buyer obtained proof of a previous background check, he or she could bypass the wait. The Act also applied only to sale or transfer from a dealer licensed to sell guns by the Treasury Department to a private individual (Worsnop 3). Also in detail if one private citizen wanted to sell a firearm as a private sale the Act does not cover it based on government jurisdictions.

Today The Bradley Act has changed from a five day waiting period for handgun sales to be replaced by a computerized criminal background check prior to any firearm sale (Worsnop 5). Almost thirty years after the Bradley Act, there was a sudden increase of important incidents that brought attention to the public, which sounded to be a start of teen rampage: fatal shootings at public schools by teenage and even younger boys. In the deadliest of those incidents, two students at Columbine High School, Littleton, killed 12 of their schoolmates and wounded 23 others on April 20, 1999, before committing suicide (Worsnop 7). Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were always bullied and had many classmates harass them, which resulted in planning a killing spree that wound end this problem. The teenage used two sawed-off shotguns, a rifle and a semiautomatic handgun in a rampage that lasted more than four hours before the shooting stopped, after the local authorities entered the school and found the bodies of Harris and Klebold and their victims (Worsnop 7).

Back to the Virginia tech incident, interestingly enough Cho's actions in the Virginia Tech massacre was a mixture of styles and combined ideas from the shooting of the University of Texas and Columbine shootings. Besides from being angry at the world or his classmates, Cho specifically referred to Harris and Klebold as "martyrs" in the disturbing videotape he mailed to NBC News between the dormitory shootings and the classroom killing spree two hours later. Just like the columbine kids, Cho apparently plotted the shootings over a long period of time, at least since the purchase of his first weapon two months earlier and the wait time of another handgun of thirty days. At Norris Hall, Cho copied "Whitman" (university of Texas shooting) by sealing the building from the inside using chains and padlocks. Also like Whitman, but unlike the columbine kids, Cho appears to have fired randomly at his classmates (Gun violence Jost 3).

Gun control supporters have the harder case to prove, since it's impossible to count the firearms-related crimes that did not occur because a firearm wasn't available. Still, experience with the Brady law and similar state laws is cited to back the claim that guns can be kept out of criminals' hands (Jost 4). The Brady law's five-day waiting period allows local police to check the prospective buyer's background. During March, the first month Brady was in effect, 375,853 inquiries about gun purchasers were made to the FBI's computerized criminal information network. Of those, 23,610 a little over 6 percent were identified as possible felons (Gun Control Jost 4).

Meanwhile, the NRA and other anti-gun-control groups are pursuing their own agendas. The NRA, for example, is trying to blunt the impact of the Brady law at the state level. In a suit supported by the NRA, U.S. District Judge Charles Lovell of Helena, Mont., ruled May 17 that local law enforcement officers cannot be required to perform the background checks on prospective gun buyers called for under the statute (Guns Right Debate Jost 5). "The Congress does not have the power to force local law enforcement, particularly the local sheriff, to carry out the federal government's mandates," Lovell declared. He cited the 10th Amendment, which circumscribes federal authority over state interests.

Congress responded to these concerns with the Gun Control Act of 1968, which extended licensing requirements to all firearms dealers and prohibited handgun sales to out-of-state residents. It also banned the mail-order sale of guns and added most convicted felons, people with certain mental illnesses and illegal-drug users to the list of people to whom dealers were prohibited from selling firearms. Finally, the Gun Control Act banned the importation of guns that are not "particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes." (Jost 6)

In Conclusion, in the constitution of the United States of America, it stated in the second amendment, right to bear arms. Which was result of bad experience of the British soldiers that used to invade Americans homes and there was no protection. Today, many American believe in a tougher home security system, having an alarm and flashlights just isn't enough for some citizens. Many Americans have the right and freedom of owning a firearm that comes with great responsibility, and if it's mishandled or was giving to the wrong hands, it may cause some damage to other as gun incident keep occurring everyday and firearm death keeps the count. The United States gun problem was always agreed on that it could never be solved as a problem by just banning all guns. And if it does happen there still will be gun violence, only everything will be stolen and it's going to be harder to find the person that committed the crime. Also the idea of banning guns brings the issue of criminal's access to guns and straight citizen have no right to defend themselves. The truth and summary of the essay is that the citizens and government just need to impose tougher punishment for those that use firearms as harmful weapon instead of using it as a protection tool, or for a pure sport use.

Work Cited

Jost, Kenneth. "Gun Violence." CQ Researcher 17.20 (2007): 457-480. CQ Researcher Online. CQ Press. Pfaul Library, San Bernardino, CA. 1 June 2009 <http://library.cqpress.com.libproxy.lib.csusb.edu/cqresearcher/cqresrre2007052500>.

Worsnop, Richard L. "Gun Control." CQ Researcher 4.22 (1994): 505-528. CQ Researcher Online. CQ Press. Pfaul Library, San Bernardino, CA. 1 June 2009 <http://library.cqpress.com.libproxy.lib.csusb.edu/cqresearcher/cqresrre1994061000>.

Jost, Kenneth. "Gun Control Standoff." CQ Researcher 7.47 (1997): 1105-1128. CQ Researcher Online. CQ Press. Pfaul Library, San Bernardino, CA. 1 June 2009 <http://library.cqpress.com.libproxy.lib.csusb.edu/cqresearcher/cqresrre1997121900>.

Jost, Kenneth. "Gun Rights Debates." CQ Researcher 18.38 (2008): 889-912. CQ Researcher Online. CQ Press. Pfaul Library, San Bernardino, CA. 1 June 2009 <http://library.cqpress.com.libproxy.lib.csusb.edu/cqresearcher/cqresrre2008103100>.

Triplett, William. "Gang Crisis." CQ Researcher 14.18 (2004): 421-444. CQ Researcher Online. CQ Press. Pfaul Library, San Bernardino, CA .1 June 2009 <http://library.cqpress.com.libproxy.lib.csusb.edu/cqresearcher/cqresrre2004051400>.