Gun control is the formation and implementation of policies and procedures that regulate the purchase and use of guns. The regulation specifies the age that one should be to be allowed to buy a gun. The rules also determine the type of firearms that can be purchased by civilians. Other aspects that are specified include the mental condition and health condition of the gun user. A person with a history of criminal offenses should typically not be allowed to buy a gun. All these aspects are aimed at ensuring that the arms are not purchased by unstable people or people with the wrong intentions.
Gun control extends to the use of guns in the security sector. The use of guns in the military, the police and other security outfits is regulated. The use in the fields of security experts is regulated according to the need of the gun with the expert. A soldier is for instance only allowed to have a gun in a situation where he/she will need to use the weapon. With a few exceptions, most countries in the world allow civilians to purchase guns. There are a few countries where gun ownership among civilians is entirely illegal (Lott 76).
Gun control takes various forms depending on the country of effect. The regulations are based on whether gun ownership in the country is a right or a privilege. In countries where gun ownership is a right, the rules controlling ownership and purchase are more lenient. In countries where gun ownership is considered to be a privilege then the access to guns by civilians is less regulated. In such countries, the public can easily purchase guns. There are relatively few conditions that are required for buying a firearm.
The USA is one of the countries in the world where the access to guns by civilians is relatively easy. The ownership of a firearm in the US is considered to be a right under the second amendment of the US constitution. The issue of gun control in the US has however become a hotly contested political issue in the country. Gun control has been used in numerous political campaigns. Members of the Republican Party support the ownership of guns while members of the Democratic Party advocate for more regulation and even ban of gun ownership among civilians. These two situations mentioned above, however, do not cover all the members of the mentioned parties. Individual members can have dissenting opinions concerning the ownership of guns (McGinty, Webster, and Barry 494).
In the political arena, gun control has been twisted and sometimes even exaggerated to suit the opinion of the concerned person. People who advocate for more regulation refer to gun control as regulating gun violence. Gun control is further referred to as gun safety, illegal guns and criminal access to firearms. People who support an increase in freedom in the access of guns refer to gun regulation as an infringement of their right under the second amendment. Politicians have often taken sides on gun control. Some politicians want more control while others want less control (Lott 87).
The issue of gun control has especially been under controversy in recent times. There have been numerous cases of gun violence in the US which have raised a lot of debate regarding the standards and requirements of gun ownership. The most recent widely publicized occurrence of gun violence was the shooting of students and teachers at Marjory Stone man Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. At the school shooting, 17 people died while another 17 were injured. The incident has been noted to be one of the deadliest school shootings in the US. The incident has led to countrywide protests of people who are demanding more regulation to the access of guns. The shooter in the school has been noted to have had mental instability; there is growing concern as to what standards are considered before the sale of guns and how to enforce these standards. The parkland shooting has brought a lot of scrutiny to the issue of gun control. It has raised a question on whether the second amendment right indeed applies to life in the modern world.
The second amendment can be traced back to the nineteenth century. In the late 1700’s various senior government officials including the then president came together to write articles in the constitution concerning the ownership of guns in America. The drafting of the second amendment was in line with the aspects of freedom in America. The country is centered on the provision of freedoms and liberties to all citizens. The right to gun ownership was aimed at ensuring the Americans enjoy their lives to the fullest without any limitations. Happiness was also a concept that was promoted in America, and the provision of rights ensured that there were no limits to the pursuit of happiness among its citizens. The amendment was drafted by a committee of fifty-five people who had been appointed for the purpose. The second amendment has since been applied in the US (Spitzer 65).
The second amendment provides every citizen of the US with the right to own and bear a firearm. This right is extended to the right to protect oneself with the use of a gun. Protection is one of the aspects that was considered in the formation of the amendment. The use of firearms was, among other things, aimed at the protection of oneself and one’s family. The protection should, however, be against someone who is armed and who poses an actual danger to the bearer of the weapon. The second amendment has however been changed over the years. The second amendment that exists in the present day is a bit different from the original second amendment. The changes that have been made to the second amendment have resulted in more changes regarding who can access a gun. At the time of the formation of the amendment, the ownership of guns was illegal among people of other non-white races such as black Americans. The amendments to the right have taken out any restrictions based on age or gender of the citizen. The changes to the amendment have however kept the necessary provisions of the original amendment. According to the second amendment, people who are 21 years and older are allowed to buy various types of guns including handguns. People who are the age of eighteen and above are allowed to buy shotguns and rifles from licensed dealers. One of the controversies is the allowance of 18-year-olds to buy AR 15 rifles which have been used in numerous shootings in the country.
The second amendment has been questioned concerning how clear it is in the provision of the right to gun ownership. The second amendment has been brought under debate following rulings by the Supreme Court system concerning the amendment. There have been various arguments in legal circles both in support of and against the possession of guns among civilians. The National Rifle Association has become synonymous in the fight for the preservation of the second amendment. The NRA has repeatedly opposed the ideas of increase in regulation of access to guns. The rifle association has vigilantly opposed any plans that support the banning of guns in the US. The NRA and other gun supporters have regularly referred to the increase in the regulation of firearms as a violation of the rights of US citizens.
There have been claims that the second amendment has been taken out of context and that the current use of the second amendment is in contrast to what it was initially intended to achieve. There are numerous loopholes in the second amendment. The lack of clarity in the expression of the rights has further raised debate on the validity of the amendment. The gaps have resulted in the sale of guns to people who do not meet the standards of gun ownership. Court cases that concern the possession of guns have always resulted in unsatisfactory results. There have been cases where people who do not have the qualifications to possess guns have ended up getting away with the illegal possession of guns. Lack of enough rules concerning the guns has resulted in an increased number of acquisition of guns by gangs and other people who intend to engage in criminal activities. The weak regulation has contributed to the presence of illegal gun dealers in the US (Spitzer75).
The first step towards gun control is the ensuring that people who are not eligible do not come into possession of guns. The government should take up more responsibility for the regulation of gun possession. This includes regulating the people who can buy guns. The government should be specific and clear on the age and state of the person allowed to buy a gun. Before purchasing a gun, a person should go through tests to ensure that the person is of sound mental status. Mental instability among gun users has been noted as a leading cause of gun violence. The tests should be comprehensive, and they should be further required to renew gun ownership (McGinty, Webster, and Barry 494).
The next test to gun ownership should be the ability to use the gun. A person willing to purchase a gun should take shooting lessons before the purchase. The seller should ensure that the person is fully able to operate the type of gun that he/she is purchasing. Different types of weapons require different levels of expertise and skill. The possession of the skills to operate the weapon will ensure the reduction of cases of gun violence by accident. There have been cases where people die as a result of wrong use of a gun. To further ensure that the people who own the guns have the skills, they can be tested in this regard.
The regulation of gun ownership should also involve the review of the person’s criminal record. People who have been detained for acts of violence should not be able to purchase guns casually. A person with a criminal past is more likely to be involved in violent cases in the future. The sellers of the gun should be provided with the means of checking on criminal histories of their client (McGinty, Webster, and Barry 494).
The government should make these aspects implementable. The regulations should not only exist on paper; the rules should be applied. They should have specific procedures and defined roles of the involved stakeholders. The courts should be given more ability to act on cases of illegal gun possession. The government should take advantage of existing law enforcement to ensure that guns don’t fall into the wrong hands.
When implementing gun control regulations, various aspects should be considered. The first is the understanding of libertarianism and fundamental rights groups. These two groups have extreme approaches to the issue of guns. Libertarians support the increase in the regulation and potential ban of guns among civilians. Fundamental rights groups hold the opinion that the control of guns is a violation of rights. The ownership of a gun is seen as a fundamental right. The views of both sides should be considered. The ideas of one group should not be dismissed. Fundamental rights groups argue that the possession of guns among civilians will reduce crime rate since the criminals will be intimidated. There is statistical evidence that proves that possession of guns may reduce the crime rate. The rate of homicides has for instance dropped by more than 30% since the mid-1900s. This period has also had an increase in the number of guns among civilians by more than four million. Gun supporters say that the perpetrator will be hesitant to perform the crime if he/she knows that the victim might shoot him (McGinty, Webster, and Barry 494).
The next consideration in gun control is the history of guns and the second amendment. One of the reasons that people are against the regulation of guns is because they feel that the right to gun ownership is part of the tradition and culture of Americans and should be treated that way. Weapons as part of American culture has contributed to increasing support for bodies such as the NRA. These people feel that the increased regulation will be a violation of the liberties for which the forefathers of the country fought so hard. The government and the bodies involved in the regulation should use advocacy and awareness to deal with the issue. Creating awareness among Americans on the need for regulation might lead to change in the view of the gun about history. The creation of awareness will also ensure that the people have the correct information and are not misled by propaganda.
The next issue to consider in gun control is the danger of guns. The concerned bodies and individuals should look at statistics concerning the danger that is posed by the use of guns. The review of this information will paint a clearer picture on the issue. This information will also ensure that more people support the move to control guns. People might be more willing to take up the ideas when they see just how bad the ownership of guns is on the US citizens. The danger of the guns should be made public through the media for people to understand the reasons behind the promotion of gun control fully. The threat of guns should be reviewed through the relation of homicide to guns. Information on murders that were committed through the use of guns is a clear indication that the country needs an increase in the strictness of gun laws.
Positive and negative effects of gun control should also be reviewed in the forming of gun control policies. The regulators should not only look at the positive side. Concentrating too much on the positive side might lead to delusion on the actual implications of the control. The regulators should conduct extensive surveys on the opinions of people regarding the regulation of guns. These surveys should not only be done in regions and states where a majority of the population is liberal but also in areas where the society is mostly conservative. Politically liberal people are more likely to support the regulation of guns. Politically conservative people are more likely to oppose the control of firearms. Collecting information from both sides ensures that the regulators get a clear picture and not only what they want to hear (Rossi 66).
In conclusion, gun control is a debate that has brought up a lot of emotions in the US. The issue should, however, be looked at from a factual point of view. Organizations such as the National Rifle Association should be consulted in the coming up with policies. These organizations should be persuaded to back the measures of gun control. This will make the regulation more useful and popular among people who support the use of guns. Gun supporters should be informed that the gun control measures are not aimed at taking the rights away, but instead, they are intended to ensure the safety of US citizens.
Lott, John R. More guns, less crime: Understanding crime and gun control laws. University of Chicago Press, 2013.
Spitzer, Robert J. Politics of gun control. Routledge, 2015.
McGinty, Emma E., Daniel W. Webster, and Colleen L. Barry. “Effects of news media messages about mass shootings on attitudes toward persons with serious mental illness and public support for gun control policies.” American Journal of Psychiatry 170.5 (2013): 494-501.
Rossi, Peter H. Armed and considered dangerous: A survey of felons and their firearms. Routledge, 2017.