Contemporary World Issues

America's Fight Against Gun Laws


United States Constitution

Amendment II

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.

As a disclaimer to all those who may visit this website, I am against all government regulations on fire arms.


Dictionary.com defines murder as

the killing of another human being under conditions specifically covered in law. In the U.S., special statutory definitions include murder committed with malice aforethought, characterized by deliberation or premeditation or occurring during the commission of another serious crime, as robbery or arson (first-degree murder), and murder by intent but without deliberation or premeditation (second-degree murder). 

It defines homicide as

the killing of one human being by another.

Both of these definitions state that murder and homicide are acts committed by people, a.k.a. humans.  The same website states that a gun is a weapon consisting of a metal tube, with mechanical attachments, from which projectiles are shot by the force of an explosive; a piece of ordnance. So, a gun is a machine. Anyone who has taken basic physics knows that for a machine to do work, work must be first applied to it. Therefore, a gun cannot act on its own. My point is guns don’t kill people, people kill people. This has been the rallying cry of anti-gun activist for nearly thirty years. Just because guns are used in homicides, does not make them the  murderer. Nearly every house hold item has been used in a murder case. But people don’t go around stating that lamps kill people.  That would just be absurd. 

So why do people hate guns? To simply state it, many people find them scary.  They make a horrible, loud noise, and they are very effective in what they do. NATO does not allow member nation’s to use hollow point ammunition because it kills people to well.  That’s why liberal congressmen and organizations such as the Brady Campaign continually strive to violate the Bill of Rights and prevent the general populous from owning guns.  For some bizarre reason, liberals believe that if you make it illegal to own guns then criminals will not have access to fire arms.  But if they are already willing to break the law, what is to stop them from obtaining firearms illegally? The answer is: nothing. To make guns illegal will only handicap and endanger the law abiding citizens.

True, guns are dangerous, but so are cars. So what makes cars safer than guns?  Nothing. Automobile accidents are still the leading cause of teenage deaths. Yet, the Million Mom March Organization feels that guns pose the greatest threat to their children. To me, it seems that they have their priorities mixed up.  Guns just have a bad reputation. Unlike cars, guns were created with the sole purpose of killing people. Yet they are built with safeties to prevent accidental firings.  People need to recognize the power of firearms, and practice safe gun use.

Just because there are those out there who which to see the people deprived of their rights, doesn’t mean there aren’t those who are willing to fight for the people’s rights.  Perhaps the leading organization fighting against gun laws is the National Rifle Association. Even the people are showing more support for looser gun laws. The 2004 National firearms survey found that 38% of households and 26% of individuals reported owningat least one firearm. This corresponds to 42 million US householdswith firearms, and 57 million adult gun owners. 64% of gun ownersor 16% of American adults reported owning at least one handgun.Long guns represent 60% of the privately held gun stock. Almosthalf (48%) of all individual gun owners reported owning more than 4 firearms.  Men more often reported firearm ownership, with 45% statingthat they personally owned at least one firearm, compared with11% for women. This is a 5% increase from the 2000 statistics. After Obama was found to be the winner of the 2008 election, gun sales increased by 11% nation wide.

I guess my point is that gun laws are detrimental to the well being and the continuation of our nation.  The only reason Washington’s army had firearms was due to the fact that the people had the right to bear arms.  If guns were to be taken away from the populace, the final check on our government would be removed.

Below is a time line of significant happenings regarding gun laws in the United States.

1791

Second Amendment Ratified

It 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." See U.S. Constitution.


1871

National Rifle Association Founded

Union soldiers Col. William C. Church and Gen. George Wingate found the NRA to "promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis." Civil War Gen. Ambrose Burnside, who was also the former governor of Rhode Island and a U.S. Senator, serves as the organization's first president.


1934

National Firearms Act

Brought about by the lawlessness and rise of gangster culture during prohibition, President Franklin D. Roosevelt hoped this act would eliminate automatic-fire weapons like machine guns from America's streets. Other firearms such as short-barreled shotguns and rifles, parts of guns like silencers, as well as other "gadget-type" firearms hidden in canes and such were also targeted. All gun sales and gun manufacturers were slapped with a $200 tax (no small amount for Americans mired in the Great Depression; that would be like a tax of $2,525 today) on each firearm, and all buyers were required to fill out paperwork subject to Treasury Dept. approval.


1938

Federal Firearms Act

Congress aimed this law at those involved in selling and shipping firearms through interstate or foreign commerce channels. Anyone involved in the selling of firearms was required to obtain a Federal Firearms License from the Secretary of Commerce ($1 annual fee). 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 lacked a permit.

1968

Gun Control Act

The assassination of John F. Kennedy, who was killed by a mail-order gun that belonged to Lee Harvey Oswald, inspired this major revision to federal gun laws. The subsequent assasinations of Martin Luther King and presidential candidate Robert Kennedy fueled its quick passage. License requirements were expanded to include more dealers, and more detailed record keeping was expected of them; handgun sales over state lines were restricted; the list of persons dealers could not sell to grew to include those convicted of felonies (with some exceptions), those found mentally incompetent, drug users and more. The act also defined persons who were banned from possessing firearms.

The key element of this bill outlawed mail order sales of rifles and shotguns; Up until this law, mail order consumers only had to sign a statement that they were over 21 years of age for a handgun (18 for rifle or shotgun); it also detailed more persons who were banned from possessing certain guns, including drug users, and further restricted shotgun and rifles sales.


1972

Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms created

Enforcement of the Gun Control Act was given to the Dept. of the Treasury's Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Division of the Internal Revenue Service. The organization replaced "tax" with "firearms," nearly doubled in size, and became the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF).


1986

Law Enforcement Officers Protection Act

Made it illegal for anyone to manufacture or import armor piercing ammunition, or "cop-killer bullets," which are capable of penetrating bulletproof clothing.

Eased restrictions on gun sellers and the sale of some guns. Imposed additional penalties for persons using a firearm during certain crimes and persons with robbery or burglary convictions who are illegally shipping guns.

1990

Crime Control Act

Directed the attorney general to develop a strategy for establishing "drug-free school zones," including criminal penalties for possessing or discharging a firearm in a school zone. Outlawed the assembly of illegal semiautomatic rifles or shotguns from legally imported parts.

1994

Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act

Imposed, on an interim basis, a five-day waiting period and background check before a licensed gun importer, manufacturer or dealer can sell or deliver a handgun to an unlicensed individual.

Required a new National Instant Criminal Background Check System, run by the FBI, be ready to replace the waiting period by Nov. 30, 1998. The new background check system will apply to all firearms and will allow checks to be done over the phone or electronically with results returned immediately in most cases.

Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement
Commonly referred to as the "Assault Weapons Ban," this bill banned the manufacture, possession, and importation of new semiautomatic assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition feeding devices (or magazines) for civilian use.

Criteria for semiautomatic assault weapons that fall under the ban are provided as well as a list of 19 specific firearms.

Prohibits juveniles from possessing or selling handguns and directs the attorney general to evaluate proposed and existing state juvenile gun laws.



2008

District of Columbia v Heller

The Supreme Court decided  that the previous ban of firearms in the District of Columbia was unconstitutional.


 


Works Cited

 

Murder, Homicide, Gun. Retrieved December 1, 2008, Web site: Dictionary.com

Gettings, John Retrieved December 1, 2008, from Milestones in Federal Gun Control Legislation Web site: http://www.infoplease.com/spot/guntime1.html

Retrieved December 1, 2008, from Brady Campaign to prevent Gun Violence Web site: http://www.bradycampaign.org/

Hepburn, L (2008 October 4). Retrieved December 3, 2008, from The US gun stocks Web site: http://injuryprevention.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/13/1/15

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