Daryl L. Wassell
March 10, 2013
Gun Control Effectiveness; Fact or Fiction
The second amendment gave all citizens “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms”, and that right accordingly “shall not be infringed” (National Archives, 2012). Within this statement the founding fathers rose to the level of securing the countries new freedom with defense by any means necessary. While the second amendment permits gun ownership, it is also with the intent of securing our land from imminent national threat. As it states, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State” (National Archives, 2013) affords the people the right to bear arms. The idea that the second amendment grants owners privilege to own assault rifles is ridiculous; however, more so is added legislation that yet has to prove deterrence of violence.
To begin a debate on gun violence and legislation, one should start with where the escalation has come from, war. Many would believe that weapons of mass destruction have caused the greatest numbers of death around the world. In fact, no nuclear, biological, or mass acts of terror have done greater damage than standard munitions. Machine guns, rifles, and pistols are among the chief instruments of death. The figures are difficult to pinpoint but are estimated to be 60 to 90 percent of all deaths by armed conflict. Some estimate “the number of conflict deaths at 27,000–51,000, a more realistic number of direct deaths is between 80,000 and 108,000 for 2003” (Salt of the Earth, 2005). With this in mind it is understood that international arms trading may be a large factor in violence worldwide.
There have been increasing efforts within the international community as civilian casualties have risen exponentially throughout the twentieth century. Records obtained from UNICEF claim “non-combatant casualties at about five percent at the start of the century…fifteen percent during the First World War… and culminating in around ninety percent during the1990s” (Cornish, 2008, p. 30-31). As a result the United Nations have embarked on an international trade treaty to govern specific principles to follow. Great Britain, along with several other countries, was the first in 2006 to introduce a resolution to establish standards for an international arms trade agreement. The treaty that is to be proposed is not unlike our second amendment. In essence it affords each country the right to defend itself from outside aggression. In all, “of the 192 member states of the United Nations, 153 voted for the resolution at its launch” (Cornish, 2008, p. 30-31). Still the largest obstacle to overcome internationally is illegal arms trading.
While the international community has adopted a sense of urgency with regard to gun violence and illegal arms trading, in the United States there are still several other obstacles. Video games and movie violence pervade American lifestyle. Depending on what state you live in, the laws are different concerning what is and what isn’t legal with regard to gun ownership. The United Nations determined that it is within their best interest to control violence and guns on an international level. It would seem that the United States should react similarly with federal law that applies nationally instead of state-by-state. Before the country moves forward with another ban on guns, it might be important to note what has been done so far in the judicial system and determine the effectiveness of said actions.
In 1791 the United States ratified the second amendment to the Constitution granting the rights of its citizens to bear arms with no infringement. Subsequently there have been eight separate acts developed for gun control dating back to 1934. Franklin D. Roosevelt introduced the National Firearms Act in 1934 “brought about by the lawlessness and rise of gangster culture during prohibition” (Gettings & McNiff,