Controversy Paper: Gun Control

Part I:

Gun control is a controversial, complicated, and delicate topic, because it affects a large number of people in our society. I’m an individual that is afraid of firearms, not because they seem intimidating to a petit female, but due to the physical harm it causes after it has been discharged. The gun control topic is very unfamiliar to me and I am unaware of the gun law regulations through ought the country.

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I was under the impression that all the states had the same law regulations regarding firearms. However, that is not the case as California and Connecticut have the strictest gun law regulations in the country. On the other hand, Montana and Idaho do have very lenient firearm laws. For example, they don’t require a background check to purchase a gun and they don’t ban the use of assault rifles for their residents. As such, the laws regarding gun control can wildly vary from state to state. People use firearms for very different purposes, such as to protect themselves, to hunt, for pleasure, and to maliciously kill people. Lately, television has reflected gun violence in cities all over the country. Various shootings have been broadcasted on NBC Nightly News, Noticias Univision (news in Spanish), Today, Dateline NBC, and TV shows like First 48, a homicide documentary series, filmed in various cities throughout the United States. There has been a huge waive in gun violence over the last year that we need to ask ourselves what is contributing and leading to this spike? I believe that all states need stricter gun law regulations than ever before due to the malicious and intended killings that have recently occurred in our country.

I was raised in a conservative and Catholic family back in El Salvador. My family has never used or own a firearm. This could be seen as a great accomplishment as they lived through a civil war that left thousands of dead, that has been the bloodiest time in El Salvador’s history so far. In 1980 when the civil war started most of my uncles and aunts were forced to immigrate as they chose to not pick up a gun to kill their own people. They opted to migrate to the United States and come cross the border illegally. They chose to immigrate to an unknown country to start a new life without their parents, siblings, sons and daughters, with the dream to work and save up some money to reunite at some point in time. It was a very hard decision for them to leave absolutely everything behind in the middle of the war. However, their values were kept and they chose not to kill innocent people. It is important to note that boys over 7 years old had to serve the civil war or they were shot by the government or militia members. In addition, girls over that age also had to serve in the war. Girls and women were obligate to cook for the soldiers and to please them sexually. Children were taken from their homes and schools to soldiers camps where they were provided with guns and trained to kill. When the soldiers arrived to the schools everyone knew that they had to go outside and make a straight line facing the soldiers. The soldiers from the military kidnap the 3 strongest kid. It was an era where the children were the ones who suffered the most in the war. My grandparents didn’t have another option than become friendly with these soldiers that kidnapped the kids as anyone that spoke against them were annihilated. My grandparents owned a small convenience store in which the soldiers benefited from free snacks and beverages. My grandmother was forced to make them hot meals and my grandfather was also forced to give them alcohol and cigars while they were stationed in the country side where we are from. Please note that this was the only way my grandparents survived the civil war. The war left thousands of orphan kids, a torn country, civilians and kids trained in weapons, and thousands of guns. In a way I believe this killing mentality formed the gangs of young boys and girls that in a way evolved to the most violent known gangs in the world the Mara Salvatrucha also knows as MS -13.

One reason that my family doesn’t own firearms is because they are not violent people and they respect and love the meaning of life. I still remember the words from my grandma when she told us that no one has the right to take a person’s life. They taught from a young age that firearms and violence is the easiest way out of society’s problems and that dialogue and communication is the only way out. However, arms have become the easiest option out of our own problems since it’s the easiest route to instantaneously kill and resolve our problems by pulling the trigger. Firearms only lead to more violence and destruction as it tears through communities, families, countries, and most importantly human life which is precious. My grandparents have always put themselves as examples of preventing more violence in any circumstances or event, for example the violent civil war era they had to suffer and face during the 80’s in which they survived without firing a weapon. They always said that firearms are used by those that are evil and that fail to have an open dialogue to solve one’s issues. I recall asking my grandfather about the war, I asked him why he never used a firearm to defend himself in that bloody era and he stated that if I had used a gun against the governments soldiers he would have died internally. He was a man of his word and honor and would have rather died for what he believed in than to live a coward by shooting and killing another human life.

Part II and Part III:

We live in a country where we have freedom of speech and the right to bear arms. There are people in this country that are in favor for gun control regulations and there are people that are against firearms policies naturally. Gun control is the set of laws or policies that control the manufacture, sale, transfer, possession, change, or use of firearms by people not in the military. California has one of the stricter gun law regulations in the nation. To purchase a shotgun or a rifle in California a person first needs to be at least 18 years of age. To buy a handgun, a person must be 21 years old. Yes, I know that you might be thinking that I have those 2 sentences backwards but sadly I don’t. The law states that the purchaser has to present evidence of identity such as California’s Drivers License or Identification card issue by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The purchaser also has to provide proof of legally within the United States and provide proof of residency. Before purchasing a firearm, the purchaser needs to take the Handgun Safety Certificate and pass it with at least 76%. There is a ten-day waiting period after purchasing a firearm to obtain the fire gun.

There is a retail store in Fairfield where I went to try to purchase a firearm, the store is called Sportsman Warehouse, this store is an outdoor gear store, where they also sell handguns and rifles. The first thing I saw before entering to the store was an orange sign in the front door that stated the following Firearm Policy: For the safety of our patrons and staff, all un-holstered firearms entering Sportsman’s Warehouse must be caused, unloaded, and presented to Customer Service at the font of the store. If you plan on removing your sidearm in the store, it must also be caused, unloaded, and presented to Customer Service at the front of the store (Sportsmen Wearhouse Gun Policy). As soon as I entered the store I observed where the firearms where located. While I was walking and headed for the guns I passed through the gun bullets section and I noticed that they were locked in a glass showcase. I kept walking for what I felt was a solid minute looking through all the varieties of bullets until I reached the actual firearm section. I looked up and saw the rifles and handguns in front of me. I noticed that some of the guns were in a glass showcase, but most of them were in the back wall without any security. There were two salesmen helping in that section and one of them asked me if I needed help. He came to me with a curious face and I wondered if he was asking himself what a young female that looks like she is 16 years old that is about 5’1 long and weighing no more than 105 pounds doing in a gun store looking directly at AR-15’s. I looked directly in his eyes and told him I wanted to buy a gun. Without any more questions he asked which gun I wanted while pointing back at the huge selections and different options they had. I was surprised because he didn’t ask any other questions. Since I’ve never been in a gun store or interested in purchasing a gun in my life I was hoping to be asked a few more behavioral questions from the actual sales guy on why I wanted to purchase it in the first place. As such, I pointed to the gun I wanted and asked him what paperwork was needed to start the process. He said that a valid and current Driver License, Firearm Safety Certificate, and DMV car registration was all the requirements. I showed him my driver license, he saw it, and instantly replied that I just need the DMV car registration and to apply for the certificate I only need to pay $25 dollars to Customer Service and take a test of 30 questions that composed of true or false answers. He stated that the test was very simple and that I could get extra help if I went to the Department of Justice website as they had some study materials there. I quickly made an excuse to get out of the situation as in reality I would never purchase a gun.

There are some people that sell any type of firearms on the black market, or in the streets without been certified by the Department of Justice. It does beg the questions where are all these guns coming from specially for these schools and mass shooting in the US. Where do these serial killers purchase their inventory? Would it be a possibility that they are coming from the black market? These sick individuals are not purchasing it from the streets, but they selecting what are known as pick easy stores where they can send a straw purchaser. A straw purchaser is a person who executes the paper work and purchase a firearm on behalf the actual buyer. It’s basically a middleman that has a clean record but is charging a fee for these services. Easy stores can be find in states where gun law regulations are not stricter. For example, Montana and Idaho, they don’t have gun law regulations.

In a Pennsylvania case filed in 2006, a straw purchaser bought 27 guns, revisiting the same store 15 times in about nine months, in exchange for crack and/or money. In Georgia, a trafficking ring used straws to buy 26 guns over seven visits to the same store and then resold them on the streets of New York City. (Parnell, 6).

You may be asking how it is possible that a single person bought 27 guns from the same store? Easy target states need to pass stricter gun law regulations. Florida is one of the states that need to pass stricter gun regulations. On Valentine’s Day a school in Florida was a victim of shooting by Nikolas Cruz a 19-year-old boy that owns an AR-15 military-style rifle. In United States people have to be 21 years old to buy alcohol, but they can buy a rifle at 18 years old.

Another mass shooting that supports stricter gun laws to be executed in the United States is the Orlando nightclub shooting. This shooting took place in a nightclub in Florida in June of 2016. Fifty people were murdered and many more were left wounded. This terrible and upsetting event has been by far the deadliest in the past thirty-four years. As America wrestles with this reality, we again ask ourselves what can be done to prevent these events. While the relationship between the number of guns in this country and murder is definitely true, gun rights supporters point out that relationship does not equal. The reason for fewer murders in certain states could be linked to the number of guns present in that state. The number of guns present in that state could be linked to the amount of people fighting for gun rights, which could be linked to the number of gun owners in that state. It seems like we are in a war with firearms.

War is not just a conflict between states. There is another type of war, which is far more bitter, that is the war of despotic leader who oppress their own people. It is a war of those to whom people have entrusted their lives and destinies, but who have betrayed that trust. It is war of those to whom people have entrusted their security, but who directed their weapons against their own people (Karman 526-527).

To control this war with firearms the three most critical gun control policies that needs to be put forward are universal background checks, a ban on high-capacity magazines, and a ban on certain attack weapons. Background checks, like all other gun control policies, have always been questionable. A background check includes looking up criminal, commercial, and financial records of a person or organization. Gun control supporters argues for safety. Background checks do not only include the history of a buyer, but also at a person’s mental health. About 80% of the general public blames the mental illness of the shooter. This demonstrates the importance of background checks; if a sick in the mind person possesses a gun, the chance of a mass shooting only grows. This agreement has led to demands for tighter restrictions on mentally ill for buying a firearm. Another case in which background checks are necessary is a person’s drug record. Alcohol and drug addict influence a person’s behavior greatly. Alcohol abuse is twice as strong of a prognosticator or of violence as mental illness, whereas drug use increases chance of violence to three times as likely. These show that background checks have the possible ability to prevent guns falling into the hands of those who should not be in possession of a deadly weapon.

Part IV

The Constitution of the United States was designed as a set of rules, which were written with the purpose of securing the basic rights of all United States people as such, it serves as an outline for the laws of the land by commanding the powers of the people and what is acceptable under the watch of the United States government. One right in particular is the right to own and operate a firearm. For instance, over the past years, there has been much debate over whether the use of firearms have been within the standards of the written law due to huge numbers of terrible events which have been tied to the use of handguns. Many believe that these events could have been prevented if the United States government had revisited and forced on people additional restrictions on the nations gun bearing population by way of recommending effective ways to combat gun use and introduce new and interesting approaches towards the extreme harshness of gun activity. With that being said, it remains clear that gun control is an issue which has had a huge negative effect on our people and as a result, an appraisal of the second amendment should be managed and the meaning for the right of the people to keep and bear arms must be re-evaluated to benefit all.

The second amendment gives us the right to bear arms and states verbatim, A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep The and bear Arms, shall not be infringed (Baltzell).

Eduardo a 22-year-old man that lives in Fairfield stated the following after asking him several questions about gun control. I not only own a gun because is my individual right, but also for protection, because I have enemies and one of these days I may have enough and kill all of them and end up in jail for several years (Eduardo). He also stated that he suffered from anger problems. He bought his gun legally as he has no criminal record but he suffers from anger issues and his family is worried that one of these days something will set him off. It is important to note that Eduardo started to sell drugs at the age of 16 to be able to help support his mom and sister by pitching in to pay rent. I went to school with Eduardo and till this day we keep in touch as he sometimes vents out and calls me when he cannot control his anger management issues. The medicine that he has been prescribed are not working as he doesn’t take them. You can have the best doctors and the best medicine for his diagnosis but it’s a moot point if the patient doesn’t want to be helped. I’m sure there are many Eduardo’s all over the US that own a handgun and have mental issues. I think it is critical that we evaluate our gun laws and that we have stricter requirements like having a mandatory mental evaluation before one can own a gun.

According to the ProCon website The United States has 88.8 guns per 100 people, or about 270,000,000 guns, which is the highest total and per capita number in the world. 22% of Americans own one or more guns (35% of men and 12% of women). (Background of the issue).

I don’t know how many people that have mental problems owns guns, I am sure that not even the congress knows this data. The only thing we know is how many guns are in this country, but we don’t know what the individual health of each of this people is, United States don’t require a psychological test before buying a gun. If this were one of the requirements in all the states of this nation gun violence wouldn’t be as violent as it is nowadays, because I am sure less malicious people would own a gun.

There is no doubt that if we want to decrease gun violence, stricter gun regulations have to be enacted in all states of this nation. We don’t want to suffer more malicious killing in which numerous of people have died. The congress has to be more concern about the citizens of this country and not just the millions of dollars from the business of firearms. We must not turn the other cheek as our youth are getting slaughtered in these schools. School is a place where you go to learn and where mothers leave their kids so they can be a productive member of society. However, school these days are not safe due to all the guns out there in the hand of mentally ill people. We all need to unite and say enough is enough. We need to change our laws before it’s too late.

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