Essay: For or Against Federal Gun Control

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¶ … Federal Gun Control

Gun control is one of the hot topics today in the U.S. Consequence of the recent events involving mass shootings, the government is seriously reconsidering its policy regarding this aspect and is trying to find solutions to decrease the incidence of such tragic outcomes. However, finding the right approach is far from easy, as U.S. citizens are generally very sensitive to this topic, for reasons that will be discussed in this essay.

This paper holds a judgment of value, supporting the strengthening of regulations for gun control. However, one can acknowledge that due to the historical views on gun ownership in the U.S., any attempts towards forbidding firearm ownership would be unrealistic. Generally speaking, in an already extremely violent world, owning firearms can only increase the chances of disturbances and has a great potential to cause more harm than good.

The U.S. is the only modern country which "persists in maintaining a gun culture" (Hofstadter), having the highest gun ownership rate in the world

. The explanations are mostly historical in nature. As Hofstadter presents, centuries ago, due to migration and invasions, people needed to defend themselves, protect their territory and families. They also needed to make sure they weren't attacked by wild animals. Last but not least, they had to hunt for survival. Almost everybody owned firearms, the knowledge of using guns being often passed from one generation to another. Due to this particular background, the right to own and use fire weapons is officially stipulated in the second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, adopted in 1971 (Lenz,2004:82): "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."

. The general belief, as Tom Barth describes in his article, is that the Americans perceive the right to have arms as their last resort to self-defense, peace being eventually restored through the use of violence

Having been a part of the Constitution for so long, this aspect has been internalized by the population, which makes imposing a set of regulations, policies or laws to completely cancel this right without meeting high opposition very challenging. However, due to several reasons which are explained below, this paper strongly supports the introduction of firm regulations that can better control who and for what reasons purchases arms.

First, we live in a world with increasing violence (Gilovich et.al, 2006:550). Many even believe that the U.S. is one of the most violent countries (Hofstadter calls it "disposition towards violence") and it is truly ironic that it is also the only country where access to weapons is so easy for anybody. In our modern times, violence is more than ever exhibited through the media in movies, video games and music. This is especially dangerous for children and teenagers, who are probably the most vulnerable category as well as the ones who are most likely to develop into potential aggressive citizens if brought up in the wrong setting. This segment is nowadays exposed from very early ages to great amounts of violence: children grow up playing games where the purpose is to kill in order to move to next levels, they watch brutal cartoons and as teenagers, hear aggressive lyrics and watch movies often displaying murders with far too little censorship. There is no surprise that they are prone to easily blur the fine line between fiction and reality without proper supervision from the parents.

Another element that characterizes today's lives is a rather high level of stress within the society at large. This also has an impact mostly on children and young adults. Parents can easily be distracted, too busy and exhausted by their daily activities, thus lacking the time and patience to devote enough attention to proper supervision of their children's acts. In the long run, this might lead to highly frustrated teenagers who are much more likely to recur to violence to make their voice heard, solve their problems and conflicts or simply get the attention they didn't have while growing up. Having fire arms readily available in their own house only makes it easier for them to engage in such behavior from early ages.

In this context, where early exposure to violence combines with the stressful and agitated character of daily life, restricting access to potentially dangerous weapons is a must. People hardly live in the same settings they lived centuries ago when owning weapons was a means of defense and survival. Nevertheless, keeping in mind the historical background and the fact that many hold at this right as a fundamental freedom is essential. Restrictive measures should not translate into complete interdiction to bear arms, but rather comprise a more careful procedure underlying their purchase, including, among others, a thorough health check, verification of previous law violations or involvement in crimes of any type, doubled by a careful investigation regarding the purposes for which the weapon is purchased. Some of these measures have also been recently proposed by President Obama following the Sandy Hook mass shooting

Ideas and actions banning gun ownership have been met by disapproval from a significant part of the population, for several reasons. Among the most common is the fact that not allowing or restricting the purchase and use of arms would threaten a constitutional freedom: the state would appear to be taking away one of people's fundamental rights. This argument is in this case refuted, since this is a matter where action is clearly needed: a certain amount of restrictions have to be agreed upon, together with a more in depth background check, as it has been seen in repeated situations how these weapons can be fatal if placed in wrong hands. However, such measures do not need to attack any human freedom: nobody takes away people's right to own guns, they only ensure they do so under tighter control, which will eventually be in their own benefit. The second main argument against constrictive measures has revolved around the idea that the statistics used to prove the gravity of the situation are exaggerated, inconclusive and misleading. The opponents argue that actually there is a much lesser percent of those who own guns who actually use them for violent purposes and the situation is not even that bad. This again is debatable. In a matter of life or death, even the slightest chance of mass shootings and violent murders should not be acceptable or tolerated under any circumstance and measures should be taken in order to try and reduce as much as possible the occurrence of such events. In this context, there are at least a few policy ideas for action towards correcting to a certain degree this situation and diminishing the crime rate related to the ownership of weapons.

First, as Hofstadter observes, each state has its own policy towards this issue. Despite the many differences among states and their unique characteristics, leaders should strengthen those country-wide regulations. These concern both the buyers and the sellers and comprise a number of very basic but essential requirements. Regarding buyers, regulations could include thorough health controls, police-checks and the purpose of the purchase in order to determine whether they are fully eligible or not. The sellers should also pass a strict verification process to ensure they are within the legal specifications, the weapons and ammunition they provide are approved by law and the documents regarding their current and past activities are all in order. Past these very basic requirements, each state would then be encouraged to include stricter rules, according to their own needs and characteristics. For example, as mentioned by Gilovich et.al (2006:550), it is a well established fact that the South is generally more violent that the North and therefore would require stricter regulations.

Second, one needs to acknowledge that not all those who own fire weapons are potential aggressors or have mental health issues. Technically, there are few situations where psychopaths, drug addicts or other categories with serious health problems buy weapons with a clear purpose to engage in mass murders. Most Americans buy or own firearms for completely different purposes (some are collectors, some practice hunting as a recreational activity, some have inherited those weapons etc.). However, by leaving the issue only loosely regulated and imposing lenient control can easily lead to tragic outcomes, as it has already been seen. Left unsupervised, those initially harmless firearms can become extremely dangerous if used by the wrong people. The initial intention might not be bad but the outcomes might turn out to be truly tragic.

Returning to my earlier comment about the rising levels of stress and violence which have a serious impact on young children, actions to increase the attention given to those who might be having psychological troubles should be supported by all means. Counseling offices should be led by highly experienced professionals, while children and teenagers should be encouraged to ask for specialized help without the fear of being bullied.

Overall, with a closer… [END OF PREVIEW]

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APA Format

For or Against Federal Gun Control.  (2013, February 14).  Retrieved May 20, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/against-federal-gun-control/6313517

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"For or Against Federal Gun Control."  14 February 2013.  Web.  20 May 2019. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/against-federal-gun-control/6313517>.

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"For or Against Federal Gun Control."  Essaytown.com.  February 14, 2013.  Accessed May 20, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/against-federal-gun-control/6313517.