Should more gun control laws be enacted in the US?
A heated debate has always existed on whether more gun control laws should be enacted in the US. The debate has been re-ignited in the US recently, and it remains a live issue of concern. Most people find it a great concerning issue that requires a strategic approach to mitigate. Currently, the debate has been fueled by the rising cases of gun misuse that is resulting to increased number of killings. Many innocent lives are lost yearly, and the number or incidences of gun misuse continue. Likewise, cases of mass shootings are increasing in the US (Turkewitz 1). The recent case of gun misuse is the one that occurred on the 2nd of December 2015 where over 14 people lost lives while over 17 people sustained serious injuries. The incident that remains among the over ten mass killings that have occurred in the state is an outright indication that something is wrong, and it is timely for some serious measures to be undertaken.
Most people including gun owners agree that serious measures should be undertaken. They hold that losing lives at the rate being witnessed is encouraging and good for the health of the nation (Turkewitz 1). They assert that the US as a nation should not be one where people move with skepticism. The right to free movement should be protected effectively to enable its satisfactory enjoyment. Nothing should deprive individuals the freedom of movement.
The rising cases of gun misuse are what have sparked debate on whether gun control policy is necessary for the state. The debate is between the proponents of the enactment of more laws and those opposing the introduction of new laws. The proponents of gun control policy or the anti-gun laws justify their position with the rising incidences of unwarranted deaths or killings of innocent citizens. They state that the level of gun misuse is worrying and is causing the nation more harm than good. They question why the nation must continue embracing something that destroys it socially, politically and culturally. They neutralize the argument presented by the critics of the new regulations that gun ownership is a right that must be protected.
In their argument, they state that there is no way a right can be used to deprive others their fundamental rights. If rights are misused, then it no longer becomes useful and, therefore, unnecessary (Ludwig and Philip 2). However, a right that is used well is worth protection at all cost. On the other hand, critics of the gun control policy indicate that enactment of more laws is the not the outright solution to the problem the nation faces. They argue that the move is a violation of the constitution with specific reference to the bill of rights as amended in the second schedule of the amendment Act. They affirm that the state should not interfere with the rights of the citizens. This debate is taking shape, and more proposals are being floated towards the holistic management of the misuse gun crisis that is putting the lives of many in the line. This paper gives an argumentative essay on the hot and controversial topical issue that has drawn mixed reactions from the leaders, citizens, and cadres of citizens alike.
Gun ownership in the US and statistical facts justifying the need for its control
Gun ownership was first allowed in the US after the second amendment of the constitution that took place immediately after independence. It formed part of the fundamental rights that were accorded the citizens as a way of neutralizing the powers of the government or separating the functions the government can control and those that it should not have full autonomy of control (Ludwig and Philip 2). Guan issuance started after the amendment was passed and became part of the constitution. People made applications, and they are being given the arms for defense purposes. To date, it is approximated that over 89 people out of 100 people in the US own guns. The nation also has about 270,000,000 gun owners, making it the largest nation in the world where people own guns. Statistics also indicate that 22% of the gun owners have one or more guns.
Among the gun owners, 35% are men while women constitute 12%. The figures depict clearly that men own more guns compared to women in the US (Ludwig and Philip 12). The disparity of gun ownership has been blamed for the rising cases of women killings that stand for five people daily. Despite the killings, the majority of gun owners state that the arms have contributed in boosting their safety in the nation. They have been able to protect themselves from attacks directed to them from criminals and other groups of people. A report by a Pew Foundation indicated that over 79% of gun owners who are of male gender and 80% of female gender affirm their satisfaction with gun ownership (Carter 281). They indicated that gun ownership has made them feel safer as they execute diverse tasks. Similar sentiments have also been voiced by over 64% of the people living in homes (Carrol 1). However, many reports including the one presented by the Center for Disease Control have listed firearms as one of the leading cause of deaths in the US.
The body indicated that misuse of firearms was the 12th cause of deaths in the nation between the years 1999 and 2013. The figure represents over 1.3% percent of the total deaths registered in the state. The reports also indicate that the cases of domestic violence, killing of women, homicide crimes, theft and mass shootings have increased immensely (Carrol 1). The highlighted aspects form the basis for the debate on whether there is a necessity to have a vibrant gun control policy.
Deliberate attempts are being made to reduce the number of gun ownership that currently stands at over 27,000,000. The attempts aim at enhancing accountability and responsiveness in gun usage by introducing stiffer penalties to those who use their guns wrongfully. It also seeks to restrict the age of gun ownership and tighten the acquisition process to ensure that only a few people have access to guns. President Barrack Obama is spearheading this campaign (Carrol 1). The president is clear about the need for an effective gun control policy citing that it is painful to lose productive citizens prematurely as witnessed before. He stated that our children, women, young men, couples and industrious citizens were killed prematurely. Their lives are cut short unfairly yet those who commit the crimes remain alive (Carrol 1). No one should die because of the others frustrations that he or she has known nothing about. The president holds that the solution is to have a gun control policy that presents stiffer measures to those who use their guns irresponsibly.
Should gun control laws be enacted
Critical discussion on the debate on whether gun control laws should be enacted
As noted, the debate on whether gun control laws should be enacted in the US has narrowed down to two major schools of though. There are those who think that the control laws should be adopted to streamline gun usage in the nation while there are those who think the move is a violation of human rights as provided in the constitution. The proponents of the gun control policy cite various reasons and arguments to justify their point of view or rationale for supporting the introduction of new stringent laws. The first reason floated is the high number of premature killings of innocent citizens. The individuals who include policy makers, government officials including the president, security experts, gun owners and citizens at large, express their frustration with the current happenings in the nation (Carter 283).
They recognize that gun misuse started long ago, and many people have systematically lost lives, but the increasing trend cannot be left to continue (Turkewitz 1). It is unjustifiable in law or otherwise for the nation to lose its productive members of the society who are killed while undertaking various activities of importance. In particular, mass shootings have increased in the nation leading to los of many lives and property worth millions with several injuries. The recent case where over 14 people died was recorded in December 2015. In this incident, it was reported that a gun holder started firing carelessly at the citizens after engaging in a discussion with the partner. The action of the gunman is attributable to the frustrations encountered at the time (Turkewitz 1). Other incidences include the killing of eight students by their college, the incident at the holy worship center where over nine people died among others. The incidences indicate how careless, hurtles and irresponsible people are in the society. The gun owners pose a danger to the citizens who expect to live in a secure society.
Likewise, the cases of homicide crimes, violent attacks, killing of women, theft and killing of children have equally increased (Donohue 1). Report from the Center for Disease Control indicates that more than five women die daily out of domestic quarrels. Their husbands who are gun owners kill them. The report also indicates that the risk of women being killed during domestic violence has steadily increased to 500%. Many children including those less than six years are also killing themselves at a faster rate. The rate is also high among those who commit suicide by killing themselves. The killings occur due to the availability of guns that are wrongfully used.
Similarly, the proponents of the gun control laws affirm that it is necessary given that gun owners to have failed the test of accountability and proper usage of guns. Instead, of the gun holders to consider using the arms specifically for the designated purpose, they deviate and use the guns to harm the citizens (Lott 238), The number of people who does not adhere to the code of conduct that regulates gun usage about the specific purpose of personal protection is increasing. The increase means that many people are not adhering to the obligations set that requires guns to be used only in procuring defense when being attacked.
The proponents of the inclusion of new laws indicate that gun restrictions have always been adopted in the US and that there is no difference presently. They hold the view that the critics of the new laws should not panic as the laws are meant to streamline gun usage with the aim of reducing violence associated with gun misuse and killings. According to Donohue (1), the majority of the American people including gun owners are supporting the introduction of new gun control laws. The supporters believe firmly that the move is the only viable solution to the problem that has led to many killings. They hold that the second Amendment of the Constitution does not provide unlimited rights of gun ownership. It has some restrictions that form part of the laws regulating gun usage. Hence, people should find it necessary to accept the new gun laws.
Gun control laws are needed to facilitate the protection of women from domestic abuses and killings. Many women are victims of wrongful gun usage as many are murdered daily. Therefore, a legislation to protect women from such sufferings is essential for developing a cohesive society. As noted by Lott (238), the gun policy is highly necessary to help in stemming out the rising cases of frequent stealing of legally owned guns by criminals. Many criminals have been stealing guns from registered gun users, which they use to execute various illegal activities such as homicide crime. This is a serious matter as reported by the Institute of Medicine (IQM) (Kelly 1). The report indicates that over 1.4 million guns were stolen in the US. This has led to the increasing rates of car theft, home burglary, property crimes. The trend where guns are falling into the wrong hands is threatening the safety of the nation greatly. If not controlled, it will degenerate to a full disaster thereby compromise the social and economic performance of individuals in the nation. Similarly, gun control laws are necessary as they hold the capacity of reducing societal costs associated with gun violence (Kelly 1). Empirical studies indicate that most people who are direct or indirect victims of gun misuse bear immense psychological, economical, emotional and social costs. They are traumatized and spend a huge amount of money to seek for medication for the injured and resources for burial for the dead.
On the other hand, critics of the anti-gun laws present some reasons in support of their move. The critics hold that the introduction of new gun control laws would water down the gains made in the constitution (Schallhom 1). They are concerned that it would deprive citizens the right of gun ownership that is provided in the constitution. The critics are reluctant to have the second Amendment of the Constitution fully watered down by the introduction of new policies that would render it useless. Secondly, they hold that the enactment of gun control laws is not a guarantee to responsible gun usage. The laws will not deter crime, as there are varied factors that contribute to criminal activities.
The opponents of the new laws advise that the government should think of another strategy that would help in addressing the problem of gun misuse holistically instead of imposing strict restrictions. The restrictions will only prevent people from enjoying the right to gun ownership but not a crime (Lott, 238). They affirm that majority of the gun owners use guns for self-defense, and the arms have highly assisted them to protect their lives. The reported cases are isolated ones and that they should not be used to deny the majority the right to own guns. They categorically affirm that gun control laws are unnecessary as they are bound to continue infringing upon the right to self-defense that the constitution provides. It will also deny the citizens a sense of safety.
They argue that the police cannot offer adequate protection to everyone everywhere at any given time. They only offer limited services based on their capability due to lack of proportional ratio of police officers to the number of citizens. Therefore, gun ownership gives people the opportunity to protect themselves and supplement the effort put by the police (Schallhom 1). The critics raise concerns over the issue citing that the new laws would give the government too much power that may lead to government tyranny. The move may empower the government and in turn, initiate the process of taking away all guns from the current owners.
The proposal to have strict penalties, background checks, and microstamping forms another cause of concern. The critics are fearful that the checks would deprive people their privacy. They regard the new laws as an attempt by the government to invade the privacy of the esteem citizens. The fear is growing since background checks would lead to the integration of a government database that keeps all the details of gun owners (Mathews 1). The notable details that are to be captured in the database include addresses, name, criminal record, and mental history among others. Civil liberty unions and human rights activists are among the highly worried group of people about the introduction of the new laws.
Additionally, the critics argue that more gun laws are not needed in the US. What is needed that is lacking is systematic education on gun usage and gun safety to help in preventing the killings. They assert that guns do not kill people, but instead people kill others. Therefore, holistic education and sensitization on gun usage is necessary for the sustainable protection of lives in the nation.
From the study, it remains a solid fact that many people are losing lives and property worth millions are also destroyed due to misuse of guns. It is also a fact that the number of gun holders who are not accountable and responsive on how they use their guns in rising. The rise is presenting a real threat to the safety of most US citizens. Likewise, it is a fact that mass shootings, homicide killings, home burglary and street violence are increasing at an alarming rate.
Therefore, the probable ways of dealing with the situation or curbing the effects of the gun misuse are by introducing strict rules and guidelines that must be followed before one is issued with the gun. The procedures should include detailed vetting of the individuals to establish their suitability (Mathews 1). The other reason is to impose stiffer penalties to those who use their guns to hurt others. Additionally, the introduction of background checks and micro stamping remains an imperative solution to the problem. The measures would help in promoting accountability and responsive gun usage in the state. They will also ensure that wrongful gun usage is discouraged through the imposition of heavy penalties to gun owners.
Despite the spirited arguments presented by both supporters and critics of the anti-gun laws in the US, it is evident that the enactment of additional laws is necessary. The necessity of the laws is attributable to the severe effects of gun misuse. Their adoption is to curb the increasing cases of mass shootings, homicide crimes, street violence and home burglaries including other forms of crime. The new set of laws would also help in promoting accountability and responsive use of fire arms by gun owners in the nation. Similarly, they would facilitate the execution of effective background checks to help in monitoring how gun holders use them. Therefore, gun control policy or the enactment of new gun control laws is a noble idea that should be embraced to restore sanity in the US.
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