Effects of Gun Control
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As the effects of gun control become an increasing topic of current events, it is time that we take the initiative to learn each side of gun control; strong and weak. Stated in the constitution, “Citizens have the right to bear arms” (2nd amendment, Bill of Rights). This is the major reason there is any conflicting matters to limiting the use of firearms due to inappropriate use. The decision however comes from the citizens themselves; to find a correct solution and purpose for firearms, Americans must be willing to educate themselves on the effects of gun control.
In the recent years the numbers of gun violence have been increasing in a shocking amount. The big political debate is mostly combated and supported by the National Rifle Association (NRA) to keep the rights of gun ownership free for US citizens. In the article by Tom Price Gun Violence, it is stated that the number of gun related deaths from 2008 to 2016 went from 31,593 to more than 38,000 deaths per year. (July 27, 2018 – Volume 28, Issue 27) This is a staggering amount to see that the possibility of taking guns away all together could save that many lives.
This is not a correct way to look at it without first seeing the breakdown of why these deaths occur. The CDC attributes only 1% of the deaths in 2016 to mass attacks, 61% to suicide, and 35% to homicides. (Gun Rights Debate) This break down of areas of use, shows that taking guns may not solve all the problems. The majority of these deaths are related to the personalities of individuals, the weapon used may change through a similar substitute of device.
The lack of agreement and finding a level standing on the amount of control will continue to oppose progression. ‘Everybody will continue to believe what they’ve always believed,’ says Florida State Professor Kleck. Roanoke College’s Wilson agrees. ‘Five years from now, we’ll be pretty much where we are today,’ he says. (Gun Rights and Debates) This can be an encouraging factor to only limit sales of new firearms and ammunition, and heavily regulate the purchases and uses, but not eliminate ownership. It will also give the opportunity to create a greater understanding between both those opposed to guns and gun enthusiast. With understanding of the effects of gun uses, there will be a greater control.
The examples of the potential fatalities of guns have greatly been shown in the last three years. The Las Vegas Shooting on Oct 1, 2017 occurred at a country music festival that came under attack from an overlooking hotel. “The shooter opened fire on the large crowd in the open area below. With limited cover he definitely had an advantage allowing for just under 60 people killed and more than 800 injured.” (Tom Price, Crime and Policing) The point of regulation being examined is the elimination of a “bump stock” accessory, which allows any semi-automatic weapon to perform as though a fully automatic weapon.
Ohio State University has shown initiative in benefiting the safety of their students after a recent incident where a “third-year student Abdul Razak Ali Artan suddenly plowed his car onto a busy sidewalk, got out and lunged at bystanders with a butcher knife. In less than two minutes he had wounded 11 people before a university police officer arrived and fatally shot him” (Lyons, Christina L., Guns on Campus). At the time legal and permitted carry of concealed weapons on campus was prohibited which in turned made the students seem like “sitting ducks” to pre-planning attackers. The limited resources and distance of campus police allowed for the situation to escalate to a very terrifying situation to many students.
After this event a local Ohio State law student, Jonathan Beshears states “I can legally carry a firearm in my home, at the grocery store, when I take a walk through my neighborhood. Yet when I am at Ohio State, I cannot keep myself safe.” Beshears is a legally permitted citizen to carry a firearm, but due to the schools appointed rules at the time was not allowed to carry on campus. (Lyons, Christina L., Guns on Campus) Currently the schools ruling has changed to allow students to carry legally with proper permits. This will give any future attacks more resources to support campus safety through faster response and more protection.
To almost all things there is a political side of it. Kenneth Jost states in his article, “The Supreme Court gave gun rights advocates a major victory on June 26, recognizing for the first time an individual right under the Second Amendment to own and possess firearms. The 5-4 decision struck down a handgun ban adopted by the District of Columbia in 1976.” (Gun Debate) This decision has opened the door for many states to reconsider their laws as well with many gun advocates pushing for reconsideration. For those wanting more control, the majority claim that this change in policy will still have no effect in stricter policy in the future.
Many gun advocates are joining together in celebration. In an interview with Joseph Tartaro from Gun Week Magazine, Tartaro exclaims, ‘We’ve reached the good days,’ Tartaro continued. More handguns are being sold than at any other time in history. Long gun sales would be up too but for the bad economy. ‘People have discovered,’ he said, ‘that guns are not as scary as they thought they were.'(Gun Debate) As stated earlier it poses threat on current policies for revision. The picture that the supreme court has painted is showing a change to a more lenient regulation of federal laws with potential to loosen state laws.
It is because of historical events in the past that the regulations followed today are in place. Such as, “the first 20th-century gun law: New York’s Sullivan Law, the 1911 statute still on the books that requires a license to buy or carry a handgun” (Gun Debate). Also, “the National Firearms Act of 1934 required registration by sellers or owners of ‘gangster-type’ weapons such as sawed-off shotguns. The Federal Firearms Act of 1938 required a federal license for dealers in all weapons and ammunition; sales to convicted felons were prohibited.” (Gun Debates) All guns must be registered and concealed guns must have a permit just like the Sullivan law and National Firearms Act originated from.
The true effects of gun control cannot fully be known without proper study of research and understanding. However, allowing less restrictions on firearm sales and possession, will increase overall knowledge, as well as limit the amount of preventable injury or death due to an increase in proper training. With more citizens properly trained and capable to carry a firearm in public legally, the amount of severe violent crime can be combated with support from our communities. Just as the Supreme Court has began to change some of the gun laws, Americans should learn the reasoning for this change. The changes made are directly for the benefit and safety of the communities and American freedoms.