Gun Control: the Most Important Issues Facing America Today
Gun control seems to be one of the biggest issues in America today. “Most important issues facing America today” essay analyses the current social problem. As it has became urgent, especially with many shootings that have occurred recently, such as the shooting in El Paso, Dayton, and even more recent, the shooting in Oklahoma. This has impacted the American society and their beliefs in gun control. Some U.S. citizens believe that they do have the right to bear arms and have a way to protect themselves while other citizens believe that having the right to bear arms is a privilege, hoping that the gun control laws will change regarding the recent circumstances, and others believe that banning gun control will solve America’s problems with many shootings and deaths.
What is the Second Amendment?
The Second Amendment plays a big role in gun control. The Second Amendment allows for the citizens to own a gun or as defined in the United States Constitution that it protects and “guarantees citizens of the nation this right through a sentence [claiming] that “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'. There have famous been cases that have been applied to the Second Amendment, known as District of Columbia V. Heller, which occurred in 2008 in Washington D.C., and the case of Caetano v. Massachusetts, which happened in Massachusetts in 2016.
The case of District of Columbia V. Heller involved a Washington D.C police officer Dick Heller, who filed a lawsuit against the state of Washington D.C. for not allowing him to register for a handgun to keep at home. Washington D.C. banned the concept of possession of an unregistered firearm illegal and prohibited registering handguns but only allowed police chiefs to have a registered handgun. Heller believed that under the Second Amendment, he had the right to own a registered handgun or firearm for self defense and protection. The court found that “the Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess firearms for lawful use, such as self-defense in the home”. The courts also believed that Washington D.C. banning the idea of owning a firearm or handgun at home was unconstitutional.
The case of Caetano v. Massachusetts involved a lady named Jaime Caetano who was arrested for having a stun gun in her purse that she got from a friend of hers to use as protection since she was scared of her abusive boyfriend, whom she used the stun gun on to threaten him after he confronted her at her work place. The courts believed that the “possession of the stun gun constituted a violation of the Massachusetts law prohibiting the possession of electrical weapons, despite its purpose for self-defense”. Caetano believed that the decision was unconstitutional because she has the right to bear arms under the Second Amendment but the courts denied her claim and told her that the Second Amendment did not include stun guns “ because they were not in “common use” at the time the amendment was enacted”.
Yes Owning a Gun
There are “about a quarter of Americans (24%) say they personally own a gun, rifle or pistol; another 13% say another person in their household has a gun”. Many people who own guns believe that their main reason for owning a gun is for protection and other reasons are because of family tradition with hunting culture. They believe it is their right to be able to own a gun, because of the Second Amendment and how it protects that right.
The main reason for people owning a gun is for their protection or self-defense. There are some people who live alone and want to feel safe, while others even want to keep their family safe as well as themselves. Around “63% of Americans believed that having a gun in the home makes it a safer place”. Women who carry or own a gun claim that make them feel safe, especially if they are living alone and women are usually the ones who claim that the main reason they own a gun is for protection more than men as statistics show that “women gun owners (80%) say that having a gun makes them feel safer; about the same percentage of men gun owners (79%) express this view”. People even carry a gun in public or in their car for protection as well because some people believe that they might encounter a situation where their lives are at stake like if someone tries to rob them, rape, or even commit aggravating assault crimes on them. Many of these people who carry a gun publicly are believed to have been a victim of one of these crimes, like in the case of Caetano V. Massachusetts, where Ms. Caetano used a stun gun to threaten her abusive boyfriend who wouldn't leave her alone and whom she was scared of.
Other people who own a gun usually use it for hunting or because of their family culture and because they like to go to shooting ranges. Many people in the different regions but mostly in the south of the United States have been around a gun and are even taught how to use a gun as a young child. There are around “49% of gun owners cited hunting as the main reason for owning a gun”. Many of these families enjoy hunting and typically own specific hunting guns and hunt down animals to eat. Some of those guns are “often passed down to us by fathers or grandfathers”. These hunters claim that those guns are just used for their family tradition of hunting especially if they live around woods or forests. These hunters even claim that they do believe in the Second Amendment in the idea of owning or having a gun, in their case, which is only to hunt game. Others believe that owning a gun is primarily to go to shooting ranges and shoot targets or even practice shooting. These people who shoot for “fun” believe that going to ranges is an “[addictive] quality to [try] to improve your accuracy with a target at the range”. They even claim that “shooting has been an Olympic sport since 1896... amateurs and professionals alike enjoy target practice at the range; as well as action shooting”.
Saying No To Guns
The debate for banning guns is a huge talk right now because of the recent shootings that have occurred Gun violence has been a huge issue in America right now because of the mass shootings that have been happening. With many of these mass shootings happening, “the frequency of such public mass shootings appears to have accelerated over the past five years”. Many anti-gun protestors and advocates believe that having guns causes violence and they believe that “the only realistic way to prevent mass shootings and end gun violence would be a total gun ban, ruthlessly enforced'. There are families who own guns and their children and other family members know where their guns are. The guns will fall into the wrong hands and cause death like in the shooting in El Paso, Texas, which has left many people hurt. The shooter drove eleven hours to a Walmart in El Paso to shoot hispanics. The shooter was known to be racist and has a bad mental state and the shooter of Sutherland Springs also had a bad mental state but was also violent and even passed the gun ownership background check. These anti-gun protestors even believe “that new gun laws wouldn’t have prevented any recent mass shootings and declared it true” that with new or old gun policies, or other crimes.
In my opinion, I believe that a reasonable gun control policy is following under the Second Amendment I also believe that the gun control policies need to be updated or changed because of how much gun violence there is. I know that a background check is required but most people pass. I believe that with the background check an advanced psychological test or check should be conducted as well. As mentioned above, Sutherland Springs shooter passed the background check and was able to have gun ownership. The El Paso and Sutherland Springs shooter both had mental state issues. I strongly believe that strengthening background checks and extending the background check to be longer will fix gun violence. I also believe that pawn shops or any stores who have guns should be monitored and limit how many guns someone can get or the type of many guns they get.
- Ashe, D. (2018, May 11). Opinion: An Open Letter From Hunters About Gun Reform. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/opinion-ashe-guns-hunting_n_5af04b20e4b041fd2d28bd88.
- Blake, N. (2018). The Only Way To End Gun Violence Is To Ban Guns Completely. https://thefederalist.com/2018/11/14/way-end-gun-violence-ban-guns-completely/
- French, D. (2018, February 21). New Gun Policies Won't Stop Mass Shootings, but People Can. https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/02/new-gun-policies-wont-stop-mass-shootings-but-people-can/.
- Greenberg, A., & Walker, D. (2019, August 9). Perspective:America is turning against guns. https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/08/09/how-americans-are-supporting-gun-control-wake-mass-shootings-like-el-paso/?arc404=true.
- Livergood, S. N. (2016). Caetano v. Massachusetts: Modern Day Weapon Protected by the Second Amendment. https://www.slu.edu/law/law-journal/online/2015-16/caetano-massachusetts-second-amendment.php
- McNamara, J. (2017). The Fight to Bear Arms: Challenging the Second Amendment and the U.S. Constitution as a Sacred Text. https://journals.openedition.org/ejas/12179
- Molteni, M. (2019, August 6). The Looser a State's Gun Laws, the More Mass Shootings It Has. https://www.wired.com/story/the-looser-a-states-gun-laws-the-more-mass-shootings-it-has/.
- Pierre, J. (2015). The Psychology of Guns. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/psych-unseen/201510/the-psychology-guns
- Rose, V. (2008, October 17). OLR Research report: SUMMARY OF D.C. V. HELLER. https://www.cga.ct.gov/2008/rpt/2008-R-0578.htm.
- (n.d.). Why Own a Gun? Protection Is Now Top Reason Perspectives of Gun Owners, Non-Owners, 1–5. https://www.people-press.org/2013/03/12/why-own-a-gun-protection-is-now-top-reason/