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  • 1. Hargis 1 Mahalie Hargis Professor Harold Blanco FYS 10 February 2014 Debate Paper: Gun Control What underlying issues are being debated in the readings? -According to Gun Control: An Overview, there are threetypes of issues that are being debated which include sociological, ethical, and legal dimension.From the point of view of social science, the arguments concern the efficacy of guncontrol laws in relation to reducing violent crime. The ethical point of view pits the right to bear arms against the protection of citizens and prevention of crime. The legal question involves how the Second Amendment to the US Constitution should be interpreted. At hand is the question of whether or not the right to bear arms extends to private citizens or applies only to so-called "well-regulated militias." Another legal issue related to guncontrol is found in the question of whether more legislation is needed, or whether better enforcement of current legislation is required. According to supporters of stricter gun control, what are some possible advantages in favor of supporting the issue? -According to Counterpoint: Gun Control Saves Lives, Statistical reality shows us that the incidence of gunviolence in a particular country proportionately reflects the stringency of that country's gun laws; England and Japan, which have some of the tightest guncontrol measures in
  • 2. Hargis 2 the world, also feature some of the world's lowest gun homicide rates (per 100,000 people, 0.04 killings and 0.03, respectively). The United States, by contrast, has a rate of 3.42 gunmurders per 100,000 people-100 times greater than England or Japan. Also, it is possible-and incumbent-to implement guncontrol measures that serve the greater public good while respecting the rights of law-abiding citizens to own and use guns. Hunters, sportsmen, and individuals who believe that guns can provide them with a means of self-defense would retain their Second Amendment rights even after the passage of guncontrol laws. Such reforms would include a renewal of the 1994 assault weapons ban, as well as a rewriting of the ban's loopholes; no longer would gunmanufacturers be able to comply with the letter of the law by making merely cosmetic changes to their weapons that do not diminish their deadly capacity. A stringent system of gun registration for weapons and their owners, similar to the systems in place to register motor vehicles and license drivers, would also pose no threat to law-abiding gunowners. According to those in opposition, what are some possible disadvantages to stricter gun control laws? -Statistics alone cannot prove that government regulation of firearms results in less gunviolence. Statistics do indicate that levels of gunviolence are extremely high in the United States, especially in comparison to many other Western cultures. However, the Second Amendment explicitly guarantees Americans the right to bear arms. While many believe that gun control legislation is the definitive answer to gunviolence, such legislation would also take away rights granted by the Constitution.
  • 3. Hargis 3 Also, the corresponding right to keep and own gunsensures citizens are not only armed to protect themselves in the event that national security is threatened, but the right to bear arms also prohibits the government from suppressing its own citizens by prohibiting personal possession of weapons and then demanding cooperation through force or threats of violence.It grants people the right to keep and bear arms and then also stipulates the reason for their use according to Point: Controlling Gun Violence is more important than Controlling Guns. What fallacies of reasoning emerge from the debate? - According to Counterpoint: Gun Control Saves Lives, few Americans would argue, for example, that their constitutionally-guaranteed right to bear arms translates into a right to carry a machete blade in a shopping mall or to sport a shoulder-fired missile apparatus in the vicinity of an airport. According to Point: Controlling Gun Violence is more important than Controlling Guns, many question abolishing the Second Amendment in order to reduce gun violence which would be taking away citizens’ rights. Also, some people may believe that there should be no laws on controlling gun control which could result in potentially more violence. What alternative policy/programs have been proposed or might be developed? -Gun Control: An Overview, states that in the 1930s, in reaction to gunviolence by organized crime groups during Prohibition, the National Firearms Act and the Federal Firearms Act were
  • 4. Hargis 4 passed banning machine guns, imposing taxes ongun sales, and regulating certain kinds of sales and shipments of guns. Even stricter legislation was created in 1968 with the GunControl Act, which outlawed mail-order sales of guns. In part, the momentum for this act came from the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr. A few years later, in 1972, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms was created to issue licenses, inspect firearms dealers, and enforce existing federal guncontrol laws. Two pieces of legislation, both passed in 1994, became the focal point for the guncontrol debate: the Violent Crime Controland Law Enforcement Act and the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act. The former banned various types of assault weapons entirely, and the latter (named after Ronald Reagan's press secretary Jim Brady, who was seriously wounded in a 1981 assassination attempt on the president) imposed a mandatory five-day waiting period and background check on all sales of firearms to unlicensed individuals. The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, also named after Jim Brady, is the largest grassroots organization working to promote guncontrol legislation. Its positions include the claim that certain classes of guns should not be legal for private ownership (including assault weapons and small, lightweight handguns), that gunsin the home are more often used in accidental shootings, suicides, or criminal activity than in acts of self-defense, and that gun violence strains the US economy and health system. The Brady Center supports more guncontrol legislation and better enforcement of current laws. Point: Controlling Gun Violence is more important than Controlling Guns, states that the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986 provides broad regulations of the firearm industry, including the prohibition of the sale of guns to specified persons such as minors, drug users, or
  • 5. Hargis 5 those with a criminal record or a history of mental disorders. Other federal laws also regulate the sale and possession of firearms. The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act requires the criminal history of gun purchasers to be checked at the pointof sale. A federal ban on assault weapons expired in September 2004 and there are now numerous efforts to have the ban reenacted. Although the US Supreme Court has consistently upheld the right to bear arms under the Second Amendment, it has largely relegated gunregulation to individual states. What implications does the debate have for families in society? -The debate is conflicting for families in society since both sides could be a benefit and a disadvantage. Making more laws could potentially keep families without protection while criminals could still illegally obtain the guns. On the contrary, taking away laws could give families more protection, but also give criminals more freedom to obtain guns as well. My Stance Gun violence is a huge problem in America, but establishing more gun laws is not the answer. If we do, more innocent people who are trying to protect themselves will be hurt or killed while criminals continue to obtain guns illegally like they always have. We need to let our citizens have the right to protect themselves and their families. According to BJS, NCVS data from 1987 to 1992 indicate that in each of those years, roughly 62,200 victims of violent crime (1 percent of all victims of such crimes) used guns to defend themselves. Another 20,000 persons each year used guns to protect property. Persons in
  • 6. Hargis 6 the business of self-protection (police officers, armed security guards) may have been included in the survey. Another source of information on the use of firearms for self-defense is the National Self-Defense Survey con- ducted by criminology professor Gary Kleck of Florida State University in the spring of 1993. Citing responses from 4,978 households, Dr. Kleck estimated that hand- guns had been used 2.1 million times per year for self- defense, and that all types of guns had been used approximately 2.5 million times a year for that purpose during the 1988 to 1993 period (Gun Control Overview). When it comes to the question of does control reduce crime rate, a study has been shown that it doesn’t. In 1993, Kleck and Patterson surveyed the then contemporary literature on the effects of gun controls on crime rates. As part of this larger survey, the authors review 13 studies that use state data. They observe that two studies find that gun controls reduce violent crimes, two have mixed results, and nine find no reductionin crime because of gun control (Moorhouse& Wanner). There has also been a lot of reference to other countries and how gun control is effective at reducing their gun violence. According to John R. Lott, Jr, while many national gun-control advocates would like to see the United States become a nation like Britain, in which few citizens own guns, gun ownership has been rapidly increasing—from 27 percent to 37 percent of voters in the 1988 and 1996 exit polls. Something on the order of 75 million Americans own more than 200 million guns. Lott tested it with data from all 3.000-plus counties over the years 1977 to 1994—a far larger data set than in previous studies. Using sophisticated statistical techniques— he is an economist—he focused on state and county crime rates before and after concealedweapons laws were adopted (Barone, Michael).
  • 7. Hargis 7 In conclusion, no more gun laws need to be established as it does not decrease gun violence. Our right to bear arms is way that we, as citizens, can protect ourselves from those who ignore the law and illegally carry guns. This is our right that should not be taken away.
  • 8. Hargis 8 Works Cited Barone, Michael. “Review.” Public Interest 133 (1988): 121. Points of View Reference Center. Web. 11 Feb. 2014. "Gun Control Overview." Congressional Digest 92.3 (2013): 3-7. Academic Search Premier. Web. 11 Feb. 2014. Moorhouse, John C., and Brent Wanner. "Does Gun Control Reduce Crime Or Does Crime Increase Gun Control?" CATO Journal 26.1 (2006): 103-124. Academic Search Premier. Web. 11 Feb. 2014.