The United States of America is the most heavily armed population in the world. There are 200 Million guns and 60 to 65 Million legal owners who have one or more guns. In the United States, more than half of the households have guns. In 1974, nearly two million guns were produced in the United States, and four hundred thousand guns were imported. In 1975, the House Judiciary Committee Report Number 94-1103 stated that there were about three hundred thousand actual or potential handgun deaths annually! Those
figures are increasing rapidly, if we do not do anything to stop it, it will became a disaster in the future.
The definition of a gun is “a device that discharges a shot, shells, or bullets from a straight tube by a spark-producing mechanism that ignites the gunpowder.” Although there are several different kind of guns, they all work in the same way.( Gun, Encarta ’95)
Many people think that the second amendment gives the United States Citizen the right to bear arm. However, according to the Supreme Court decision on October 3, 1983, the possession of handguns by individuals is not part of the “right to keep and bear arms.” The Second Amendment only applies to the states’ right to keep militaries(Long 78).
Some people believe that guns do not kill people, that people kill people. Yet handguns are used 2.5 times more often than any other murder weapon. We require driver licenses for vehicles and drivers, so it is necessary to require licensing for the more dangerous weapons-guns. Mr. Charles Orasin, the vice president of the National Council to Control Handguns said that the gun control laws are only anti-crime laws, they do not regulate the citizens from using firearms for legal purposes. (Dolan 76, 100)
The most dangerous kind of firearm is a cheaply made handgun, who also called “Saturday Night Special.” They are dangerous because they are easy to get and most of the crimes are committed by them. They are short in the barrel, low in caliber, and made of inferior materials, they only cost a few dollars, so anyone who wanted to commit a crime can afford to buy one. (Dolan 53-54)
Guns are not only useless, but also are dangerous to kept at home. Guns are not very useful for self protection since 90 percent of all break-ins are committed when tenants are away. The guns they keep for self-protection are usually stolen. However, a gun kept for protection is six times more likely to kill someone you know rather than an attacker. Seventy percent of the people killed by handguns are shot by relatives or friends. A lot of people died in the Vietnam War, but there were more people killed by guns in the United States at the same period of time. There were fifty-eight thousand soldiers, marines, sailors and airmen killed in Vietnam, but three hundred thousand people were killed in the United States by guns!(Dolan 53-54).
To keep the people in this nation away from the fear of misuse of guns, the first federal laws were passed in
the early 1900s and dealt with both firearms and explosives. In 1927, Congress passed the Mailing of
Firearms Acts, which prohibited all but certain people from sending a “concealable” weapon through mailing. As the time passed, there were more and more problems caused by guns, so we need new standards for our society. Under present law, a customer’s name and the serial number of the gun are recorded by the dealer when he or she purchases a gun. That information will only be traced within the state. If the gun was used in a crime in other states, that state will have little or no ways of knowing where it came from. In this case, 90 percent of the guns used in crimes are purchased out of state. Another advantage of extending the control to federal lever is to prevent the stolen legal gun into illegal gun. Studies have shown that 35 percent of the guns used in crimes are obtained from pawnshops(Dolan 76-77, 80-81).
As Edward Kennedy, the Senator of Massachusetts said, “Our nation is armed to the teeth at home. Our society is becoming an arsenal of criminal anarchy…crime control means gun control.” For the safety of the society, not every kind of firearm should be allowed to sell in United States. Some of the firearms, like fully loaded automatic machine guns, are out of the requirement of self-protection. So this kind of weapon should be limited. (Long 125-133)
Gun controls are necessary in this society. The United States of America has the highest rates of criminal violence in the world. We cannot say that it has nothing to do with guns. With strict law enforcement and education on the danger of guns, these gun and crime related problems may be solved.
Dolan, Edward F. Jr. Gun Control. New York: A Grolier Company, 1982.
Long, Robert Emmet, ed. Gun Control. New York: The H. W. Wilson Company, 1989.
Wright, James D. et al. Under The Gun. New York: Aldine Publishing Company, 1983.
Ahlers, Julia and Wilt, Michael. Christian Justice. Minnesota: Saint Mary’s Press, 1995
“Gun” Microsoft Encarta’. 1995 edition.
“Rifle”, Photograph, Microsoft Encarta’. 1995 edition.
“Hunting”, Photograph, Compton Interactive Encyclopedia. 1995 edition.