Gun Control Legislation
Gun control has been a popular topic of discussion over the last couple of years. The second amendment of the United States Constitution awarded citizens the right to purchase and bear arms. If the individual is licensed, they can carry their firearm(s) on their person. The guidelines to obtain firearms are too lenient. Others have said that heavy firearms are too accessible for public use and has started to affect the quality of life for the people of the United States. Government officials are trying to figure how to get weapons off the streets and how to make the regulations to acquire armaments stricter.
The population is torn about this incentive. With all the mass shooting taken place across the nation, protestors are for the change in regulations to attain weapons. But government officials are, also, receiving push back from the National Rifle Association, or NRA. The NRA and others who support the ideals of owning and carrying weapons feel that the government is overstepping on their right to bear guns. Congress are still discussing gun control and what needs to be implemented to protect the people.
By governance definition, if four or more people are killed in a shooting, it is considered a mass shooting. In the year of 2018, there have been numerous mass shootings. Majority of attacks happen when there are large numbers of people in a concentrated area. It is believed that these acts are motivated by feelings of hate. We have heard of shootings regarding race, religion, sexual orientation, bullying, metal illness, and so on.
The school shootings, such as Parkland, Florida, has brought hysteria to the faculty and staff of the school administration. It has called into question whether teachers should have weapons in their classrooms. Protesters feel that this narrative will not solve the issue, but rather increase frenzy in the school system. The latest shooting to have taken place involved a Jewish synagogue. It has been reported that the shooter meant to attack an African American/ Black church, but the doors were locked; therefore, the shooter opted to attack the synagogue in its place. Because of the amplified frequency of mass shooting here in America, protestors are demanding the government do something about the availability of rifles to the public and who should be allowed to obtain weapons. Several protests and rallies have been seen across the nation. The people of this country are tired of these atrocities and the taking of human life. Until congress can present a suitable solution, more protests and rallies are to be expected in the future.
During these negotiations regarding gun control, more than a few theories and other contributing factors have been called into question as to why there is an obsession to having firearms. The most popular theory seems to be the glorification of firearms and the media. Throughout American history, we have seen how guns and other firearms have been utilized towards mass extinction. Guns have played a large role in wars against the people of every country. They were used during the civil war, World War I and II, and many more (Waugaman, 2016).
When fear has been instilled the hearts and minds of people, individuals begin to feel that they have to do something to protect themselves and people they love (Medlock, 2005). Guns can be found inside the homes of families. There have been a couple of stories about small children when got ahold of their parent’s weapons. In result, some of those children hurt themselves or hurt one of their peers. According to Medlock, one third of American families own at least one firearm (2005). Gangs and other organized groups use guns to instill fear in their communities. We see them on television, plays, videogames, and in movies. In old westerns, like Gunsmoke, we see the cowboys utilizing fire arms against their enemies.
With the increased media outlets and screen time, kids and young adults are exposed to harsh content (Waugaman, 2016). Kids of all ages are being exposed to firearms. In games such as Fortnight and Call of Duty, the characters of those games use firearms against their opponents. One could argue that constant exposure to guns are desensitizing the younger generation to the dangers of firearms. Violence is taking over this generation. Kids and young adults have access to procuring weapons before they can get into college or get a job. The news and online articles are littered with stories about a kids, young adult, and adults who set out to hurt people. Guns are becoming to common in resolving issues that rise between two parties. Students who are bullied by their peers seek to end their torment by taking the lives of those who hurt them. Older adults are quick to act before thinking of the consequences their actions could have.
The US government and the National Rifle Association, or NRA, have been at odds since the 60’s and 70’s. Over the years, certain officials running for office aimed to keep weapons to minimum, but the NRA supported officials that were for the ownership and use of guns. It is said that most gun owners are less likely to support a ban on weapons and guns (Medlock, 2005). This incentive can be seen during this year’s electoral runoff for office. The governor race between Brian Kemp and Stacy Abrams is a prime example. In one of Brian Kemp’s campaign ad, he is seen brandishing a rifle in support of protecting the right to keep and bear arms. What was more alarming was Kemp handling the weapon in the presence of and pointing the rifle towards an adolescent.
Arguments have been publicized as to why the NRA seems to be successful in their campaign to keep gun procedures as they are. The NRA preys on the fears of the public and uses those reasonings to keep gun laws from changing. In Medlock’s article, he discussed the 9-11 terrorist attacks. On September 11, 2001, four planes were hijacked. Two planes flew into the World Trade Center twin towers, one plane crashed into the pentagon, and the last plane in field. Thousands of Americans died that day and citizens decided to obtain weapons to protect themselves. Gun sales were off the charts. Despite the arguments meant to deter the sales and ownership of heavy-duty weapons and guns, the NRA managed to persuade the government and citizens otherwise.
When the NRA is unable to convince politicians to favor the ownership of guns, the NRA takes matters into their own hands. They fundraise the money to bribe congress members to side on the sales and use of fires and take over the polls to ensure the support needed to keep gun laws the same. The NRA has, also, been known to strongarm their opponents. Representative Peter Smith has gone on record with his battle against the NRA. Smith claimed to be in support of the RNA, but instead supported the ban on assault weapons in 1989. The following election year, Smith and his family were targeted by the NRA. They fired shoots at his home and attempted to harm his family (Medlock, 2005).
According to Lance Stell, there are no clear meaning to strict gun control. He defines strict gun control as an array of legally sanctioned restrictions to impose firearm scarcity on the general population (Stell, 2004). The goal is to decrease the availability of rifles to the general public. Some may argue that this infringing on the second amendment right to bear arms, but with gun violence causing panic across the country, it is necessary. As of recent news, the legal age to obtain weapons has been risen. Though this is a step towards gun control, it is not enough. Previously, a person had to be 18 years of age in order to purchase a handgun. With the new law implemented, the legal age to attain a gun is 21. The problem with this change is only a few states have adopted this initiative.
Another inkling that has been under discussion is having background checks. When purchasing a rifle, the salesman does not have to conduct a background check to ensure that the customer is qualified to own a gun. Only 11 states require background checks on those who desire to purchase a handgun. If we were to implement this knowledge to all states, it could cut down the number of weapons on the streets. this narrative would keep weapons away from known criminals and those who are suffering from or have the protentional to suffer from mental disorders.
The government has a several issues that need attention, but gun control is by far on the top of the list. Increased government regulation of guns will improve public safety and reduce the gun violence (Lindeen, 2010). It is understandable, from the direction the NRA are coming from, that the government does not want to punish the citizens who are responsible with their weapons. Not all that wield a weapon are a danger to society, but it can be agreed that some of the regulations to have a rifle should be altered towards safety. To date, congress is still going through what the parameters that should be to appease those in favor of stricter gun control and those who desire to maintain the right to bear arms. Placing a band aid over the issue will not solve the problem. If congress cannot come up with a suitable resolution to the problem of wielding weapons and put an end to these mass killings, the population will go into a panicked state and more blood will be on the hands of legislature.