ARE MORE LAWS NEEDED?
by John Brown, ©2016
(Jun. 24, 2016) — If there is one issue that is guaranteed to polarize opinion within America, it is the issue of guns. Some argue that the country needs greater gun control, while others maintain that it is the right of every citizen to bear arms. Let us take a look at gun rights in America with an overview of both sides of the argument.
The constitutional rights
The argument rests on the fundamental tenet of the United States Bill of Rights that states that American citizens have a right to keep and bear arms. This right has been amended several times, but the original precept still holds true for many Americans, who believe that guns are critical tools for self-defense and for maintaining order within the country. To date, records show that up to 310 million American citizens possess a gun of some kind, with 31% of households possessing more than one firearm.
The most common reason why there is a call for greater gun control in America is due to the use of guns in a number of criminal incidents. For example, people go on murder sprees with guns, massacring dozens of people in a single day, which they obviously would not be able to do without possessing a gun. However, the gun lobby would argue that guns do not inevitably cause killings, as countries with very tight gun restriction laws still have murders occurring. It is just that a different weapon is used, and therefore restricting guns would have no measurable effect.
Pro-gun enthusiasts would also cite stricter gun controls as being indicative of a controlling, tyrannical government. Distrust of government is currently quite high in America, so any attempt by the powers that be to rein in their armed citizens would appear to be an attack on their basic civil rights, which would gradually lead to more rights being eroded.
However, perhaps most of all, the pro-gun enthusiasts would argue that not every gun owner is a potential murderer. Many American citizens possess a gun for self-defense only and actually go about the process of acquiring a gun very sensibly. They do their research, learn what kind of gun is suitable for their purposes and ability, find a reputable dealer by reading feedback such as that found on Bud’s gun shop review, and then make their purchase legally.
Let us have a look at the arguments for gun control. Anti-gun campaigners feel they need only highlight recent news stories, such as the recent massacre at a Florida gay nightclub where 49 people were gunned down by a man who may or may not have been on a terrorist watch list, to show just why tighter gun laws need to be instituted. If the killer did not have access to a gun, they argue, those 49 people would not have died. This is, of course, debatable, because the killer may have found some other way of committing this terrible crime, but the point is still valid because the gun made the massacre that much easier. Despite the massacre, attempts to alter the current gun laws to include restrictions on the sale of guns to those people who are on federal suspect lists and alerting the FBI should a suspect attempt to make a purchase were rejected by the US Senate.
The anti-gun lobby would argue that not all guns are equal, at least not when it comes to self-defense or sporting activities. For example, they claim that assault weapons, such as the pump-action shotgun AR-15, or ammunition that is armor-piercing, are too powerful and not suitable choices for target practice, and that therefore, such a weapon should not be licensed for this kind of use.
They would also claim that the solution to fewer gun crime incidents is not to give every citizen a gun in the belief that being equally armed is a deterrent to guns being used. In a study, it was found that since 1980, only one intervention by an armed citizen in a mass shooting incident has resulted in subduing a killer, preventing further harm. In the majority of cases, armed civilians were themselves harmed or even killed when they tried to intervene in a shooting.
The question of whether America should have fewer gun laws or more is one that is going to rage for a long time, not least because it strikes at the very heart of the American ideal of freedom, in speech, in choice, and ultimately, in the right to bear arms, that fundamental statute set down by the Founding Fathers.
Sharon Rondeau has operated The Post & Email since April 2010, focusing on the Obama birth certificate investigation and other government corruption news. She has reported prolifically on constitutional violations within Tennessee’s prison and judicial systems.