Gun Control Policy Brief Essay Sample
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Gun Control Policy Brief Essay Sample
The concept of gun control has become a hot button item as we live in a country where mass murders, school shootings, and many other gun related crimes are becoming more and more frequent. People are faced with the impending questions on what should be done to limit these types of crimes and how can one defend themselves and their loved ones from becoming victims to these senseless acts? The main question regarding these issues is; should stricter gun control be instituted in the United States?
As defined by Merriam-Webster, “gun control is laws that control how guns are sold and used and who can own them.” Around this definition there has been a great amount of push and pull from those who support gun control laws and those who oppose them. Arguments of why there should be increased gun control include: Most violent crimes are committed with guns; thus, restricting gun ownership with likely reduce the number of such crimes. Lunatics, bullied school kids, disgruntled workers, and others can inflict mass casualties with guns that otherwise would not be possible The second amendment of the Constitution was targeted towards militia, e.g. the National Guard, rather than individuals.1 Arguments against increased gun control are as follows:
Criminals will always find a way to obtain their guns, leaving law-abiding citizens without any weapons to use in defense. Crimes are often prevented by the deterrent effect of the possibility of victim gun possession. The second amendment of the Constitution protects the individual’s right to gun ownership.2 Pro-gun control organizations
Two of the most active organizations lobbying congress for increased gun control laws include The Brady Campaign and Mayor’s Against Illegal Guns. Between these two organizations $240,000 dollars was spent lobbying congress in 2011.3
The Brady Campaign describes its efforts as to pass, enforce, and protect sensible laws and public policy that address gun violence at federal and state levels.4 This campaign boasts its success in having the Brady Handgun Violence Preventions Act passed in 1993. This law federally mandates background checks on all firearm purchasers in the United States.5 The Brady campaign estimates that this law has blocked around 2 million prohibited gun purchases since it was instated.
The Mayor’s against Illegal Guns state their coalition works together to find new innovative ways to advance the principles of punishing criminals who possess, use, and traffic in illegal guns, to the maximum extend, keep lethal, military-style weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines off our streets, work to develop and use technologies that aid in the detection and tracing illegal guns, as well as several other initiatives.6 Anti-gun Control Organizations
Two of the most active organizations lobbying against gun-control laws include the National Rifle Association (NRA) and Gun Owners of America (GOA). Between these two organizations, in the year 2011, $4,212,996 was spent lobbying congress.7
The branch of the NRA that takes up the work of lobbying congress is the NRA-ILA, ILA standing for Institute for Legislative Action. The branch describes itself as being dedicated to any issue affecting firearms ownership and use. They work vigorously to defeat restrictive gun control legislation, to pass pro-gun reform legislation and to educate the public about the facts concerning the many facets of gun ownership.8
Gun Owners of America describe themselves as a non-profit lobbying organization formed in 1975 to preserve and defend Second Amendment rights of gun owners.9 The GOA is considered to be the only ‘no compromise’ gun lobbying group. Along with lobbying Congress the Goa has created a massive group of attorneys, in every state, that take up court battles to protect gun owner rights. Types of Gun-control
Today there are two major types of gun control that are being discussed in the political and private sectors. They are reform gun policy and total gun-control. Many ordinary citizens confuse these two as being one in the same, but they are in fact very different. Reform policy looks at addressing the gun-control laws that are already on the books, and total gun control many view as ‘the government taking away all guns’ or sever restriction on the types of guns civilians many possess.
Reform gun policy seems to have support from a vast majority of people, including the NRA which lobbies against total gun-control. Gun-control policies today focus on one or more of four general objectives. These laws aim to: 1. Define conditions that prohibit a person from possessing firearms; 2. Implement regulations to prevent prohibited persons from possessing firearms; 3. Restrict carrying of concealed firearms outside the home; and 4. Regulate the design of firearms to enhance public and personal safety.10 The idea of policy reform aims to enhance the laws on the books and attempt to remove loopholes that are making the purchase of firearms very easy for those who under federal law are barred from owning them.
The concept of total gun-control is viewed by many as the ban of all firearms for civilian possession, as well as severe restrictions on the certain types of firearms allowed for civilian possession. In very recent years we can examine the effects of instituting sever gun restriction in cities and the negative effects that it had. Washington DC and Chicago provide perfect examples. From 1976 to 2008 DC law prohibited residents from possessing hand guns, and required that all firearms in private homes be kept unloaded and rendered temporarily inoperable via disassembly or installation of trigger locks.11 During the time frame the handgun ban and trigger lock laws were in effect DC became one of the most dangerous cities in the United States. Murder rates sky-rocketed to 73% higher than they were before the law.12 At the peak of the murder rates in the early 90’s a little over 80 out of 100,000 people in DC were victims of murder or non-negligent manslaughter. Even though murders in the city began to decline while the law was still in effect, more rapid decrease is charted
after the law was repealed in 2008.
In 1982 Chicago instituted a similar ban on handguns. The law barred citizens from possessing handguns except for those registered with the city prior to the law. The law was amended in 1994 requiring re-registration of handguns every two years. Failure to comply resulted in the owner forfeiting their right to own a handgun. The law was eventually found unconstitutional in 2010. During the time this was in place murders committed with handguns was 40% higher than it was before the law took effect. In 2005 alone 96% of the people murdered with firearms were killed with handguns.13 Right-to-Carry Laws (RTC)
Right-to-Carry laws permit civilians who meet certain criteria, have completed a background check, and a gun safety course to carry a concealed firearm in most public places. RTC laws aim to respect individuals rights to self-defense. Each state has its own legislation pertaining to RTC laws. They fall under three categories: 1. shall-issue states, where concealed carry permits are issued to all qualified applicants. 2. May-issue�states, where applicants must often present a reason for carrying a firearm to an issuing authority, who then decides based on his or her discretion whether the applicant will receive a permit. 3. No-issue�states, are where concealed carry is generally forbiden.14 As of January 2012 40 states had shall-issue laws with Alaska, Arizona, Vermont, and Wyoming allowing residents to carry a concealed weapon without having to apply for a permit. 9 states held may-issue laws and only Illinois and the District of Columbia have no-issue laws.
RTC laws have been proven to be very effective in contributing to the decrease in violent crimes from the United States peak in violent crimes in 1991. 典hrough 2010 the nation’s murder rate has decreased 52% to a 47 year low, and the total violent crime rate has decreased 48% to a 37 year low. The FBI preliminary has reported that violent crimes decreased another 6.4% in the first half of 2011, translating into a seven percent decrease in the total violent crime per capita.15
Many states have also showed a significant decrease in violent crimes after instating RTC laws. Two perfect examples are Texas and Michigan. In 1996 Texas RTC laws became effective. Since the law went into effect Texas murder rates have averaged 30% lower that before it took effect. Since the introduction of RTC laws there the United States as a whole has seen a 28% lower murder rate.16 In July 2001 Michigan RTC laws became effective. Since its introduction the Michigan murder rate has seen an average 4% decrease than before the law.17 Recommendations and Conclusion
Although pro-gun control advocates believe fewer guns will lead to fewer gun related crimes I feel this statement to be inaccurate. I believe that the enforcement of total gun control could possibly be one of the most catastrophic mistakes out government could make. Ultimately total gun control would only take guns away from law-abiding citizens. Those who do not follow the law would still find a way to commit gun related crimes and those following the law would be left defenseless and dependent on police protection that is already suffering from exhaustion. Based on the information I have read I recommend that at a minimum that all Americans should be required to take gun safety courses, and if at all possible own a firearm for protection purposes. I also think that based on the huge increase in school violence that we have seen in recent years, all school teachers should be permitted to carry a concealed weapon to deter the possibility of increased school shoots. In a perfect world gun violence would be non existent and firearms would only be used for recreational purposes. However, the utopian ideals are unattainable so I stand by my suggestion of instating federal legislation that allows all those who meet the criteria to be able to carry a concealed weapon.
“A History of D.C. Gun Ban.” Compiled by Meg Smith and Leah Carliner. Washington Post, June 26, 2008. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/… Agresti, James D., and Reid K. Smith. Just Facts, “Gun Control Facts.” Last modified February 11, 2013. Accessed October 20, 2013. http://justfacts.com/guncontrol.asp. Balanced Politics, “Should Civilian Possesion of Handguns and other
Non-hunting Guns be Banned or Severely Restricted.” Accessed October 18, 2013. www.balancedpolitics.org/gun_control.nm. Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Last modified 2013. Accessed October 20, 2013. www.bradycampaign.org., Last modified 2013. Accessed October 20, 2013. www.bradycampaign.org. Gun Owners of America, “About GOA.” Last modified September 17, 2008. Accessed October 20, 2013. http://gunowners.org. H.R. 1025–103rd Congress: Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act. (1993). In www.GovTrack.us. Retrieved October 18, 2013, from http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/103/hr1025 Jilani, Zaid. Republic Report, “Anti-Gun Control Groups Spent 17 Times as much Lobbying Congresss as Pro-Gun Control Groups Last Year.” Last modified July 25, 2012. Accessed October 10, 2013. http://www.republicreport.org/2012/the-anti-gun-control-lobby-spent-17-times-as-much-as-the-pro-gun-control-lobbying-last-year/. Mayors Against Illegal Guns, Last modified 2013. Accessed October 20, 2013. www.mayorsagainstillegalguns.org. NRA-ILA, “Right-to-Carry 2012.” Last modified February 28, 2012. Accessed December 09, 2013. http://www.nraila.org/gun-laws/articles/2012/right-to-carry-2012.aspx?s=”Right-To-Carry”&st=&ps=. National Rifle Association, “NRA-ILA.” Last modified 2013. Accessed October 20, 2013. http://home.nra.org.
Webster, Daniel W., John S. Vernick, Katherine Vittes, Emma E. McGinty, and Shannon Frattaroli. “The Case for Gun Policy Reforms in America.” John Hopkins Center For Gun Policy and Research. . http://www.jhsph.edu/research/centers-and-institutes/johns-hopkins-center-for-gun-policy-and-research/publications/WhitePaper102512_CGPR.pdf (accessed October 20, 2013).