America Needs Gun Control Laws
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America has the highest amount of gun related deaths each year in the world. “In Germany 381, in France 255, in Canada 165 in the United Kingdom 68, in Australia 65, in Japan 39 and in the United States, 11,127” (Moore Michael, 51:15-51:48). Since the United States has the highest number of deaths, it is important to have gun-control laws that restrict people from owning dangerous firearms like machine guns. Gun-control laws should support both sides of the debate. Of course, both sides will not be completely happy with the laws created, but America should have a balance. In 2008, a poll was taken stating: “Adult poll respondents’ views on the meaning of the Second Amendment; An individual’s right to bear arms: Republican 51% and Democrats 41%” (The History of the Right to Bear Arms). Today, the United States is more divided on gun-control than it has ever been. The Second Amendment 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”(Milestones in Federal Gun Control Legislation). Unless the Second Amendment is changed, we cannot take the right from others to own guns. However, the government should regulate the types of gun Americans can own and who can own a gun because times have changed and American’s mental health system is broken.
Decades ago, the United States was once a country where a gun was considered to survive and protect. “As Americans civilized the wilderness, they would eventually be able to rely not just on their own skills at individual self-defense for protection, but on laws and civil authorities and the other institutions of government they were building ” ( Whitney, Pg. 103). The United States did not have the civil authorities we do today. Americans had to rely on guns to protect themselves as laws evolved. Times were different in America and that is why the Second Amendment was ideal. Guns, like the AK-47, did not exist, firearms at the time were too slow to load and that is one of the reasons gun control was not a serious issue. Gun control became necessary throughout history as different types of guns emerged and people became interested not only for civic duty but for entertainment or violence.
The National Firearms Act, enacted in 1934, “All gun sales and gun manufactures were slapped with a $200 tax on each firearm, and all buyers were required to fill out paperwork subject to Treasury Dept.
approval” (Milestones in Federal Gun Control Legislation). The National Firearms Act was not created to make money, but to lower the crime rate and make it impossible for people to buy and sell automatic-fire weapons. Today the government should create a different Act that will prevent certain guns from being sold to Americans and avoid certain citizens from owning guns. It should depend on where the person resides, if the person has a clean background, and passes the psychological evaluation. Once they qualify for gun ownership, they can be told what firearms they can and cannot own. For example, if an American wants to own a shotgun he should be able too. However, he has to have a clean background, be mentally stable and give reason as to why he wants a shotgun. Another example is if an American wants to own a Browning M2, the government should not be allowed him to own one. Machine guns should be banned although the armed forces can be the only ones who own them. Also, having control of who can sell firearms is important because the government can monitor and control what types of guns are being sold.
Today the Federal Firearms Act would works for today even though it was enacted in 1938. “Anyone involved in the selling of firearms was required to obtain a Federal Firearms License from the Secretary of Commerce. They were also required to record the names and addresses of everyone they sold guns to and were prohibited from selling to those people who were convicted of certain crimes or lack of permit” (Milestones in Federal Gun Control Legislation). The Federal Firearms Act is beneficial today because the government can monitor who is selling illegal firearms. Requiring gun sellers to record the names and addresses of the people they have sold guns to can help police track down suspects if the person caused harm with a firearm. Prohibiting gun sellers from selling guns to people who were convicted of certain crimes can reduce gun violence because it would be harder for them to buy guns. Prohibiting guns to the people who lack a permit also reduce gun violence. By having a permit, it shows the person is mentally stable and responsible to own a gun because the person has a clean background and passed the psychological evaluation. The Federal Firearms Act will not stop all gun violence, but it can monitor the guns that are being bought and if they are legal or not. The Federal Firearms Act can organize the gun control system and lower the percentage of people who should not be allowed to own guns. It can also lead the way to preventing gun related deaths. Yet there still are Americans who believe the United States does not need gun control laws.
Americans who are against the government restricting the types of guns civilians should have are not aware gun control is important because there are people who will take advantage of the power firearms. A member of the Michigan Militia said in the documentary “This is an American tradition, it is an American responsibility to be armed if you are not armed you are not responsible, who is going to defend you kids, the cops? The federal government? It’s your job to defend you and yours. If you don’t do it you’re in dereliction of duty as an American. Period” (Moore Michael, 8:37-8:56). Being armed does not make Americans responsible; paying taxes, being a good citizen and helping the community makes an American responsible. Owning firearms is a choice not a responsibility. Besides, the Second Amendment has never been updated, before being armed meant being responsible because the United States did not have law enforcement to protect Americans like today. If Americans need gun to defend themselves from other Americans it is because of fear and not because they are being “responsible”. In Canada people own as many guns as the United States, but they lived peacefully and their gun related deaths are a hundred times lower. Canadians have guns because a majority of them are hunters or own guns for their own entertainment, like gun shooting ranges. They are not in fear and do not have a broken mental health system. A Canadian man states “If more guns made people safer, then America would be one of the safest counties in the world. It’s the opposite” (Moore, 82:26-82:36). We become fearful and believe we should own a gun for protection from criminals, which in fact every person who owned a gun in America in the documentary “Bowling for Columbine”, had never been assaulted. Fixing America’s mental health system and gun control regulations would change America for the better. We should restrict the types of guns Americans can own, like military guns and give people who are capable of owning a gun a license.
I am not one hundred percent sure what side I am in. Sometimes I can be very opened minded about gun ownership and sometimes I feel no one should own a gun. What I am sure of is that the people of the United States need to compromise. Compromise would make the United States able to focus more on other social problems like unemployment. America will always have guns and the fact is many Americans want to own guns. The United States government can change it the amount of guns and bullets that are being sold. They can decide what guns are not meant to be in the hands of an American citizen. Gun control is necessary not only in the United States, but in the world.
Bowling for Columbine. Dir. Michael Moore. United Artist Films, 2002. Film.
"The History of the Right to Bear Arms." Gun Control: Restricting Rights or Protecting People?. Sandra M. Alters. 2011 ed. Detroit: Gale, 2011. Information Plus Reference Series. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 3 Dec. 2013.
Whitney, R. Craig. Living with Guns: A Liberal’s Case for the Second Amendment. New York: PublicAffairs, 2012. Print.
Gettings John, McNiff Catherine. Milestones in Federal Gun Control Legislation. Infoplease. Web. 9 Dec 2013.