The United States has the highest rate of civilian gun ownership in the world with nearly 300 million guns. There are several companies that manufacture guns and ammunition in the US notably Colt manufacturing company, freedom groups, smith and Wesson just to name but a few. The right of the people of America to bear arms is enshrined in the second amendment. At independence the US government enacted a constitutional amendment that allowed states to create militias of their own; this involved recruiting ordinary civilians and giving them training on firearms without them necessarily having to go to military school. With time this has been by passed by world events and time. There has been public debate especially every time there is mass shooting somewhere in the US. Averages of 30 thousand people fall by the gun in the streets every year. The national rifle association is the biggest proponent for the right to the second amendment (Carlson 7). It’s true that guns can play a vital role in defense. During the famous Los Angels riot citizens with guns defended themselves against criminals and rescued the situation saving lives (La Pierre 17). Its true that all of us want to protect our property and loved ones but this right to bear arms has been abused by others because of loop holes and we need to seal this.
In my argument I will show how civilian guns and government arms in wrong hands cause deaths, how those like NRA that lobby for invoking the second amendment once the debate on gun control is on the lips of everyone need to rethink on this issue. The SAFE (secure ammunition and firearms enforcement) ACT needs to be passed by all the senators. We need to have firearm regulation amendments irrespective of the universal right to posse’s firearms. We need to handle guns carefully to avoid deaths like in the recent case in New Jersey where a 4 year old shot a 6 year old accidentally or in Tennessee where a 4 year old shot a Deputy Sheriff’s wife by accident as the Sheriff was displaying his weapons to a friend. In as much as this debate is polarizing I will give a blow by blow account why we need to call for tougher rules on gun control without unfairly vilifying guns or those that are pro gun.
We are ranked amongst the highest countries with gun crimes putting us in the lead of countries like Jamaica, Mexico and Honduras that are developing countries. We lead by far the developed world, we don’t compare to other countries of equal stature that is UK, Canada France, Switzerland, Japan, German and China. In the period 2004-2010 data from UN ODC says that Honduras, El Salvador, Jamaica, Guatemala, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago were the top five that led in gun murder. Among the developed countries US, Norway, Australia, Netherlands, and New Zealand lead the pack. Although the US firearms murder rate has been changing over the time Washington D.C tops the list of gun murder crimes. Gun ownership has declined but more needs to be done. (Cothran 21)
The SAFE Act’s key proposals include limiting the rounds on a magazine to 10, ensuring that there is a background check for all gun sales, imposing a ban on the sale of bullets with ability to penetrate bullet proof jackets or body armor, bringing back the expired gun on assault weapons, giving harsher penalties for gun traffickers that sell to criminal guns. For senate to approve the appointment of a head of bureau of alcohol, tobacco, firearms and explosives. Proponents of the bill say that the mental health provision is at the heart of the law since it requires that doctors and health practitioners to report patient that have mental health problems and could harm others or be harmful to themselves. This will ensure that mentally ill people don’t own guns.(Gun)
Opponents of this bill say this could create unintended consequences. They say that mentally ill individuals could make the patients not seek medical health since they would avoid it in order to get denied the ability to own guns. They would also fear meeting doctors for the fear of them disclosing their mental state. This would in turn make them miss on their therapy and this is of particular concern to mental health doctors and advocates for a better health care system who claim it’s a form of stigmatization. They argue that by bringing the mentally ill into the picture and not the gangs that wield most of the guns. In as much as they may sound like we are equating mental illness to gun crimes, this is not true, and we only require that those at risk of harming themselves or others don’t do that. We need to recertify more often the gun laws, the world is a dynamic place, consequently this will cause in the overall decrease in the gun crimes in the country. The advantages of the bill outweigh the disadvantages. The supporters of the bill outweigh the opponents in number. For the privilege of having a gun we need not to feel that it’s too much to ask people to have a background check and even know their mental state, the mental health community and the government can sure come to an amicable agreement on what they want as the way forward. (Paul)
In most states one doesn’t need a permit to own or carry a gun, this was after a 1994 ban elapsed in 2004 and was lifted. The only states that restrict assault rifles include Maryland, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, California and Illinois. Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey have a total ban on assault rifles. California requires that you register the weapon. Connecticut passed stronger legislation on guns after Sandy Hook shooting and 26 people died in a school in Newtown therefore different states put amendments to the legislation once an incident occurs. Most Americans support the amendments but a lot of gun lobbying activist are persuading politicians. Republican senators are making this a partisan battle, they have lobbied and are threatening to use loop holes in procedure called filibusters to delay passing the bill. This is contrary to what the Americans have a majority opinion in. why should the senators do what is contrary to opinions of the people they claim to represent? Some states are headed in the right way by heeding call; they are even allowing teachers to be armed with guns in school to protect kids. A buy back policy is in place in some of the states.
Attempts by republicans to compare and contrast the Swiss and American gun culture is neither here or their. Switzerland has one of the highest gun ownership in the world third after the US and Yemen, there’s a unique relation. The number of gun crimes is fewer despite an increase in gun ownership. What many fail to see are the stringent regulations that govern ownership. After the case where Zug parliamentarians were killed stiffer laws were put into place. To own a gun one has to get a permit from the cantonal police, machine guns, assault riffles and silencers are banned and are not to be bought by the public. Those with criminal records, past addiction or mental health problems can never be issued with a gun. There are a tough set of both theoretical and practical exams done before a permit is given to carry a gun in public. In as much as military personnel are allowed to buy their rifles upon retirement they are under strict conditions. Ammunition is kept in a central arsenal; this is contrary to what happens in America. (Cothran 37)
In conclusion America is too lax with its gun control laws so we need to enact the SAFE Act so that another life is not lost. Guns are for peace and not to take innocent lives and if we should have them for defense they should be at home and not in the streets where we shoot those we see as suspicious or those whose noses shape we don’t like. Should we lose another Trayvon Martin, have another Aurora or Virginia Tech before we pass this amendments?
- Carlson, Andrew. The Antiquated Right: An Argument for the Repeal of the Second Amendment. New York: P. Lang, 2002. Print.
- LaPierre, Wayne R. Guns, Crime, and Freedom. Washington, D.C: Regnery, 1994. Print
- Cothran, Helen. Gun Control: Opposing Viewpoints. Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven Press, 2003. Print.
- Sakora, Lea. Is Gun Ownership a Right? Farmington, MI: Greenhaven Press, 2010. Print. nt.
- Paul Adams” Will guns hurt the mentally ill?”BBC News.29th March 2013.Web 10th Apr 2013.http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-21890032
- Gun sellers/manufacturers, news agencies” US gun debate: Guns in numbers“BBC News16th January 2013.Web 10thApril 2013.