Gun Control Americans are faced with an ever-growing problem of violence. Our streets have become a battleground where the elderly are beaten for their social security checks, where terrified women are viciously attacked and raped. Each day teenage gangsters shoot it out for a patch of turf to sell their illegal drugs, and where innocent children are caught daily in the crossfire of drive-by shootings. We cannot ignore the damage that these criminals are doing to our society, and we must take actions to stop these horrors. However, the efforts by some misguided individuals to eliminate the legal ownership of firearms does not address the real problem at hand, and simply disarms the innocent law-abiding citizens who are most in need of a form of self-defense. To fully understand the reasons behind the gun control efforts, we must look at the history of our country, and the role firearms have played in it. The second amendment to the Constitution of the United States makes firearm ownership legal in this country.
There were good reasons for this freedom, reasons which persist today. Firearms in the new world were used initially for hunting, and occasionally for self-defense. However, when the colonist felt that the burden of British oppression was too much for them to bear, they picked up their personal firearms and went to war. Standing against the British armies, these rebels found themselves opposed by the greatest military force in the world at that time. The founding fathers of the country understood that an armed populace aided in fighting off oppression. They made the right to keep and bear arms a constitutionally guaranteed right.
Thomas Jefferson said in the draft of the Virginia Constitution No man shall ever be debarred the use of arms(n. pag.). To day Congress, claiming that they want to take guns out of the hands of criminals, have worked to pass legislation that would take the guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens instead. The question is the efforts of gun control do not address the real problem of crime. Therefore, if we pass laws restricting ownership of firearms, which category of people does it affect? The simple answer is that gun control laws affect law- abiding citizens only.
Criminals will continue to violate these new laws, they will continue to carry their firearms, and they will find their efforts at crime much easier when they know that their victims will be unarmed. An unarmed man stands little chance against an armed one. In many states, including Florida and Texas, citizens have stated that they want to preserve their right to carry firearms for self- defense. Since the late 1980’s, Florida has been issuing concealed weapons permits to law-abiding citizens, and these citizens have been carrying their firearms to defend themselves from rampant crime. The result is that the incidence of violent crime has actually dropped in contrast to the national average.
Previously, Florida had been leading the nation in this category, and the citizens of that state have welcomed the change (Florida State Firearm Laws n. pag.). Gun control advocates tried to claim that there would be bloodshed in the streets when these citizens were given the right to carry. They tried to claim that the cities of Florida would become like Dodge City with shootouts on every street corner, and duels over simple disagreements. These gun control advocates were wrong.
More than 200,000 concealed carry permits have been issued so far, with only 36 of these permits revoked for improper use of a firearm (Facts You Can Use n.pag.). This statistic is easy to understand. It is the law-abiding citizens who are going through the process of getting concealed carry permits so that they may legally carry a firearm. The people who go through this legal process do not want to break the law, and they do not intend to break the law. The people who do intend to break the law will carry their guns whether or not the law allows them to do so.
Today, criminals often carry illegal weapons, including sawed-off shotguns, machine guns, and homemade zip-guns, clearly showing their disregard for the current laws which make these items illegal. When they are caught, the courts regularly dismiss these lesser weapons charges prosecute for the more serious charges, like murder, that are being committed with the weapons. The gun control advocates have argued their case by demonizing the gun itself, rather than addressing the people who commit violent crimes. This is the main fallacy in their argument. They attempt to claim that possession of a gun turns average citizens into bloodthirsty lunatics. This theory falls apart under close scrutiny. If legal possession of a firearm caused this sort of attitude, then why are crime rates highest in areas such as Washington, D.C.
and New York City which have strict gun control laws? Why are crime rates dropping in sates such as Florida where private ownership of firearms is encourage? Simply stated, legal ownership of a gun does not cause crime. The act of making it illegal to own firearms does little to prevent criminals from getting guns. These laws only restrict people who respect the law itself, the people who would only use firearms for legal purposes anyway. When we give people the right to defend themselves, we find that criminals start looking for other victims out of fear that they will become the victims themselves. We must work to reduce crime in America, but we should look at the problem realistically, and develop plans that would be effective.
Obviously, gun control laws are neither realistic, nor effective in reducing crime. Therefore, we must direct our efforts toward controlling crime, not controlling legal ownership of firearms. Bibliography Facts You Can Use. Webcrawler. 5 March 2000. Florida State Firearm Laws. Webcrawler.
5 March 2000. Thomas Jefferson. Draft Virginia Constitution. 1776. Webcrawler. 5 March 2000.