The Second Amendment to the United States 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." The Founding Fathers included this in our Bill of Rights because they feared the Federal Government might coerce the population if the people did not have the means to defend themselves as a nation and as individuals. Many years later, we began placing restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms. The first restrictions concerned the manner in which citizens could carry arms. In 1850, the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled that the foundation did not grant the right to carry a concealed weapon although earlier court cases had ruled that the constitution did protect the right to carry concealed weapons. Shortly before the Civil War, some southern States passed legislation denying slaves and freed blacks the right to possess firearms.
America has long had the questionable characteristic of being the world's most violent industrial country. Violent crime skyrocketed in the U.S. beginning in the late 1960s, a development that continued into the early 1990s. It is no wonder that crime has constantly been one of the public's chief concerns over the past thirty years.
However ever since the mid-1990s, there has been a sharp drop in violent crime in most parts of the country. The FBI's 2000 survey of crimes reported to the police demonstrated the murder rate at its lowest level since 1967. The 2001 National Crime Victimization Survey, intended to pick up both reported and unreported crime, found the lowest overall crime rate since the survey began in 1973. Criminal justice experts ascribe the change to a drop in cocaine use; the reality that more criminals are in prison serving longer sentences. (the Daily Texan)
Causes of Gun Control Problem
After the killings at Denver's Columbine High School in April 1999, many considered the scar left on the American consciousness would lead to change. A poll at the time showed that two-thirds of Americans supported greater gun control measures.
In February, with the 2000 presidential campaign in full swing, the killing of a six-year-old Michigan schoolgirl by one of her classmates pushed the matter into the heart of the election campaign. Though, experience has revealed that even the most liberal firearms legislation can turn out to be held up in arguments over the constitutional right to bear arms, or plainly crumples under the political force of the pro-gun lobby, led by the National Rifle Association.
Politically, gun control is one of the few problem on which Republicans and Democrats can assert genuine differences. The majority Democrats support tighter gun laws at the same time as the majority of Republicans are opposed to any new legislation, saying the dilemma lies in the negligent enforcement of prevalent laws. Even so, as a consequence of Columbine more than 15 state legislatures passed significant gun control bills or dropped NRA-supported bills. These changes indicate a noteworthy shift in public opinion. Conversely, the picture at federal level remains mostly unaffected.
Barry Bruce-Briggs stated a generation back that public argument about weapons control regulation disintegrates into the venting of raw aggression between diverse factions more often than it develops into commendable public policy research. (Briggs 37) What gets lost in the competition is a sense of those points that are in fact in the argument and those that are not. Almost every gun control supporter in this country is, like the typical gun owner, (Wright 107) a peaceful, cultured member of the middle class who wants to put a stop to the senseless aggression that has surrounded the streets of American cities.
Nevertheless, the sincerity of gun controllers do differ from those of gun owners in several important ways. First, they make altered approximations about the worth of firearms for protective and prevention reasons. Second, they frequently diverge in how they assess the principles of using violence against violence. Third, they are disposed to make very different deductions about how much potential for vice to attribute to the government of the United States. Few if any of those who are unreceptive to the society of an armed civilian public believe the likelihood that our government, with its Constitution, could ever deteriorate into the sort of callous dictatorial instrument that has, at one time or another, caused problems to most of the peoples of the Old and Third Worlds. The question is whether to tag this approach tranquility or indifference. Either way it is, the reality remains that from time to time, genocides and other extreme forms of tyranny do take place, even in the midst of high civilization.
An obsession with stripping civilians of military weaponry, together with some entirely cosmetic features of military arms, is one of the leading ideological forms in the American gun control movement. The impression is that defensive firearm possession by laymen is alienating and unsafe, and consequently must be banned as part of what has been called the "civilizing process."
Effects of Gun Control
1) While the influence of tightening gun control on the general distinctiveness of residual gun owners and on the black market cannot be seriously disputed, likely influences on armed crime are contentious. In any case, after the decrease in the number of legally held guns it would emerge that there is not a similar decrease in armed crime. This is to be anticipated, as the guns turned in are generally not the ones occupied in crime, and the people who hand in weapons are usually the least likely to commit a crime. (Scherer 1)
But even enthusiastic supporters of gun ban are known to admit that those procedures are not intended at falling armed crime there is tough resistance against the notion, that in contrast gun control may in fact increase criminal misuse of guns. Even if crime statistics might show an increase in armed crimes following a strengthening of gun laws, there is always the dispute that a statistical correlation does not establish a causal relationship.
2) the media has describe that according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics
Armed robbery rates in New South Wales rose from 48,66 per 100-000 people in 1996- before the new gun laws - to 79,34 in the following year. The number of persons robbed at gunpoint in NSW rose from 827 in 1996 to 1-252 in 1997. (Vass)
When the NRA of America candidly asserted that the Australian disarmament scheme a failure as it was followed by a serious rise in crime, there was straight away strong opposition by Australian government officials. They instead declared a decrease in armed crimes following the national gun ban, accusing the NRA of totally twisting the facts and using incorrect statistics. Nevertheless, a new media release of the Australian Bureau of Statistics on recorded crime in 1999 states the number of attempted murders involving a firearm increased to a seven-year high of 32 per cent from 1993. (Media Release)
3) Furthermore it should be noted, that a growing crime situation following the disarmament of the non-criminal part of the populace will generate a new demand for defensive guns, which now can only be satisfied on the black market, hence giving the illegal trade in arms an incentive from a quite unexpected direction
4) Ever stricter gun control finally imply civil rights and constitutional issues also. It then soon becomes a subject of wider apprehension. As it is known that the registration, let alone the submitting of guns are procedures that are ineffective on a voluntary basis, the state feels warranted in ratifying ever more severe restrictions that not only encroach in the private subject of lawful gun owners but are of mounting concern to the plain ordinary citizens.
5) a lawful search usually involves a court order. Regular police controls of gun owners easily, are likely to become meaningless conflict of the private sphere by developing an disturbing character. taking away of guns and ammunition without reimbursement has been anticipated repeatedly self defence, after all still a basic right in any developed country (although already in a process of heavy erosion. (Olson et al. 43, 434)
President Clinton recently planned a national licensing system for firearm owners. Under the proposal, states would hand out a license only if an applicant has:
passed a federal background check; and b) shown proof of having completed a certified safety course or exam.
1.Federal firearm laws should be made reliable on the inside by eliminating arbitrary legal division between old vs. new guns, acquisition from licensed vs. unlicensed sellers, and domestic vs. imported weapons:
The minimum age for both procurement and ownership of handguns should be 21, whether or not the seller is a licensed seller.
Background assessment should be obligatory in all gun sales, whether or not the vendor is a licensed dealer.
Pre-1986 machine guns and pre-1994 assault weapons should be prohibited from private acquisitions.