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Gun Control: Simple Solution Or Ticket To Trouble

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Legal Issues

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The topic of gun control is one that many people feel strongly about, on both the pro side and the con side. It is not difficult to understand why so many citizens of this country are pulling for these laws. Violent crimes in the United States have been an increasingly serious problem over the last few decades. Guns have been a major factor in this increase. Many people demand that the government monitor the kinds of guns sold and the individuals who buy them. The problem with this is that to do so, money would be taken from taxes, which could in turn make them go up. There have also been requests to ban certain types of firearms, such as handguns or semi-automatic weapons. And others feel that security checks need to be done on prospective gun buyers or that customary waiting periods should be enforced.
The problem with all of these recommendations is that they infringe on the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. The amendment reads:
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. (Hofstadter, 1970)
This brings us to the question: what is gun control and how far should our government go with these laws? You want to make the nation a safe place to live, but you also need to abide by the Constitution, which is the basis of our nation.
As you can probably expect, there are many arguments on the pro side that are sound and quite relevant. Many of them are merely statistics that will help you see why many citizens demand a more staunch form of gun control. The first area of this pro argument is the number of guns that are available in this country. As of 1992, there were around 212 million firearms available for sale or that were owned by citizens of this country. This total includes 72 million handguns, 76 million rifles, and 64 million shotguns. In recent years, one to two million handguns were manufactured each year, along with one million rifles and around one million shotguns. (Wilson, 1998) These numbers are quite staggering when taken into account there are roughly only 270 million citizens of this country, that is almost one gun per person.
The next area is guns used in criminal use. Firearms have been used in a number of crimes in recent years. Of the homicides in which the weapon was identified, almost 70% have involved firearms. The number of homicides involving guns has recently exceeded levels in past years. In 1994, of the 22,076 homicides in which the type of weapon was identified, 70% used a firearm. Of those, 83% were handguns. (Pontonne, 1997)
Another area of concern is injuries, accidents, suicides, and deaths. A survey taken from June 1992 though May 1993 showed that there were roughly 99,000 nonfatal firearm related injuries treated in emergency rooms around the country. 58% of these were assaults, 20% were accidents, and the rest involved suicide, law enforcement, and some unknown causes. Another survey done found that in 1993 there were around 40,240 deaths. They included 18,450 homicides and legal intervention, 19,590 suicides, 1,740 accidents, and 460 unknown circumstances. (Kruschke, 1995)
Self-defense is another area in which gun control would have an effect on. Survey's done on the number of times victims of violent crimes used firearms were as follows. Around 62,200 victims used guns to defend themselves. Another 20,000 people used guns to protect property. A study done by Dr. Kleck of Florida State University says that handguns have been used 2.1 million times per year for self-defense and that all types of firearms have roughly been used 2.5 million times per year for that same reason. (Pontonne, 1997)
As you can see from the above-mentioned statistics, it's not hard to understand why so many people want this changed. The pro side also feels that the 2nd Amendment only guarantees the right to bear arms collectively, not individually. This is what causes so many difficulties in the decision process. So to solve this problem, such programs as the Brady Act, the National Firearms Act, and the Gun Control Act have been proposed and even acted upon. These would most likely cut down the number of crimes or accidents committed with guns in our country. These figures are startling and make me sit back and wonder how much longer our nation can keep this up.
The con side argument to this idea is a little bit harder to come by. But there is one major factor that it has going for it, and I mentioned it above, that is the 2nd Amendment. This basically states that every citizen of this country has the right to own a firearm. This is where much of the controversy starts. How far should this be interpreted before it gets out of hand? Also, was this meant for the individual or for a collective party?
There are some other statistics and facts that can back up the con side argument, besides the 2nd Amendment. First off states with right to carry laws have lower overall violent crime rates. These states homicide rates are 27% lower, firearm homicide rates are 33% ...

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