Human safety is, arguably, the most important issue discussed by any individual or group of people. As a result, every nation tries to ensure that its citizenry gets the best security. Good mannered citizens must be protected from criminals who might not only harm them, but also kill them. However, there are very few security officers in our country and they might not be able to protect everybody adequately.
Moreover, the vast area covered by the US makes is a bit difficult for every person to get enough security from the government. Many people find themselves in the hands of criminals where they are supposed to defend themselves. In instances like these, civilians require some weapons in order to stand a chance of rescuing themselves.
In this light, many people have supported the right of people to possess guns and use them in self defense as long as they abide by all other laws. Nonetheless, there exists debate on the impact of this legislation on society. On the same note, different states have different positions regarding the Gun Legislation.
Notably, no federal law expressly prohibits civilians from acquiring or even possessing guns in the United States. As a matter of fact, the Second Amendment to the constitution of the United States protects the right of people to acquire and own guns.
The federal government has only tried to prohibit guns at schools through the Gun-Free School Zones Act. Consequently, any person is allowed to rent or buy a gun provided that he or she uses the gun for lawful purposes only (Lott, 2013). The Second Amendment to the Constitution is very clear regarding the right of people to acquire and own guns.
It is, however, important to note that various regulations have been proposed to try and regulate how people use the firearms they possess. The National Firearms Act of 1934 tries to ensure that the type of firearms that civilians would access is controlled. On the same note, it aims at ensuring that getting a firearm is not so easy that gangsters would be able to acquire them.
There is the Federal Firearms Act of 1938 which aims at ensuring records regarding gun purchasers are kept as well as limiting convicts from accessing guns (Doherty, 2008). The most recent Acts that are aimed at regulating ownership and use of guns include Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, as well as Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act.
Whether the government has been able to control how civilians acquire and use their guns is a matter of question. About 50 states in the US allow people to carry guns. Though various states have tried to do away with the right of people to carry guns, hence the courts pose a stumbling block.
In the case of The District of Columbia vs. Heller (2008), the Supreme Court repealed the requirement that had been put in place by The District of Columbia restricting people who should have guns (Collier, 2013). Similarly, the case of McDonald v. City of Chicago (2010) reaffirmed that the right of people to own guns is protected.
So far, the country has only been able to control certain classes of people from accessing guns and somehow regulate the business of selling guns.
The groups of people who are not allowed to have guns include, ex-convicts of various felonies, people previously convicted of domestic violence and non-US citizens among others (Lott, 2013). Dealers are also supposed to be properly licensed while violations of the law are strictly punishable.
Additionally, there are restrictions regarding acquisition of guns to ensure that not every person can have a gun. Nevertheless, private transfer of guns is not strictly regulated. Age is very critical and minors are not allowed to own and use guns. Moreover, there are various regulations concerning the transport and movement of guns aimed at ensuring safety of the deadly weapons.
The question that many people ask is whether the right to own and use guns is really necessary. This is due to increased violent crimes mostly involving guns in various parts of the country. There is an assumption that if every person is made to surrender his or her gun, the probability of gun crimes will reduce. Conversely, there are those who argue that it is absolutely necessary for people to have guns (Collier, 2013).
To begin with, proponents of gun rights argue that since every person has a right to live, the right to own a gun is inevitable. There is no way we can argue that people have the right to live when they cannot rescue themselves in case of an attack.
Moreover, depriving people of the right to own and use guns is actually denying them the right to self defense. This is because they will be incapacitated and thus be an easy target for criminals.
On the same note, it has been argued that increase in criminal activities cannot be blamed on the fact that people can access guns. The internal urge for the one to commit a crime usually precedes the actual act of committing crimes. In this regard, it is not the accessibility of a weapon that makes one to commit a crime but behavior of a person.
In Canada, where they have the highest number of guns held by civilians, gun crimes are lower (Helmke, 2013). On the contrary, there are other parts of the world where it is illegal for a civilian to own a gun but the rate of violent gun crimes is very high. Consequently, proponents of gun rights argue that authorities are shifting the blame of increase in number of crimes to ownership of guns when actually this is not the case.
Another argument is that events of mass shooting that have occurred in the US have taken place mostly in places where guns among civilians are regulated. This proofs that restriction of the right to carry guns does not necessarily mean reduction of the number of crimes.
On the same note, legal acquisition of guns is not the only way that one can access guns. There are very many guns in the hands of civilians who acquired them in illegal ways (Lott, 2013). People can easily get guns from black markets which are not regulated in any way.
Moreover, the argument that restriction of the right to acquire and own guns will reduce violence, crimes and murders is misplaced, according to proponents of gun rights. It is not only guns that criminals use in their heinous activities, knives, metal rods and other objects are known to be used in many murder cases. With or without guns, criminals will still kill using other weapons.
People do not kill just because they have weapons. Otherwise many legal gun owners would not kill a person who just comes their way (Doherty, 2008). Criminals kill because their inner soul wants it. People have very different reasons why they commit crimes and mere possession of a weapon is not part of that.
In addition, we cannot go on banning everything that is used to commit crimes. If we ban guns today, criminals can still kill using knives. Similarly, if guns are banned they will still use other weapons. We will then be compelled to ban every object that can be used to commit crimes and this is impossible.
It should be kept in mind that everything is a weapon and can easily be used to kill. Isolated cases of psychologically unwell people who commit mass murders cannot make a country change the constitution (Helmke, 2013). This is because each person is unhappy with a certain part of constitution and we cannot change it because of that simple reason.
Ultimately, citizens have right to protection even from the government. During colonial periods, colonial masters in various parts of the world took advantage of the fact that people in their colonies would not access weapons. Consequently, these people were treated crudely by their masters who established diabolic and despotic governments (Lott, 2013).
It is least likely that a government where people have the power to defend themselves can come up with repressive and tyrannical ways of ruling (Helmke, 2013). As a result, proponents of gun rights argue that this is one way of putting the government on its toes as regards the kind of legislations it passes.
It should be noted that there are laws in place that restrict acquisition and ownership of guns. Selling guns is strictly regulated. Additionally, there are laws in place defining individuals who can lawfully acquire and use guns. Nevertheless, criminals still acquire guns.
In this regard, strict gun laws or even gun bans will not be a guarantee that there will be fewer guns in the hands of criminals or even reduced criminal activities for that matter. Gun laws or even gun bans will not startle criminals in any way; after all they are used to breaking the law (Collier, 2013).
They have never cared even for one second whether their activities are against the law or not. They go out and kill even if they know very well that the sentence for murder is life imprisonment. The proponents of the right to have guns also argue that there are many instances where gun owners have been involved in rescuing people from criminals. According to them, the problem is with people in our society not the gun laws.
On the contrary, there are people who have different opinions regarding the issue of people being allowed to carry and own guns. According to this group of people, gun rights only succeeded in providing leeway for criminals to acquire guns (Doherty, 2008).
It is absolutely impossible to tell between a criminal and a good person when they are all allowed to carry guns. Criminals can use the law to acquire guns for their activities. This is supported by the fact that one cannot tell who is buying a gun for illegal use and who is not. Therefore, it is better to have stiffer gun control laws.
On the same note, mass killings that usually take place are carried out using guns. It is also important to note that most mass killers are civilians. If these people were using other weapons, for example metal rods, it would have been difficult for them to kill such a huge number of people before being arrested (Helmke, 2013). As a result, the right of civilians to own guns has increased the number of people murdered.
Similarly, while the main argument in support of the right to have guns is for self defense, statistics depict a different picture. It has been proved that the number of crimes committed using guns is as high as ten times more than the number of times the guns are used for self defense (Doherty, 2008).
This shows that gun legislation is not meeting its intended objectives but it is rather aiding in the propulsion of crime rates (Collier, 2013).
Strict gun laws would mean that the number and type of guns that an individual can own is regulated. On the same note, these laws will ensure that rounds of ammunition civilians are allowed to keep are minimized.
Notably, one cannot kill so many people when he or she has a gun that cannot carry a large magazine (Doherty, 2013). Research has shown that when a gun holder is shooting people, the number of people killed is directly proportional to the type of magazine one has.
The argument that people need guns so that they can protect themselves against tyrannical leaders is absolutely wrong. Violence can never be a solution against oppressive regimes. History has proved that nonviolent actions are very effective.
Martin Luther king Jr. used nonviolent demonstrations to fight segregation in the US and he was successful in that. Giving people guns so that they can protect themselves afrom repressive regimes will be tantamount to propagation of violence (Lott, 2013). As a result, it will be disastrous to have a bad government in the face of armed citizenry.
On the same note, the arguments by proponents of gun legalization that banning of guns will not in any way reduce crimes is misplaced. Yes the will to commit a crime is not brought about by presence of a weapon, but when looking at this issue from another angle, an unarmed individual willing to commit crime can do nothing without a weapon.
The easiness of acquiring a gun will increase the probability of one committing a crime. Societal stress has been cited as the reason why people get involved in mass murders. It is worth noting that psychological depression is increasing especially in our country.
Consequently, unless we regulate how people acquire guns, we should be ready to witness increased mass murders (Helmke, 2013). On the same note, a gun is a high risk weapon compared to other types of weapons and therefore requires severe restrictions on its use.
As much as we may want to avoid the truth, the fact remains that our lax gun laws are partly to be blamed for the increased criminal activities. Every country in the world aims at ensuring that people who are allowed to own guns cannot be able to use them to commit crimes (Doherty, 2008).
However, in the United States, guns are acceptable to everyone. Consequently, the law makes it easy for criminals to access guns. No matter what id the explanation that we give, the truth remains that most criminal activities are carried out using guns.
Another aspect of the argument that people usually ignore is the fact that most Americans feel unsafe with the lax gun laws that are in place. The character of a person cannot be known just by looking at this person. In this regard, it is very difficult to tell that the person next to you cannot kill you.
The issue gets more complicated when one knows that this person is armed. Researches that have been carried out among Americans indicate that most people advocate for strict gun laws. For the sake of a peaceful society the sale of guns has to be controlled (Lott, 2013).
Moreover, it is the mandate of the state to protect its people from every danger including danger of guns. As long as people continue to be afraid of for their lives, the lax gun laws do not meet their objectives. Instead of boosting confidence of people they increase fear in the society. It would, therefore, be worthless to say that gun rights are adding any value to the people.
The question of gun control is a complex one to address and its future depends on a delicate balance. In the most recent court rulings, the courts seem to acknowledge the right of people to own and use guns in self defense. Americans believe in their forefathers very much and are less likely to diverge from what their forefathers considered right. Consequently, a total ban on guns is most unlikely to happen (Collier, 2013).
Nevertheless, most people in America have concurred on the fact that stiff gun control laws are necessary. People should be controlled on how they use guns that they own. Moreover, there should be restrictions on who can be allowed to own guns.
Arguably, every type of gun cannot be given to civilians. In this regard, opponents of gun rights have been arguing for restrictions on the type of guns that can be kept by people. The federal government is also advocating for stricter regulations on guns (Lott, 2013).
On the same note, the type of magazines that civilians should be allowed to have is a question of debate. There are those who argue that with magazines that carry just a few rounds of ammunition, the number of people killed by mass murderers could be substantially reduced.
The call for gun restriction is also supported by decisions made by courts which have not indicated that gun control is against the constitution (Collier, 2013).
However, people have been senselessly murdered in various countries including Germany, Uganda and Russia after the respective governments imposed gun bans (Doherty, 2008). As it is now, all these issues remain just what they are, suggestions. How the future events will turn out cannot be told.
People will still need protection in the society whether from the government or from other sources. On the same note, there is no society where it can be argued that people with ill motives are not present. In this regard, gun rights will still remain a tricky topic especially in the United Sates.
However, as much as we need to defend ourselves in case of an attack we should be aware of the fact that gun rights are being abused each day in the U.S. Consequently, we should be ready to take actions or we will have ourselves to blame.
Collier, C. W. (2013). Gun Control in America: An Autopsy Report. Dissent, 63(3), 81-86.
Doherty, B. (2008). Gun Control on Trial: Inside the Supreme Court Battle Over the Second Amendment. Wasington: CATO Institute.
Helmke, P. (2013). Targeting Gun Violence. Public Administration Review, 73(4), 551-552.
Lott, J. R. (2013). More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.