Gun Control & Push for Gun Control Thesis

Excerpt from Thesis :



The research paper is on gun control and the push for gun control. To respond to the topic the paper first lays down in the first paragraph basic concepts of the gun control ideals and the pro-gun movement. The introduction explores the basic tenets and motivations of the pro-gun and gun control activists in America. The paper uses the motivation and opposition of both sides to create a paper on the gun control. The goal of the research is identified in the first paragraph, as the analysis of the gun control issue analyzing both side points-of-views. The goal is to create an understanding of the long-standing complexity involving the issue, and the lack of consensus over the decades. The paper is then structured into different paragraphs dealing with the history of gun control especially the legal history with the American Bar Association and the House of Delegate. It then explores how the gun control movement has used major traumatic events in American to push for gun control and the reasons identified for this measure. This is followed by the reasons given by pro-gun individuals and interest groups like the National Rifle Association. lastly, the paper explores the opposing views from the gun control advocates, and an example of Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The working thesis for the paper is that the lack of serious gun control measures is associated with long-standing complexity involving the issue, and the lack of consensus over the decades.

Gun Control & Push for Gun Control

The debate over gun control is concerned about the efficacy of reducing accidental deaths and crime, and measures to adapt. Gun control discussions leads to clashes between interest groups, like the National Rifle Association, which retain financial and membership advantages over those seeking for addition of regulations on firearms (Bruce and Wilcox 8). Activists on either side of the gun control issue have strong preferences. The conservative side is highly motivated as pro-gun forces have a motivational advantage than activists of the gun control movement. This research carries out an in depth analysis of the gun control issue analyzing both side point-of-views. The goal is to create an understanding of the long-standing complexity involving the issue, and the lack of consensus over the decades among interest groups, government, and legal frameworks.

Gun control as a topic of public policy discussion began earnestly in the 1960s, with the American Bar Association and professional association of lawyers advocating for the enactment of tighter gun control measures (Carter 12). This House of Delegates drafted several positions to support tighter sale and use of guns, and the representation of the pro-gun position in congress. This saw the beginning of differences in opinions and ideological lines in congress, and the source of continued to remain a major topic of division. It is noted that the gun control supporters like the House of Delegates use major traumatic events in American history to call and push for tighter gun control measures. The first notable case was the assassination of J.F. Kennedy in 1963 that saw the group forms a task force to investigate firearm regulations. This led to the 1968 Gun Control Act as the group supported licensing of firearms dealers, prohibition of sales to felons, minors, and mental incompetents, and control of importation of guns (Carter 12). Several amendments having being made over the course of years like the regulation of assault weapons in 1993, federal control of firearms as consumer products in 1994, and the adoption of safety features like load indicators and gun locks (Carter 12). In addition, the House of Delegates supported the move in 1998 to address gun violence among the youth in schools through firearm education, peer mediation, and enactment and enforcement of gun laws emphasizing adult responsibility and safety (Carter 12). This has been the basis of the gun control movement, which still uses events in the society to push for tighter gun control measures.

The gun control movement is currently receiving support from various individuals like lawyers, congressional representatives, President Obama, and relatives, friends, and families of victims of gun-related violence. For example, Francine Wheeler, the mother of a child that died in the Sandy Hook shooting in December 2012, made a plea on national radio and internet, to President Obama to do something about guns, "before out tragedy becomes your tragedy" (Audi and Andy 1). The push for gun control in the 1990s and 2000s comes from the high rates of gun-related crimes, especially the youth and communities of less privilege. In the last year, the push for gun control is coming from families, friends, and communities of victims of gun-related adolescent and youth violence especially school shootings. Such major social events have led many congressional representatives, and senators to add their names to the political push for tighter gun control. This was also evident after a gunman killed six people in Tucson, Arizona in 2012 (Audi and Andy 1). In addition, in January 2013, Ms. Gifford unveiled a public outreach effort to push for gun control, which was motivated by the killing of twenty children and six adults in Connecticut elementary school. Such major social traumas drive the need for the public to support gun laws, and restrictions on high capacity weapons. The main concerns for gun control supports are the increase in crime and gun-related violence among the youth, the adolescents especially in schools.

On the other hand, pro-gun supporters like the National Rifle Association, believe that the gun represents the mainstream values of America. The speech of John Dingell at the National Rifle Association Conference on the 21st Sept 2007 indicates that the NRA believes that guns should be allowed in America since the nation was founded on fishing and hunting culture. They make the argument that they are citizens who serve the country in times of war and love the outdoors. Guns to them should not be over regulated since it is their constitutional right for self-protection. They argue that the increasing regulations on gun control will leave them vulnerable, since tight gun laws prevent law-abiding citizens from accessing guns when they need protection. They identify that guns are required for self-protection especially among vulnerable individuals and groups like gays (Kohn 23). Pro-gun advocates like the NRA identify that the right to own and carry a gun arises from the right given to America by the founding fathers "to keep and bear arms in the Second Amendment of the Constitution" (Political Transcript Wire 1). In his speech, Dingell identifies that this right is the physical manifestation of the liberties and rights guaranteed to Americans in the constitution. Secondly, the right to own and carry a gun arises from the right to defend the freedom of citizens and Americans as required by the founding fathers in the second amendment of the constitution.

Pro-gun advocates like Dingell and the NRA identify their right to hunt and to enjoy using firearms for legitimate defense purposes and sporting activities. They believe that this right is founded on the reason for the existence of America and its citizens. The right to own and carry a gun is associated with a constitution where citizens are assured of their freedom, have a means of self-protection and defense of their freedom. They identify that this freedom is not something born out of the traditional American participation since the Civil War. In response to this arguments, the American Bar Association believes and identifies that gun control provision in the law are consistent with the legal interpretation of the second amendment of the constitution (Carter 12). The ABA in 1998 gave to the government, senate subcommittee on the constitution, and property rights, statement to the effect that the federal and state court decisions to regulate gun control was consistent with the constitution. The ABA identifies that the decision to tighten the regulations on gun control meets the Second Amendment view that all levels of government have the authority to limit private access to firearms (Carter 12). This means that while the founding fathers may have built and defending the nation using firearms, the government of the day has the authority under the constitution to regulate gun ownership by private or individuals.

However, the gun control argument points out that most gun-related crimes and deaths occur from guns licensed to individuals for self-protection. For example, current gun control supporters cite Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooter, as an example of a youth who killed using guns obtained from his home. Gun control advocates cite that the need for tighter gun control laws and measures to prevent the event of guns falling into the hands of the youth, criminals, or mentally unstable persons. This they associate with the Adam Lanza's access to guns and assault weapons available at home. Those pushing for tighter gun control from the Sandy Hook area identify the easy access to guns like the .45 Henry rifle, a .22 marlin, and…

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