Every government or authority charged with the obligation of meeting its people’s security needs in the world today does find itself tossing the question about the authenticity of gun ownership. The question that goes unanswered is whether gun ownership is a security right to those entitled or a security threat to those who don’t have it. In America, the subject of Gun control is among the most controversial political issues, with a vast majority of citizens considering it their constitutional right to own a gun while those against it going ahead to question the validity of such old constitutional amendments in today’s changing world and citing the rising homicide rate across the nation; which according to government’s life expectance studies shows that 1 in every 240 Americans will be murdered (Whipple, 2006). With this kind of statistics, and living in a country in which there is high relative freedom to possess deadly weapons, it is no wonder that the subject of gun control has attracted as much controversy as it has. This paper is an in-depth investigation of the issues surrounding gun control in the United States.
History of gun violence in America
Key political figures in American history to date have fallen prey to gun-owning assassins; From Presidents Abraham Lincoln 1865, James Garfield 1881, William McKinley 1901, President John F. Kennedy 1963, and Martin Luther King jr. 1968 (Whipple, 2006). Not to forget Columbine High school massacre, Virginia Tech massacre, beltway Sniper attacks, and the recent Tucson shooting; all these killings time and again have sent American lawmakers back to the drawing board but emerged out with little or nothing substantial at all due to there outstanding differences in opinion about gun ownership and regulation, and interpretation of available gun control acts.
History and culture of guns in America
America’s birth and success story is pegged on the use of guns as a weapon of defense, tool of trade and sport, and most important as means of conquest and expansion of borders; this has elevated guns status from being just a convenient tool to renowned objects of desire across the land since time immemorial (Fellenzer, 2004). Guns to Americans have been a rich heritage, a symbol of success and pride of citizenship. This notion has time and again thwarted efforts to gun control and instead of raising the rate of gun ownership and dealership as there are more than 300 million firearms in civilian hands as per the year 2010; according to Americas national gall up polls, a worse state than any of the prior years. The role guns play in America’s culture like a complicated puzzle is hard to analyze as none of those interviewed ever admit the intent of committing a crime, although some politicians against gun control have ever acknowledged the importance of gun ownership by homesteads as a defense tool from a feared to be tyranted regime.
Advocates of gun control arguments
Those supporting gun control in America argue that they don’t ignore the right of an individual to protect themselves against crime; but maintain that to protect oneself against crime can come in other forms like disarming the community, empowering the central militia through participatory governance, and abiding by the law of the land. They assert that it is the sole responsibility of the state to offer such protection, that times have changed and that unlike old America; today’s state has got adequate machinery to meet every citizen’s security needs (Fellenzer, 2004). They add that it beats logic to empower the state through taxation to offer security, and at the same time to take it upon one’s self to carry guns and form decentralized militias over the land in the name of exercising the right to self-protection, they say that since not every citizen is willing and able to possess and use a gun, those without would be taken advantage of and become the target of crime turning the state to a jungle setup where only the strongest survives. They further argue that with today’s state of technology, it is difficult to prevent access of arms to minors with the current loose gun regulations. 3% of schoolchildren aged between 13 and 17 years admitted ever seeing a classmate brought a gun to school, gall up polls 2010 (Kleck, 1991).
Opponents of gun control arguments
Those against gun control maintain that it’s their God-given right to own a gun and that gun control once affected can not control crime. They say that it’s also provided in the constitution, citizens rights to own a gun; i.e. the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution which reads “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed” (“Right to Arms”, 2009, p. 1). Opponents to gun control do argue that the absence of guns does not translate to the absence of crime and that it’s the intent to commit a crime that needs to be tamed and not vice versa. They further argue that America’s gun affairs should not be compared to any other country’s since America has got a unique background and challenges; some gun control opponents would cite multiculturalism as the main fuel to America’s high crime rate. They would also question the drift of focus to matters that are not the real concern like gun ownership by citizens, something they have been able to live with for centuries, ironically leaving more important and argent issues unattended, e.g. sky-high-rocketing costs of living, increasing unemployment rates, declining economy and terrorism among others. They argue that a criminal with his intent to do a crime will still do it with or without a gun (“Right to Arms”, 2009). They maintain that a gun is their national symbol of identity and that they own guns for purposes of self-defense, sport, and hunting.
Politics in gun control
From the above arguments Americans don’t seem to get over this ever-burning issue of gun ownership anytime soon, the reason being that there are as many supporters of gun control among politicians across the divide just as there are opponents to the same (Kleck, 1991s). These two groups equal in number hold their views with so much passion and it is not easy for gun control motion to pass. Constitutional experts also do argue that if gun control bills pass; it will be as hard to implement the law just as it has been hard to implement liquor-related laws. Former President Bill Clinton did ascent a bill restricting gun dealership to the law during his tenure office, research figures show that such expected changes never materialized and that the only success was the bill to get ascended to law, real change was never got realized (“Right to Arms”, 2009). In America today the issue of gun control does not seem to get resolved through politics as it is not political and those most concerned are not politicians.
A large number of politicians and the public at large continue to have sharp differences in opinion about Gun control; the issue is likely to remain unresolved for a long time. Questions drawn from heated debates leave one puzzled about the seriousness of the matter. One will not stop to wonder whether gun ownership is the issue or if there could be some other hidden concern about gun business, whether politicians and the public, in general, are overreacting due to turn off things, like when a schoolboy points gun to his classmates and then to himself, whether gun ownership is to be blamed for those many recorded crimes or whether it is another shift of blame and whether families have failed in their responsibilities of bringing up responsible citizens. From a careful analysis of people’s sentiments across the divide, I see those for and those against gun control in America as the same people speaking the same words but in different languages. The gust and passion in their utterances during these vicious debates is nothing but the pure spirit of patriotism. Americans, therefore, need to employ a different approach in fighting crime if they have to succeed in implementing gun control.
Fellenzer, N. (2004). The Final Bell (Hopefully). Web.
Kleck, G. (1991). Guns and Violence: A Summary of the Field. Web.
Second Amendment. (2009). Right to Arms. Web.
Whipple, J. (2006). Guns in America, The Facts. Web.