Essay on Firearm and Military Personnel

Submitted By bcannon2003
Words: 1130
Pages: 5

Automatic & Semi-Automatic Handguns:
Not Meant for Everyone In light of the recent mass shootings that have taken place in schools and community places there has been heavy debate over whether or not regular citizens should be allowed to own semi-automatic and automatic firearms. There are both advantages and disadvantages to this argument. With the capacity and power associated with these types of firearms the only individuals who should have access to them are active duty military personnel in combat situations. Civilians have no need for such weapons. Automatic weapons are those that fire until the trigger is released while semi-automatic weapons "are those that fire each time the trigger is pulled, without requiring the shooter to manually reload or recock the weapon" (Cline 1). In the history of the United States, being able to carry a weapon has always been a citizens' right. The Second Amendment gives the personal right to individuals to both keep and bear arms (Zimring). What is not identified is the type of arms ordinary citizens should be entrusted with. To be able to control some of the open-endedness of the Second Amendment, each state has placed regulations on how and what residents can carry. Many states have shall-issue regulations allowing a permit so long as the identified criteria is met. This criteria includes but is not limited to proof of residency, age requirement, a satisfactory background check, attendance at a safety class,and no history of mental illness. Below this, some states have may-issue jurisdiction where local authorities have a say in who receives the permit after the criteria is met or present good cause for having the firearm. Lastly, no-issue jurisdiction grants no permits nor recognizes any permits. As of 2011, there were 41 states that have adopted the right to carry law (National Rifle Association of America). The ongoing debate centers around whether or not citizens carrying weapons has a negative effect on the crime rates across the country. Further the question being asked is whether or not it is necessary for the weapons carried to be semi-automatic or automatic arms. Bottom (1998) found a reduction in murders, rapes, and aggravated assaults after right to carry laws went into effect. While the commonly owned guns are the handgun, rifle, and the shotgun, there is still a large number of registered automatic and semi-automatic weapons. In 1995, there were 240,000 automatic weapons registered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (Zawitz). That number does not reflect the amount of these guns that are illegally owned. With the ownership of such powerful weapons, regardless of if they are legally or illegally owned, there comes a high level of responsibility. Having these types of guns takes self-protection to an extreme and can put others in danger. Because automatic and semi-automatic guns are designed specifically with the intention to expel mass amounts of ammunition in a short of time, there is no need for them to be anywhere but a war zone. When these weapons fall into the wrong hands, mass casualties have been the result. In the past thirty years, there have been at least 62 mass shootings that involved a minimum of four deaths (Follman, Arosen, & Pan). Combined, there was a total of 142 guns used, many obtained illegally and 103 of the weapons being semi-automatic handguns or assault weapons (Follman, Arosen, & Pan). Further, most of the individuals who initiated the killings had no training with the weapons they used. An example of this can be seen in the events that unfolded over 23 days in October of 2002 along Interstate 95. Two individuals drove along the interstate killing ten and wounding three with a XM-15 semi-automatic .233 rifle during 15 random incidents. School shootings have also accounted for several of these mass shootings. The Connecticut school shooting was done with four guns, one being a Glock semi-automatic pistol. This