Free Essay About Arguments For Gun Control
Type of paper: Essay
Topic: Law, Amendment, Citizenship, Control, Gun Control, Center, Gun Violence, Government
The United States has had a long history of a near-vertical split in popular opinion about the necessity to impose stricter gun control policies. This is reflected in a wide divergence of state level laws on gun control. The context of the Second Amendment further complicates the issue. In this milieu, give the increasing numbers of school shootings using automatic guns, the thesis of this paper is that a modicum of additional controls at federal level are warranted for a safer society.
Gun laws vary widely across states. New York, for instance, requires all private firearm sales to be conducted after a background check. New York bans most assault weapons and large capacity ammunition magazines. New York maintains a statewide database of firearms, licenses and records relating to convicts, mental health and protective orders that would have a bearing on the possession of firearms (Law Center to prevent Gun Violence, n.d.a). In contrast, Texas does not mandate a background check for a firearm transfer, has no requirement for firearm dealers to obtain a state license and does not require gun owners to obtain a license or register their firearms (Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, n.d.b.). Given the widely varying laws and statues in states, basic guidelines at federal level indicating the need for background checks and licensing are required.
The Second Amendment of the United States constitution is widely quoted in support of absence of gun control. The Second Amendment 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” (Legal Information Institute, n.d.). Opponents of gun control, however, miss the context in which the Second Amendment was created. Created in 1791, the Second Amendment was a measure to insure that citizens would be able to thwart invasions. However, the requirement for citizens to bear arms for civil defense does not merit support in modern times, given the strength of the nation to defend itself from internal and external threats.
On the contrary, the danger of getting killed through firearms increases with greater arming of the population (Miller, Azrael and Hemenway, 2007). States with a higher proportion of guns also report a correspondingly higher proportion of suicides (Neyfakh, 2013). Most mass shootings in the United States have been inflicted with legally procured guns (Follman, Aronsen & Pan, 2014). The argument that everyone should be armed to prevent crazed killers from proceeding on mass shootings fails in the face of evidence that to date, armed citizens have foiled only a minimal 1.6% of mass shootings (Follman, 2012).
Opponents of gun control quote the Second Amendment out of context. They also fail to take into account the mounting evidence that links the prevalence of guns in society to suicides and shootings. The absence of uniform laws in states leaves a huge scope for ambiguity in gun laws that could be exploited by antisocial elements. Therefore, a common framework at the federal level is essential, which lays down uniform laws for licensing and background checks for all citizens. Such basic federal laws would help to secure the citizens from the hands of mounting lawlessness.
Follman, M. (2012). More guns, more mass shootings- Coincidence? Retrieved April 5, 2015, from http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/09/mass-shootings-investigation
Follman, M., Aronsen, G., & Pan, D. (2014). A guide to mass shootings in America. Retrieved April 5, 2015, from http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/07/mass-shootings-map
Neyfakh, L. (2013). The gun toll we are ignoring: suicide. Retrieved April 5, 2015, from http://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2013/01/20/the-gun-toll-ignoring-suicide/xeWBHDHEvvagfkRlU3CfZJ/story.html
Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. (n.d.a). New York state law summary. Retrieved April 5, 2015, from http://smartgunlaws.org/new-york-state-law-summary/
Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. (n.d.b). Texas state law summary. Retrieved April 5, 2015, from http://smartgunlaws.org/texas-state-law-summary/
Legal Information Institute. (n.d.). Second Amendment. Retrieved April 5, 2015, from https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/second_amendment
Miller, M., Azrael, D., & Hemenway, D. (2007). State-level homicide victimization rates in the U.S. in relation to survey measures of household firearm ownership, 2001-2003. Social Science and Medicine 64:656-64. Retrieved April 5, 2014, from http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/hicrc/firearms-research/guns-and-death/