May 11, 2014
The Debate over Gun Control
Crime and guns. The two seem to go hand in hand with one another. But are the two really associated? A question that society should ask themselves is do guns necessarily lead to crime? Another question is if so do laws placing restrictions on firearm ownership and use stop the crime or protect the citizens? These are the issues many citizens and lawmakers are asking themselves when setting about to create gun control laws. The debate over gun control, however, is nothing new. Gun control has been around since 1924, Candidate, Robert Follete said, “our choice is not merely to support or oppose gun control but to decide who can own which guns under what conditions.” Today we have seen this debate more and more due to very tragic incidences such as Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, Colorado Columbine theatre, and locally Thurston High School. These are the very reason for the formation of gun control laws.
Guns are extremely powerful weapons that many individuals believe are evil. They are not toys and can cause destruction, harm or even death. Yet, they can be used to defend and protect or to threaten and kill. Any way you look at it, guns are a powerful item, not only fo what they can do, but psychology. As young adults it is important to stay vigilant for the current events and issues circulating our country today, one of which is the controversial issue of gun control. It is vitally important to pay attention to where gun control laws are headed. The direction that gun control will take is not only going to affect us as a society, but as well as our nation. It will be our future as well since its becoming more and more well known. Some individuals are asking why is gun control such a hot debate? Perhaps to answer this question it would be important to look at some key statistics concerning handguns in our society. In the United States, where nearly half of all households own at least one gun, nearly 30,000 people die from a gunshot each year (NRA). From this statistic alone no wonder gun control is such an important issue. Yet as bad as this may seem, the number of firearm related incidents have decreased over the years. In the 1990’s the number of people killed or wounded by firearms was at an all-time high. In 1993 however the United States saw huge decline in deaths due to firearm (NRA). Even fatal firearms accidents have dropped, almost more than 40 percent in the last decade. Today gun related deaths are at the lowest levels ever recorded (NRA). You may ask yourself why the sudden decline?
Antigun supporters would like to tell you that due to the increase in gun control laws have made a decrease in deaths, while pro-gun supporters say that the decrease is due to unemployment rates along with other factors. The main question here is, do gun control laws work? In a variety of statistics it would show that it is so. Yet, in order to understand the issue of gun control it is important to look at the current gun control laws that are now in effect.
There are a number of laws both at the state and federal levels. Both state and federal restrict the sale and purchase of guns through a variety of laws. Yet laws for guns vary from state to state and some federal laws that affect nationwide. These laws include that no person convicted of a crime can own a gun or purchase a firearm; a person must be 21 or older to purchase a handgun and that you must be 18 years old to be buying a firearm legally. The selling of firearms states that “a persons who engage in the business of buying or selling firearms must be licensed and have various background checks” (NRA). The law that may have the most impact on citizens and gun control is the 1993 Handgun Control Act which is now in effect throughout the United States. This law and act requires a waiting period for the purchasing a handgun. It also started a background check system to stop criminals from buying a firearm.