Gun Control Vs Gun Rights
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Gun Control vs. Gun Rights
Gun controls vs. gun rights have been an issue for many years. With every death used by guns, the debate gets hotter and hotter. Gun control believers want you to believe that if all guns were outlawed then there would be no crime. Gun rights believers want you to understand that it is your constitutional right to own a gun. Unlawful or irresponsible people contribute to the debate between gun control vs. gun rights.
The Second Amendment of the Constitution states, “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” NRA (2005). Gun rights groups, such as the NRA, argue that gun control will infringe on law-abiding citizens constitutional right to own a gun. Guns are not only for sport they are also for personal protection. “The high rate of incarceration and the aging of the criminal population are often cited, but the increase in concealed carry laws, which let law-abiding citizens carry concealed fire-arms, is not often mentioned among the reasons for the drop in violent crimes in this country” as stated by Samuel Francis (2000). As stated by William Krouse (2002) the firearm related deaths decreased an average of 5% per year as shown in the figure 1 below.
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Homicides and Legal Intervention
Although the gun related deaths have gone down over the years. Many people that believe there are still too many deaths, especially among children. The Million Mom March on Washington in 2000 was to show Americans and Congress that mothers wanted more action to be taken to prevent the death (accidental or gang related) of their children. They called for “common-sense gun laws and tougher background checks, longer cooling-off periods before buying a gun and mandatory safety locks on handguns” Time (2000). At the same time as this march there were counterdemonstrations by the “piston-packing mamas” a pro-gun moms movement stating that “We want the government to know that its up to us to protect our own kids” Time (2000).
In America, there have been many gun related crimes such as Columbine and the more recently the Virginia Tech shootings. The Virginia Tech shooting brought to light loopholes in the background check process of purchasing a gun. Cho Seung-hui purchased his handguns in February and March of 2007. He produced the required paper work and his background check showed he had no criminal record so by the laws of Virginia he was allowed to purchase one gun per month. At the time he purchased these weapons mental health status was only a factor if one was committed and since he was seen as an outpatient it was not on record for the background check information. Even though he had been found “mentally ill” and “an imminent danger to self or others” by a district court as stated in The Economist (2007). Since this incident, congress has passed laws that include background checks of mental health when purchasing a gun.
Gun control advocates believe that if there were more laws prohibited the purchase of guns than Cho would have to have chosen another weapon and less people may have died. Gun rights advocates believe that if more people had their concealed carry permit that Cho could have been stopped sooner and less people would have died. This debate is one that both sides tabled for the sakes of the families that lost loved ones and did not purse public debate of there side. This incident in itself will be a reminder for both sides of the issue for many years to come.
The debate has caused some to try to come up with ideas that would be a compromise for both sides. Personalizing guns that can only be operated by the user is one way that is being tested and discussed. This would only allow the registered owner of the gun to be able to fire the gun, preventing accidental shootings of young children that get a hold of the gun. In addition, if the gun were to be stolen or lost it would not fire. This is not a new idea gun personalization has been being perfected since 1880. Smith & Wesson when they made guns that were impossible for children under eight to be able to pull back the hammer and fire the gun. Gun manufactures have provided trigger-locking devices with new guns. A magnetic technology has been tried where the owner wears a magnetic ring that would unlock the trigger. The technology now exists and is being tested with law enforcement officers who are at risk of having their handgun taken. In an article called making guns safer by DeFrancesco, Hargarten, Robinson, Teret (1998) they stated that “This will raise the cost by about 50 percent but the public would spend this if they have the piece of mind that it would prevent an unintentional accident.”
The laws today restrict