Gun Control Essay

2100 words - 9 pages

Gun Control Paper
The controversy over gun control is yet again an intense subject in the United States and is focused more on passion than ever before. A war on guns will be just as ineffective as the war on drugs. Proponents of gun control need to realize that millions of Americans own firearms for target shooting, hunting, sport, and most importantly, self-protection. There are legitimate and responsible uses for firearms. Protection from real criminals necessitates a more comprehensive background check system to screen buyers and family members for criminal records and histories of mental illness. In addition, the regulation of high capacity clips will help limit mass shootings. ...view middle of the document...

A well trained firearm owner has the chance to protect life and property in situations when law enforcement help is delayed, unavailable, or simply not possible.
History shows that a total firearm ban is destined to fail. Take Prohibition as an example; in 1919 the 18th Amendment was ratified banning the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol. Proponents of Prohibition believed that a ban on alcohol would work to alleviate many social issues such as crime and mental illness. An abject failure, Prohibition did little to curb the consumption of alcohol and instead made bootleggers wealthy men and ushered in an expanded era of gang violence and criminal activity - most famously with notorious gangster Al Capone. Another case in point is the failed 'War on Drugs' and one can look specifically to marijuana as an example of a banned substance that enjoys a high level of ubiquity and consumption. Many teenagers and young adults can easily acquire marijuana in society today. As bans have historically failed to produce the desired results, it seems more realistic to seek solutions in the form of legislative changes to existing firearms laws. Strengthening background checks and limiting the capacity of ammunition clips more effectively addresses the problem of gun violence than outright bans. Disarming responsible gun owners through a total ban puts them at the mercy of criminals and such a ban eliminates the legislative controls currently in place in regards to distribution and record keeping. Such a situation makes it possible for criminality to flourish and grow.
As previously described, one area where legitimate reforms can succeed is in regards to background checks performed prior to the legal purchase of a firearm. A gun is a potentially deadly weapon and it is not unreasonable to advocate for more stringent background screening to include criminal records, prior convictions, and the histories of mental illness for the purchaser and the purchaser's family. It is unreasonable to suggest the opposite - that background checks should be less thorough or done away with all together.
Colorado stands as one example of a state seeking to strengthen existing firearm legislation with several bills that address possible loopholes such as private gun sales. A second bill is also being considered that requires in-person training for concealed carry permits instead of being available online. There is also a bill that would involve having the customer pay for their own background check when trying to purchase a gun, and finally a bill to prevent people that have been convicted of domestic violence offenses from purchasing a gun. Amanda Paulson of the Alaska Dispatch states, “According to tracking by the Law Center, state legislatures have been active on both sides of the gun-control issue in 2013. Over 600 bills strengthening gun-control laws have been introduced so far, an increase of 63 percent over the same time last year. Meanwhile, some 540...

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