Term Paper: Controversial Topic of Gun Control in America

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¶ … Controversial topic of gun control in America [...] why tighter gun control laws are necessary and how to achieve these laws. Gun control is one of the most contentious arguments in America today. Proponents of gun control maintain it will save lives and keep guns out of the hands of criminals and gangs. Opponents believe the Second Amendment of the Constitution guarantees the right to own guns, and that control is anti-American. Statistics indicate gun usage and gun-related crime is rising in America. The only way to fully ensure criminals and gangs do not get guns is to strictly control the sales of guns and ammunition. A country without serious gun control initiatives is a country open to increasing violence and injury, and that is just what America is today.

America is one of the most "gun ridden" countries in the world, and experiences far more gun-related crimes than just about any other industrialized nation. Murder is only one example. The Brady Campaign Web site notes, "In 2001, firearms were used to murder 6 people in New Zealand, 56 in Japan, 96 in Great Britain, 168 in Canada, and 331 in Germany. In comparison, firearms were used to murder 11,348 in the United States" ("Firearm Facts"). Murder is not the only statistic worth repeating. Thousands of other firearm-related incidents take place every year across the country. For example, "In 2002, 30,242 people in the United States died from firearm-related deaths - 11,829 (39%) of those were murdered; 17,108 (57%) were suicides; 762 (3%) were accidents; and in 243 (1%) the intent was unknown" ("Firearm Facts"). That may not sound like such a commanding number, but the editors continue, "In comparison, 33,651 Americans were killed in the Korean War and 58,193 Americans were killed in the Vietnam War" ("Firearm Facts"). Thus, guns and gun-related injuries are a major source of violence in our country, and their influence is growing, even in communities where it might be least expected.

Recently, ABC World News Tonight reported on gang violence in Palm Beach, Florida, an upscale retirement community in South Florida. Gangs have taken over much of the city, and they use automatic weapons to maintain control. Reporter Pierre Thomas says the Palm Beach Police Department faces enormous firepower in attempting to deal with these gangs. He notes, "His [the Palm Beach Police Chief's] department routinely faces enormous firepower on the streets they patrol, and a majority of the shootings are from assault rifles and AK-47s, which are easily hidden from plain view" (Thomas, et. al). In one shooting in January, an 8-month-old baby was killed in her car seat during a drive-by shooting where over 30 rounds were fired (Thomas, et. al).

Palm Beach is not an isolated community. The Brady Campaign notes, "In 2002, nearly 8 children and teenagers, ages 19 and under, were killed with guns everyday" ("Firearm Facts"). Gangs are routinely becoming involved in organized crime activities such as drugs and prostitution, and they use their high-powered weapons to intimidate victims and maintain control over other rival gangs.

One way to control firearms is to crackdown on illegal dealers and sales. As another public research institute on firearms notes, "One major challenge is how to stanch the flow of guns to criminals. Researchers [...] have recently zeroed in on illegal sales by licensed dealers (the dominant means of diverting guns into illegal markets)" (Simpson). Researchers discovered that many dealers routinely sell guns "off the books" or unrecorded, or participate in "straw purchases," where a person who cannot pass a background check has another person buy the gun instead (Simpson). Stricter gun laws could quell the flow of these illegal weapons, and stricter control of dealers does impact the overall gun trade in a city or town. For example, in Detroit in the late 1990s, one gun dealer was found to be responsible for selling guns to criminals. Studies showed this dealer was responsible for over half the handguns used by criminals in crime in the city. When the dealer was shut down, "there was a 44% reduction in new guns recovered in Milwaukee from criminals who were not the legal buyers" (Simpson). Similar proceedings in Chicago dropped new gun numbers by 46%. These two projects (and others) have… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Controversial Topic of Gun Control in America.  (2007, February 24).  Retrieved September 15, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/controversial-topic-gun-control-america/44047

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"Controversial Topic of Gun Control in America."  Essaytown.com.  February 24, 2007.  Accessed September 15, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/controversial-topic-gun-control-america/44047.