The Consequencesof GunsHandguns and other firearms have a longtradition in American civilization. The right to bear arms is an Americanright featured in the second Amendment of the Constitution. In the 18thcentury, when the constitution was written, times were different; therewas a need for armed citizens to insure the safety of the society as awhole. Contemporarily the police department preserves the safety of societyand the need for armed citizens is out of date. The founding fathers ofthe Constitution could presumably never imagine the horrendous outcomeof their actions. Every year too many lives are claimed as the result ofthe American government’s inability to fully face up to effects of theissue.
Compared to other western countries that have considerably strictergun control laws America is still viewed as “The Wild-Wild West”. The growing gun related death toll in theU. S. has to come to a turning point. Stripping away the constitutionalright to bear arms might have the effect that only criminals will haveaccess to guns.
It is important to understand that in a society where bothcriminals and law abiding citizens have access to guns the likeliness ofan innocent person getting shot, when both parties are waving guns, isprobably greater than if only criminals have guns. A ban on firearms mightnot be appealing as a short-term solution but it is important that peopledon’t limit their thinking to their generation and not think about thesafety of their children, grandchildren and the society people are creatingtoday for them to live in. The main obstacle in removing firearmsfrom citizens in the U. S.
is the second Amendment of the Constitution. It reads: “A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security ofa free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not beinfringed. ” The second Amendment can be interpreted as every citizen rightto bear arms. However the key word is “Militia”, meaning soldiers or defendersof the State.
In the late 18th century, when the Constitution was written,times were very different than those of contemporary America. People werescared of possible invasions from Native Americans, the English, and othernationalities. By “a well regulated Militia. . . ” the founding fathers probablymeant that citizens could have a muscot standing in the corner just incase anything would happen.
Note that the writers of the Constitution added,”a well regulated. . . ” in front of the word Militia.
That would most likelyreveal a controversy in writing this Amendment, some of the founding fathersmight have foreseen the possibility of a misinterpretation of this Amendment. In the U. S. there are approximately 200million privately owned guns, which is statistically close to a gun perperson and places more than one gun per home on average (O’Donnell 771).
In other words, guns are all around. This effects, without a doubt, thewhole society structure and the citizens that live within its boundaries. The children that live within a gun infestedsociety are going to suffer the consequences. In fact, kids between theages 16 and 19 have the highest handgun victimization rate among all agegroups (O’Donnel 771). It’s not hard to understand why, since there areon average more than one gun per household, kids are likely to find firearmand in some cases even use it. In March 1998 two children, 11 and 13 yearsof age gunned down a total of 13 people in a school in Jonesboro, Arkansas.
Of the 13, nine survived and five people, classmates and teacher, diedas a result of the shooting (Liesen, Owens). One of the boys had takentwo rifles from his grandfather. They positioned themselves about a 100yards from the schoolyard and when the bell for recession sounded and peoplestarted to exit the school building the two boys opened fire. This is ahorrendous event that proves that if guns are present within a householdor within a family, odds are that kids will know about where they are keptand perhaps even be curious enough to actually use them. In October, 1997 a 16 year old boy shotand killed his girlfriend and her best friend while they were exiting aMississippi school leaving six others wounded (Liesen, Owens).
The spontaneityof young children and guns are a lethal combination as illustrated in thesetwo examples. In a study made across high schools inSeattle, 47% of males and 22% of females reported that they had easy accessto handguns and 11. 4% were gun-owning males (O’Donnel 772). The accessto guns might prove to be a deadly for both innocent bystanders and theholder of the gun.
Children should not be able to own guns. One of theprerequisites for owning a gun should be that the person is responsibleenough to own a firearm. Since there are no guarantees for that, guns shouldonly be issued in extensively controlled forms otherwise the governmentjeopardizes the safety of the people they’ve sworn to protect. In ages 10-14 72%, and in the ages 15-19,85% of all homicides are committed with firearms. In addition to that 60% of all suicides among youths is committed with a handgun. The total firearmdeath rate concerning white males in their teens now exceed natural causes(O’Donnell 771).
These are alarming statistics show the brutal realityof firearms in the U. S. A study made by the American PsychologicalAssociation, Commission on Violence and Youth showed, in a study made inSeattle in 1993, that 6% of males in the 11th grade had at least once broughta handgun to school (O’Donnel 772). More than 1 in 20 had brought a handgunto school, in other words it was quite a common practice among youths. How does that effect the rest of us? Parents might just get the news frompolice officers that their son or daughter had become victim to a straybullet while attending history class.
The lawmakers in the United States areaddressing the problem by putting up metal detectors in schools. In thecase of metal detectors, officials have realized that preventing the possessionof firearms inside the boundary of the school is necessary for the safetyof the students and teachers. This is a temporary solution to ever-growingproblem. The risk of a student or a teacher getting shot inside the schoolproperty has probably been reduced, which is positive. But the fact remainsthat outside of the school property the risk of being a victimized is growingevery year. In order for these types of events notto occur legislators and other professionals are emphasizing precautionaryactions of the gun owners and most of the time a ban on guns isn’t mentioned.
“Why I should be denied the same right my father and grandfather had?”(Skelton). Because times have changed, guns are not solely created andused for hunting anymore, and with today’s technology, in the form of automaticguns and high impact ammunition, guns have become deadlier, which leavesa greater responsibility on the owners. Are people ready for that responsibility?A quite common phrase is: “Guns don’t killpeople, it is the people that pull the trigger. ” Yes, people do the killing,but does that justify the government providing the citizens with the instrumentsof death. In theory, if all people were to act totallyresponsibly this dilemma wouldn’t exist. The fact of the matter is thata lot of killings occur when a person’s judgment is clouded by means ofdrugs or emotions.
In these conditions not many people act responsibly,which is a condition for allowing people the right to arm themselves. Oneof the reasons why governments exist is to protect us from ourselves intimes of rage, greed, anger and other emotions for the maintaining equalityin society. The government is not protecting the rights of the individualwhen they are allowing people to own firearms in knowing the consequentialprice of death and injury that is paid by so many year after year. International incidents such as the schoolmassacre in Dunblane, Great Britain or the mass shooting in Tasmania, Australiatriggered immediate effects in strengthening further the very strict existinggun control laws in their respective countries (“America and Guns” 16). Governments in other western countries usually make adjustments to theirgun laws in direct relationship to violent incidents. Massacres like thesedon’t seem to spark the same enthusiasm among politicians to change anygun control laws significantly.
The fact is that in 1996 two people inNew Zealand, 15 in Japan, 30 in Britain, 106 in Canada, 211 in Germanyand 9,390 in the U. S. A. were murdered with handguns. There are about 500,000incidents, from assault to murder, that involve firearms every year andthey results in 35,000 deaths, including suicides and accidents, in theU. S.
every year (“America and Guns” 16). Compared with other countriesthe statistics are alarming. It seems as the Americans wants to keep theirguns no matter what the price. The National Rifle Association is the leadingpro-gun organization in the United States. On their Internet site theydescribe many aspects of their organization.
An excerpt from the page describingthe members of their organization’s common interest reads:What members share with every other memberis an appreciation of the shooting sports, belief in our constitutionalright to keep and bear arms and, most of all, a commitment to safety, responsibilityand freedom. (NRA)Whether or not the NRA are one of the contributingfactors or not to the incredibly high firearm death statistics in the U. S. ,the NRA has very much political power and will do all they can to upholdthe second Amendment.
The part about the gun organization having a pledgeto “safety, responsibility and freedom” doesn’t make sense. In a surveyconducted by John Hopkins Center for Gun and Policy Research and the Universityof Chicago revealed that most American citizens would like to see gunsmore strictly regulated. That means that not only do other internationalgovernments see a direct relationship between guns and death but even theAmerican people. In 1991, one year’s misuse of guns claimedas many lives as the Korean War. One and a half year’s total death tollfrom guns equaled the number of dead in Vietnam.
Nine years of deaths dueto misuses of firearms equals the entire death toll for World War II (O’Donnel771). Do people in the U. S. really understand how many lives that are beingwasted every year because of the misuse of firearms?By 1998 legislation in 31 states, 9 since1995 has passed laws issuing concealed weapons licenses to citizens (“Americaand Guns” 18).
Some experts claim that letting people obtain licenses forcarrying a gun while walking around in the streets is the cheapest wayin lowering the horrendous statistics. Other experts claim that armingpeople is never a good answer to this problem because it adds to the riskof people getting shot in anger. Actually it doesn’t really matter whatthe experts derive out of the situation; the scariest detail is that legislatorsin these states have come to the conclusion that the most effective wayto make America safer is to carry guns in the streets. A study of the murder rate in WashingtonD.
C. showed that within three years of the passage of a law prohibitingthe sale of handguns in the city the murder rate dropped by 25% (Kruschke22). The state of South Carolina and the city of Boston experienced similarresults when stricter gun control laws were recently enforced. In Bostonthe homicide rate dropped by 39% and in South Carolina the murder ratedropped by 28% (Kruschke 23). These are just some example of cities andstates that have realized that strict gun control is one way of decreasinghigh murder rates.
According to a survey conducted by theJohns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research revealed that the majorityof Americans would like to see guns more tightly regulated (“Fire Control”). Let’s face it, a shooting is national news in most western countries butin the U. S. it is merely an every day occurrence that often doesn’t evenget national coverage by the media. The American public is feeling thehorrendous effects of violence that the second Amendment brings and manyrealize that something has to be done to decrease the annual death tolldue to guns.
The Gun Control Act of 1968 was attemptby the government to restrict the sale of guns by making sellers of gunslicensed and prohibited the sale of guns or ammunition to people that areconvicted felons, minors, drug users, illegal aliens or people who havebeen discharged from the military. This Act was passed during the wakeof the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King and Senator Robert Kennedy. It was huge reaction to a growing usage of handguns in the U. S. The legislatorsfigured out that the liberty of bearing arms wasn’t for everyone.
Gun ControlAct of 1968 has very likely contributed to a lowering the number of deathseach year than the alternative of not having laws that regulate the possessionand distribution of guns. Since then things haven’t become better and 30years of people shooting each other legislators are bound to realize thatthe personal liberty of bearing arms doesn’t need to be modified but tobe cancelled once and for all. One common argument in the debate aboutgun control is that if guns are banned then cars will also have to be bannedbecause cars are also responsible for many deaths each year. The truthis that the usage for cars and guns are totally.
The purpose of cars istransportation and guns to launch a bullet into a target. Yes, many accidentsoccur with cars every year that claims the lives of many innocent peoplebut it is very seldom that people are being hurt intentionally by driversof cars or other vehicles. Guns nevertheless are very often used as anintentional device for killing or harming another individual. It is importantto focus on the easiness of pointing a gun in a direction and pulling thetrigger, it doesn’t take very long time and it might just claim the livesof one or more persons.
There is not much time for second thoughts andnot much time for people to react. If someone were to do intentionallymurder one or more people with a car the event would take longer time,which leaves more time for the person behind the wheel to think over hisor her decision. Not to mention the person or persons intended of beingmurdered have a lot more time to react to a speeding car than a bullet. There are a lot of things that can be used to murder someone such as: akitchen knife, a baseball bat, a screwdriver, a sharp pencil etc. The mainreason for not banning these items is that they are not easy instrumentsto inflict harm with and their purpose is not to hurt people. Guns shouldbe banned because it doesn’t take much out of a person to point it andpull the trigger.
The key word in this argument is easiness; the easinessto end peoples lives and that’s why guns are lethal instrument that ultimatelyshould be banned.