The Solution for Gun Violence

Over the past century, gun control has evolved into a pressing matter for our country. On one side of the argument there is a group that believes that guns need to be banned and that more laws need to be enacted to protect the general public. The rest believe that the right to bear arms for American citizens is protected by the Second Amendment and that the gun laws in place need to be repealed. However, evidence suggests that illegal firearms are to blame for a large amount of shootings and homicides. Also, banning guns completely will not stop violence in our streets as seen in England in this decade. The most effective way to curb gun violence in America is to enforce greater penalties on people who possess illegal firearms. In addition, prospective gun owners must have a thorough background check performed as well as take part in mandatory firearm safety courses.

In this heated debate, there are two large parties that struggle to press their agenda into government. This dispute began when the very first gun restriction law passed in our country in 1934, the National Firearms Act. This law “required the registration of certain firearms, imposed taxes on the sale and manufacture of firearms, and restricted the sale and ownership of high-risk weapons such as machine guns and sawed-off shotguns” (Gale, a Cengage Company). Soon after this law was passed, it was questioned by the other side of this argument, which supports the Second Amendment and citizens rights to bear arms. This group believes that gun control is unconstitutional and unacceptable. They attempt to repeal current legislation as well as pass new laws that protect gun owner’s rights.

Five years after the National Firearms Act was passed, it was challenged in the Supreme Court case, United States v. Miller. This case had to do with “the interstate transportation of an unregistered sawed-off shotgun, a favorite weapon of gangsters during this time” (Gale, a Cengage Company). The law was upheld and would lead to more gun control laws throughout the century. However, anti-gun control laws would later be passed. In, 2008, the Supreme Court ruled on District of Columbia v. Heller. This time, “the court ruled that the Second Amendment prohibits the federal government from making it illegal for private individuals to keep loaded handguns in their homes” (Gale, a Cengage Company). This shows a shift in the Supreme Court’s beliefs, drawing the line on how far gun control can go in our country.

In the pro gun control argument, there are flaws, which are visible in Washington D.C.. This city has been plagued by gun violence in recent years. However, the city has very strict gun laws, as it “prohibits registration of sawed-off shotguns, machine guns, short-barreled rifles, assault weapons and .50 BMG rifles” (King). The underlying problems that scar the city is the amount of illegal firearms that flood into the capital and the punishment that goes with this behavior. These weapons are used to commit numerous crimes, such as armed robberies and homicides. Even though this is a massive issue, the district “voted to decrease sentences for felons convicted of illegally possessing a gun in the District and to reduce the impact of prior felon-in-possession convictions on any future sentence an offender might incur” (King). Because of this relaxed sentencing, these convicted felons are not afraid or respectful of the law. Instead, they spit on it and return to their lives of crime, bolstered by these illegal weapons. This is a very pressing matter, in which the pro gun control movement has turned a blind eye towards.

Instead of creating more laws that will be disregarded by criminals, the district needs to increase the sentencing on men and women who are found in possession of an illegal firearm. By doing this, criminals are going to think twice before acquiring and using these weapons. This will make the streets of Washington D.C. a much safer place for it citizens.

Another hole that has been shown in the pro gun control side is the extreme rise in stabbings in England. This country has some of the most strict gun laws in the world, which have been expanded within the last decade. With the reduction of guns has come a rise in stabbings, many of which have been fatal. This is horrible, as “The number of homicides in England and Wales hit their highest level in a decade, official statistics showed on Thursday, as authorities struggle to halt a surge in fatal stabbings” (Nicosia). Again, this shows that gun control does not protect from all forms of violence. Now, criminals have turned to knives, which are easy to hide in public and do not make a sound. This is a crisis which England has not been able to solve. In 2018, “there was a 12 percent increase in homicides” (Nicosia). These facts point to truth that strict gun laws have not been able to protect British civilians from violence. America needs to learn from these recent events in England and not follow in their footsteps.

Additionally, anti-gun control supporters have major issues as well. In Louisiana, gun laws are extremely relaxed. For example, if a person is at least seventeen years old, they can openly carry a firearm without a permit in this state. Also, there is no law requiring the registration of guns. However, this state “ ranks first in the nation for the overall rate of gun violence” (Caiazza). This shows a monumental flaw in Second Amendment follower’s beliefs. The state of Louisiana stands for everything that this group believes in, yet these relaxed firearm laws have been unable to protect citizens from danger. This issue is not only found in Louisiana, as “the 10 states with the weakest gun laws collectively have levels of gun violence that are more than three times higher than the 10 states with the strongest gun laws” (Caiazza).

Again, there is a direct relationship to nonexistent gun laws promoting violence in our country. In order to reduce the amount of firearms being used for illegal activity and homicides, prospective gun owners need to have background checks performed, as well as take part in a mandatory firearm safety course. By doing this, states can track who owns guns, and prepare these men and women for the responsibility to own a firearm. Also, these background checks will weed out convicted felons and people with mental health issues. This will prevent deadly weapons from falling into the hands of the wrong people, while still allowing Americans to bear arms to protect them and their families from danger.

Another state in which gun violence is a pressing issue is Alabama. Similar to Louisiana, this state allows open carrying of a firearm without a permit as long as you are eighteen years old. In 2017, Alabama was second in the nation for the rate of gun deaths per year in our country. In this state “ 1,100 people died from complications of gunshot wounds—573 suicides, 506 homicides, and 21 accidental discharges” (Webb-Hehn). These statistics are sobering, as over 1,000 people lost their life to a gun. By performing background checks, these numbers could be reduced significantly. This method will point out criminals and prevent them from acquiring a legal firearm. This can reduce the amount of homicides. For suicides, some of these men and women suffer from mental health issues and are unstable. Again, the background check will highlight a person’s health history and will not allow these mentally ill people the opportunity of gun ownership.

For accidental discharges, many of these could have been prevented if prospective gun owners were educated through a formal safety course prior to owning the firearm. This statistic is very sad, as the operator of the firearm had no intention to kill anyone of hurt themselves. However, due to a lack of experience and comprehension of firearm use they put others as well as themselves in danger. With weapons that are so lethal, owners need to fully understand how to operate a gun safely. This tool of protection can quickly be turned into a machine of destruction and future owners need to be aware of these truths so that they can remain safe.

To reduce gun violence, penalties for illegal gun ownership need to be expanded. In addition, background checks and mandatory safety courses need to be enacted to ensure that firearms are not purchased by dangerous and unstable people. For the pro gun control side, there are holes in their argument that are clearly seen. Places in which strict gun laws have failed are Washington D.C. and England. In our nation’s capital, illegal firearms paired with relaxed sentencing for people who are in possession of an illegal gun are to blame for the elevated gun violence here. In England, deadly stabbings have risen dramatically over the past decade due to the stringent gun laws. This evidence shows that removing the right to bear arms is not a solution for violence in our nation.

However, states such as Louisiana and Alabama have very relaxed gun laws and their gun violence rates are some of the highest in the country. In these cases, background checks and mandatory firearm safety courses can curb gun violence. By doing these suggestions, these states will reduce the amount of guns being obtained by convicted felons as well as the mentally unstable. The safety course will show prospective gun owners the real dangers of owning a gun and how to promote safety during use. Gun violence is a real issue in the United States of America, but extreme laws from both sides will not solve this prevalent crisis.

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