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Gun Control Issues

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Essay title: Gun Control Issues

Gun Control Issues

With the Second Amendment giving American citizens the right to bear arms, and approximately fifty percent of Americans owning some form of a firearm, issues involving the ownership and possession of guns have led to heated debates in American society. Most notably is the issue of gun control. Many feel that the some form of gun regulation is necessary in order to lower the level of gun related violence in the country. On the other hand, the opponents of gun control feel that it would be an infringement on their second amendment rights. The outcome and extent of gun control has strong political implications because it basically determines the present day meaning of the Second Amendment. While each side has strong points to their arguments, one quote by writer Michael Warfel basically sums up the need for gun control. He writes, “ an individual’s right to own and bear arms must be balanced by the greater social needs of a society” (18). Today, based on the number of crimes and violent acts committed with guns, society needs more gun control.

Issues and policies relating to gun control in the United States date back to the late 1800s where the supreme court made the decision that the “right of bearing arms for a lawful purpose is not a right granted by the Constitution” followed up with a decision that states are “free to regulate the rights of citizens to bear arms” (Maguire 60). Later in the 1930’s president Roosevelt tried to pass legislation on gun regulations, but they were defeated in congress. Calls for gun control have usually followed major and highly publicized crimes and attacks involving guns, such as the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1960’s. Also, the shooting of John Lennon and the attempt on President Reagen, as well as the recent string of shootings in American schools. Following the assassinations, the Gun Control Act of 1968 was passed, with its central aim being a national standard on how and to whom guns were sold. This was added on to in 1994 with the Brady Act, which required gun dealers to run background checks on gun buyers before selling them (Rosen 61).

While there is obviously some gun regulation currently in affect in the United States, pro gun control advocates still call for more, while anti gun control advocates strongly oppose them. Along with a number of other things, the two opposing views are backed by different interpretations of the Second Amendment. The Amendment reads, “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” (Maguire 57). Interest groups supporting gun regulation tend to concentrate on the first part of the amendment where the key word is “militia”. In focusing on this part, gun control advocates basically feel that the right to own and posses guns lies with the militia, not the individual (58). The gun regulations they call for include national standards on purchasing firearms, such as criteria for who is eligible to purchase and own guns, as well as longer waiting periods and more in depth background checks, with tougher penalties for those who do not abide. In addition, they call for laws banning specific weapons, such as handguns, and various other

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