Gun Rights And Gun Control: Curtailing Gun Violence Essay Example
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The American public has become very aware of the existence of excessive gun violence in the public consciousness in recent years. There have been a number of incidents leading up to this realization, including the shooting of a congresswoman, a series of deadly school shootings, and the increasing prevalence of guns in everyday violent crimes. With each expression of violence, the discussion between those who support gun control and those who oppose gun control becomes more heated; today, the debate is largely split into two sides. These sides can be defined as the “pro” gun control individuals and the “anti” gun control individuals. Each side has good points, but the debate is so heated and so difficult that by and large, both sides are unwilling to speak calmly and rationally to discuss the issue.
There are, of course, other arguments that this camp makes as well. For instance, they also argue that the American culture has guns integrated deeply into the culture; from a practical standpoint, it is almost impossible to remove guns entirely from the American public, merely because there is no way for the government to go into every American home and remove the guns from each household. This is an excellent point, and it is indeed problematic; if the government were to suddenly ban guns, then there would have to be a “grandfather” clause in the law, because it is impossible to make something retroactively illegal-- that is, the government cannot punish people for doing something when it was not previously illegal (Grapes). They can only punish them if they continue to do it (for example, buy guns) after it was made illegal (Grapes).
However, there are arguments on the other side as well, and some very compelling ones. Although the Second Amendment does grant individuals the right to own guns, it does not guarantee them the right to use them, and the American public has become very violent with their guns in recent years. One of the most important issues for many people is the issue of violence in schools, because it concerns both violence and children. When there are guns available easily for people there is a higher likelihood of gun violence occurring in schools. Some of the worst school shootings in American history could have been avoided had gun control laws been stricter (Grapes). These incidents-- including the Columbine shooting and the Virginia Tech shooting-- have always caused a spike in the number of people who are interested in curbing gun ownership in the United States; it is often these incidents that gun control activists look to in their arguments in favor of curtailing gun ownership (Newman).
During each of these incidents, the perpetrators in question were capable of getting access to huge numbers of firearms and many many rounds of ammunition, and no one ever questioned their motives. The Columbine killers were able to amass huge stockpiles of weapons and ammunition, and were able to carry out an assault on a school that required a SWAT team response. However, none of these individuals just snapped and started killing people-- it took time and planning in each case, and in each case, the feeble gun control system failed the American public because it failed to deter these individuals from the crimes that they were driven to commit (Newman).
Because the gun control debate is so divisive, many elected officials are hesitant to take on the issue as a project during their time in office. Because elected officials have to placate their voters, many are unwilling to take any kind of controversial stand in their political leanings, although there are a few who will. There are many more politicians that are willing to espouse an anti-gun control stance than those who are willing to speak on a pro-gun-control platform, and this is because of the power of the lobbyists who do not support gun control under any circumstances (Grapes).
It is impossible to have a discussion about gun control without having a discussion about the National Rifle Association, or the NRA. The NRA is heavily active in American politics, giving lots of money to politicians each year to further their own interests (Levy). The power of the NRA is well known and well documented, but there is little anyone can do to offset the power of the organization because it is too well-funded and too powerful in the political sphere (Levy).
Despite the power of the NRA, there is always discussion in the United States following an incident where guns are used to inflict massive amounts of violence. For example, when the shootings at Columbine high school happened in 1999, the country became outraged at the prevalence of guns and the ease through which the perpetrators accessed them. Many people questioned the system: how could these children get access to the massive amounts of weaponry that they had gotten? Many people in the American public were calling for a reform to the system, and it was a reform that eventually happened. The Senate passed a law that requires background checks for anyone who purchases a firearm in a place like a gun show, and requires that all new firearms have safety devices like trigger locks (Colt).
However, despite the reforms and the changes, there has been only minimal improvement in the United States insofar as gun control and the slow of gun violence is concerned. Even recently, there have been incidents in which people use guns to inflict massive amounts of violence-- one example of this is the Isla Vista shootings in Santa Monica. Another prime example is the Sandy Hook incident. There is no good solution to the issue of gun violence in the United States, unfortunately-- just people working tirelessly against each other rather than with each other to solve the ultimate problem of gun violence.
Colt, Harry. "Lott nearly passed gun control in post- Columbine panic." Human Events.15 12 2012: n. page. Print.
Grapes, Bryan J. School Violence. San Diego: Greenhaven Pr, 2000. Print.
Henigan, Dennis. "The Right to be Armed: A Constitutional Illusion." Handgun Control Inc.
Levy , Robert A. "Reflections on gun control by a Second Amendment advocate." LegalTimes [Washington] 11 02 2013, n. pag. Web. 12 Feb. 2013.
Liptak, Adam. "Justices Extend Firearm Rights in 5-to-4 Ruling." New York Times. 2010. Web. [http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/29/us/29scotus.html?src=me&_r=0].
Newman, K. S. Rampage, the social roots of school shootings. Basic Books (AZ), 2004. Print.
Scotusblog.com. "Circuit Court bolsters gun rights." 2013. Web. 12 Mar 2013. <http://www.scotusblog.com/2011/05/circuit-court-bolsters-gun-rights/>.
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