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History of bans
Legislation is the process a bill goes through in the legislative house for it to be approved as law. Documents produced during the process serve as reference material for the judiciary to investigate whether a particular bill should be enacted into law.
There have been quite a number of legislative bans on products and services throughout the history of the United States. Most bans are implemented as a means to control what is considered harmful. In the United States, a good number bans have been imposed citing health and public safety risks as the main reason.
The bans are not always outright prohibition of consumption of products. They can also assume the form of content regulation. For instance, this is evident in the lead content regulation in children’s toys (Lead-Free Toys Act). One of the acts that stand out in recent history is the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008. This bill set the threshold for new testing and documentation of products. Consequently, this act increased safety certification requirements (Worrall, 2007).
It would take more than this report to give the history of individual products. However, a quick overview indicates that harmful narcotics with an outright negative effect on people and immense contribution to social decay were the first products to be banned. This can be traced to as far as 1860 when cannabis was banned from medical and recreational use.
Most recently, products that have been banned include foods such as authentic Italian meats, haggis which is a Scottish sheep meat delicacy, pigs blood cake, safaras oil etc. Other non-food products include fire arms, hunting trophies, fish and wildlife among others.
Of all the bans, the strictest and most rigid ones fall on guns and drugs. Guns fall under the fire arm law and the government restricts the sale, use and possession of fire arms. Concern for the safety of the America public mainly fuels these kinds of bans and regulations.
Each state has its own view on the form a ban or regulation should take. This has resulted in almost every state having its own law governing firearms though they all fall under the federal law (Worrall, 2007). For example, in the case of Oregon and Idaho, Oregon recognizes Idaho’s permits on fire arms. However, Idaho does not recognize Oregon’s permits on firearms.
The regulation recognition is thus made on state to state basis. It is, thus, advisable to know one’s state laws on firearms. In America federal laws are more restrictive than state laws; this however does not shield you from prosecution under federal law. With the recent trend of increased violence resulting from firearms, more laws and restriction are coming up to limit the availability and use of firearms.
The other sector marred by similar bans is the drug industry. Use of drugs such as cocaine, meth and other strong intoxicating drugs is completely prohibited. Some like marijuana are banned from recreational use but permitted for medicals use. Even in this situation, marijuana has to be bought only through a prescription from a doctor and form an approved seller. Other narcotics seldom enjoy leave ways in which they can be used on medical grounds (Worrall, 2007).
In other instances, drugs ban can extend to purely medical drugs. This include strong antidepressants that have similar effects to some narcotics, and which can still cause addictions and negative effects while overly consumed. Other light forms of drugs such as alcohol and tobacco products attract sin tax that makes them more expensive.
Effectiveness of the bans
The effects of these bans are considered relative since some products still find their way back to the market as illegal commodities. Whether these bans are effective is a matter of consideration. To some extent, however, the bans have led to less accessible of firearms and drugs. Banning drugs such as narcotics has worked well since some people are deterred from using them due to the heavy penalty and jail terms that might result if one is apprehended.
Studies indicate that fear can deter a person better than legislation can. In the case of drugs, these bans have been effective and the public is now safer. The standard checks ensure the medical drugs in use are of superior quality and of higher benefit to the people.
On the other hand, ban on hard drugs has brought about more organized crimes and black markets. The role they play, however, does not warrant one to consider lifting these bans. These are just loophole and criminal minds that stay in the way of a drug free society. Besides, banning guns has not been implemented yet most people, over 60%, do not comply with gun regulation. Moreover, the American tradition supports gun possession.
Gun control advocate Tom Mauser
Tom is gun control advocate in Denver. He took to lobby for gun control after his 15 year old son was killed in the massacre at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999. This, without a doubt, brought so much distress to him that he decided to take on the challenge of confronting the thorny issue of gun control. Tom felt that the death of his son could have been prevented if only those involved in policy making could just devote a substantial effort towards restriction of gun control.
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His life was altered by this event and he has, since, devoted his time towards advocating for stiffer controls on guns so as to save more lives in future. Toms says his fears are confirmed as more and more devastating attacks are made to innocent citizens using guns in incidences similar to Colorado Theater shooting (Mauser, 2012).
Tom blames the high number of fatalities resulting from gun usage on the ease of access. He feels that more should be done and can be done to limit access of these weapons by unwanted hands. This can be done through a deeper back ground check on the individuals purchasing these weapons. In case of doubt, the person should be denied the chance to own a weapon.
According to Tom, the government is not doing much to stop the killings arising from the easy availability of guns in the society. Instead, it focuses on mainly restrictive measures under recent cases but makes little or no effort to prevent such from happening in the first place.
He suggests that some policies to cover this would be to find out the exact purpose for which a person is purchasing a gun. This will help issue a guide line on how many rounds he should get. He also feels the American public forgets too fast and this results in hundreds of lives being lost in gun related incidents. He urges the public to be more vocal and demand more from its leaders especially on policies that will guarantee their safety.
John Lott, advocate against gun control
John Lott is a political and academic commentator. He is a well-spoken individual on academic and political matters. He is also a PhD holder in economics. Moreover, he also does research in public finance, public choice theory, economics, law and many other areas. He is however well known for his outspoken views against gun control in America.
John put forth an argument that the overall crime rate in America will decrease significantly if the adult population is allowed to carry concealed weapons. He went further to provide statistical evidence based on mathematical models to prove is theory. With the capacity to defend themselves against attacks, Americans will be much safer and gun control will withdraw this advantage from the public.
Lott’s work was contested by many scholars on it validity. However, after further analysis of his work, many agreed that legalizing of concealed weapons does not lead to increase in violence as many of his critics had insinuated. Lott argues that with the knowledge that one has a weapon and can defend himself from any attacks, there will be a decrease in crime. This is prompted by the fact that many will refrain from attacking a person who may be only too well prepared.
He, therefore, suggests the incapacity of the public to protect themselves against attacks, increases the rate of violent crimes. To substantiate his claims further, Lott factors in the effect of drugs in the holder of the weapon in his model, which shows it does not increase chances of committing a violent crime.
Gun control in America
Gun control is the legal limitation on the use and ownership of a gun. America has several gun control laws that limit the usage and acquiring of guns. Statistically, it has been proven that more guns in the general population lead to reduction in crime. However, gun control advocates refute these allegations vehemently arguing that more guns bring more crime.
There are three primary gun control legislations in America. National firearms act (1934), Gun control act (1968) and Brady bill (1993). More states have however made their own gun control laws. They seek to cover the loopholes left by the federal laws in gun control.
These laws govern guns within the boundaries of these states. The federal laws are however superior and an individual can still be liable under federal laws where states laws are lenient (Goss, 2010). According to research, one of the effects of gun control is that it leads to an increase in other non-gun related assaults. For instance, England’s mugging rate is six times higher than in America.
The second amendment is said to be the power source of gun rights to the citizens. Many people argue that it enlists the right of the people and not of the militia. This protects individuals who want to possess a gun for self-defense. Many policies and laws are continually coming up with some favoring the gun rights movement and others favoring the gun control movement. This implies the issues of gun control will remain as controversial as ever.
Goss, K. (2010). Disarmed: The Missing Movement for Gun Control in America. New Jersey: Princeton University Press
Mauser, T. (2012).Walking In Daniel’s Shoes: The Ongoing Legacy of Columbine Victim Daniel Mauser. New York: Ocean Star Publishing LLC.
Worrall, J. (2007). Crime Control in America: What Works? New York: Pearson/Allyn and Bacon.