Gun Control: A Debate Rages
[In light of the recent shootings at Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut, we bring back a thought provoking article written by a Youngziner earlier this year. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of children and adults killed in this senseless act of violence.]
Since the day a man walked into an Aurora Colorado theater and started shooting randomly in the audience, discussions about America’s gun control policies have been surfacing. This is not the first time gun carrying and usage policies have been questioned. For many years, people have wanted stricter gun rules for controlling the possession of guns. They have been countered by others who argue that gun control policies go against the Second Amendment.
Let’s take a look into the history of gun control policies.
The right to keep and bear arms
The right to keep and bear arms is the second amendment to the United States constitution and it is a big part of the fight for gun control policies. The Second Amendment gives citizens the right to use and bear arms for lawful purposes, such as self-defense. For those who oppose the policy of controlling the use of guns, they see the rights provided by the Second Amendment to be in jeopardy.
Gun control politics through the years
The Aurora shooting was not the only time arguments over gun control have arisen. After the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King jr., and Robert Kennedy, the Gun Control Act was passed. It expanded the record keeping and licensing of gun sales and prohibited the sale of guns to felons or the mentally ill. Only a decade later, an assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan, shocked the nation and severely wounded Reagan’s press secretary, James Brady. A few years after the attempt, the Brady Handgun Prevention Act was passed. This required a background check to be performed on anyone purchasing a weapon. These Acts are two of many important gun control policies but they are not supported by everyone.
The case for and against gun control policies
The National Rifle Association is strongly opposed to gun control policies. “Guns do not kill people, it is the people who kill people,” they believe. They want to be able to protect themselves. They also want to preserve the second amendment.
Others argue that if people likely to misuse guns were not allowed to posses them in the first place, due to strict gun control policies, there would be significantly less deaths due to guns. This is proven by the statistic that, in 2010, out of the 12,996 murders in the US, 8,775 were caused by gun violence. This is an alarming statistic that worries many Americans who think the huge problem can be solved by enacting stricter gun control policies.
There are no simple answers to the question of stricter gun control policies. The Second amendment is a precious right, which needs to be protected. However, the Founding Fathers couldn’t have possibly foreseen all the issues involving gun violence we’re facing today.
The gun control issue has been a hot button political issue everytime it surfaces. It is no different this time too, given that it is an election year. While no political solution may be in sight at this time, the debate continues to be earnestly on in search for the right answers, given the overhanging issues surrounding guns.