Argumentative Essay Gun Control
Weapon? English 101 Argumentative/Persuasive Essay 4/12/2013 Word Count 1,255 Readability 12. 3 There are new proposed gun control laws in the aftermath of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut that occurred on December 14th, 2012. This incident claimed the lives of twenty 1st graders and six adults and has set the government in motion to try to prevent future acts of violence by strengthening gun control laws in the United States (Smith). This has been a topic that has been an extremely emotional debate with people on both sides unwilling to compromise.
Gun advocates and critics of the new proposed gun laws argue that these new laws infringe on our constitutional right to bear arms; however, the new laws do not take away that right, they simply add minor restrictions in the search to put an end to gun violence. With the rise in gun violence today, we need to take some sort of action.
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If we look at the history of gun control in the United States, we find that laws concerning gun control are not anything new; in fact, the first federal gun control law was the National Firearms Act of 1934.
This law imposed a restrictive two hundred dollar tax on the manufacture or sale of machine guns and sawed-off shotguns. Also, all sales of these weapons were to be documented in a national registry (The Long). Then in 1968, a new law passed. This was the Gun Control Act of 1968 and it was the first major gun control law in America. It prohibited certain people from being able to purchase firearms including convicted felons, fugitives, minors, individuals with a history of mental illness, dishonorable discharged veterans, expatriates and illegal aliens (Riczo).
This law also expanded licensing requirements to more firearms dealers and ordered more detailed records of sales (The Long). Continuing on gun control laws throughout American history, the Brady Handgun Violence Protection Act of 1993 established background checks for gun purchasers. This law was passed to insure that no firearms would be sold to the people listed in the 1968 regulation. These background checks are required only on sales through licensed dealers, not on sales through unlicensed private sellers who do not sell firearms as a business, with the exception of certain states.
Then in 1994, a ten year ban was placed on the production of nineteen listed new semi-automatic assault weapons with the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. Some of these weapons that were banned include the AR-15, some versions of the AK-47, the Uzi, the MAC-10 and the TEC-9. Along with the banning of these assault rifles, large capacity ammunition magazines were limited to ten rounds. This ban was lifted in 2004 when it expired and attempts to reinstate this law failed (The Long).
Amidst these gun control laws that regulate firearm sales, there have been several laws that protect the rights of gun owners as well as gun dealers and manufacturers. The Firearm Owner’s Protection Act of 1986 was passed by Congress amid complaints that the government was abusing its power while enforcing gun control laws. This law restricts the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms from inspecting gun dealers more than once a year, unless multiple violations have been discovered. This law also prohibits the government from creating a national registry of gun ownership.
In 2003, the Tiahrt Amendment was passed that forbids law enforcement from releasing information to the public as to where criminals purchased their firearms. Again in 2005, a law passed where gun manufacturers were granted immunity from civil lawsuits involving crimes with firearms; therefore, they would not be held accountable for the adverse effects of the weapons they manufacture. This law is called the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (The Long). Looking at this history of gun control in the U. S. , it is not such a stretch that now, in the year 2013, we are proposing to strengthen these laws.
The new proposed gun control laws include expanding background checks, banning certain assault rifles and limiting the number of rounds in gun ammunition magazines. There is also a focus on safety in schools and offering more help to the mentally ill. Also, the government is proposing tougher penalties for people who purchase guns with the intention of selling them to criminals (Remarks). The first of these new proposals is the requirement of universal background checks for anyone who wants to purchase a firearm.
This will hopefully close some loopholes in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System and prevent criminals and people with a history of mental illness from obtaining firearms (Remarks). As the background check system stands now, people who buy guns from gun shows and other unlicensed sellers do not have to complete a background check (Stopping). For the Columbine massacre on April 20th, 1999, the killers purchased their guns at a gun show from an unlicensed seller, so no background check was performed.
On April 16th, 2007 was the shooting at Virginia Tech and this shooter obtained a gun from a licensed gun dealer which he should have been prohibited from buying. He was able to purchase this weapon because his records were never reported to the FBI’s gun background check system. Again in Tucson on January 8th, 2001, a killer acted with guns he should have been prohibited from buying because his records also were not in the database. These considerable loopholes in our current background check system need to be closed.
Thirty-four Americans are murdered with guns every day and over 400,000 Americans have been killed with guns since 1968 (An Updated). When it comes to guns owned by private citizens, there are weapons that are suitable for protection and weapons that are suitable for sport. Guns such as the AR-15 assault rifle are designed for the “quick and efficient massacre of human beings. ” The same applies to large capacity ammunition magazines. Why should the average citizen need this kind of weapon or magazines that can hold thirty or even one hundred rounds (Graves)?
The AR-15 was used in the recent massacre in Newton, Connecticut in December 2012 and was also used in the Colorado theater shooting in July 2012 (Smith). During a recent speech this month in Colorado, President Barack Obama brought up the fact that there are “well organized” and “well financed” gun advocates that are installing fear in the public of what these new proposals mean (Jackson). Some people feel that these new laws are breaching on our constitutional right as Americans to bear arms, when in fact, the new proposed gun control laws do not prohibit law-abiding citizens from owning firearms. They hopefully will decrease the number of weapons that fall into the hands of criminals, as well as the mentally ill, and decrease violent crime in the United States (Rampton). Obama stated that he respects the Second Amendment and that his proposals for new gun control laws do not involve gun registration or confiscation (Jackson). At the recent memorial in Connecticut the President let the American public know that he is willing to do everything in his power to put an end to gun violence in America.
He states, “No single law, no set of laws, can eliminate evil from the world or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society. But that can’t be an excuse for inaction” (Smith). If having stricter laws regarding gun control will stop one person, ten people, or even a hundred people from committing these horrific crimes we have seen here in America, is it not worth it? Work Cited Graves, G, Earl. “When Will We Stand Against the Insanity of Gun Violence? ” Black Enterprise. 01 Jan. 2013: 10. eLibrary. Web. 14 Apr. 2013. Jackson, David