Capstone Project: Gun Control vs. Crime

Pages: 10 (2852 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Law - Constitutional Law  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] In order to be able to get a better understanding of firearms and the degree to which they are available to the masses one needs to focus on types of firearms and the attitudes that the authorities put across them. Machine guns, for example, are considered to be extreme firearms and it is required that every machine gun in Virginia to be registered within twenty-four hours from the moment when it is bought. "A Certificate of Registration, valid as long as the registrant remains the same, shall be issued upon receipt of a completed Machine Gun Registration Application" (Machine Gun Registration). While machine guns are registered and this makes it very difficult for criminals to get their hands on a machine gun, other types of firearms are rarely registered in the state (Firearms / Concealed Handguns).

One of the most surprising things about guns and their existence in Virginia is the fact that individuals are allowed to carry weapons in the open without receiving any form of penalization for doing so. There have been a series of situations where citizens who were not familiar with the law called the police as a result of observing people holding guns in the open. Open carry is the law of the land in Virginia and, as citizens of the Commonwealth, individuals in the state have the right to carry firearms in the open in locations where they are allowed to do so.

Virginia compared to Washington D.C.

Gun ownership in Virginia is not necessarily an important issue, as crime rates are much lower in this state when compared to neighboring states where gun ownership is less frequent. Many individuals in D.C. actually attempted to claim that weak control laws in Virginia are one of the principal reasons for which crime levels are higher in D.C., "but the reality is that Virginia with all of its guns and few laws does not have the crime problem that plagues Washington, D.C. And its gun bans" (Blanks).

Cases of criminals taking advantage of gun laws

The Virginia Tech Massacre is probably one of the bloodiest events that the state came to be known for. The shootings occurred in the morning of April 16, 2007, and saw 33 people being killed while 17 were wounded. Seung-hui Cho was twenty years old at the time when the shootings took place and is considered responsible for the deadliest mass killing in the history of the United States. Consequent to shooting 173 rounds, Cho shot himself in the head just as the police entered the building.

A Glock 19 (9mm) handgun and a Walther P22 (.22) handgun, both semiautomatic weapons, were used in the shootings. "Cho purchased the Walther first by ordering online and picking up the pistol on February 9, 2007, at J-N-D Pawnbrokers in Blacksburg. On March 13, he purchased the Glock 19 at Roanoke Firearms in Roanoke, about 30 miles from Virginia Tech campus" (Lee Carter). It is surprising to consider that both firearm dealers performed a background check before providing Cho with the weapons and determined that it was legal for him to purchase a gun. This proves that the background check system is faulty, taking into account that the student was deemed a danger to himself in a court of law. It appears that background checks fail to take into consideration particular concepts and that mentally ill individuals might be provided with the right to carry a firearm as long as they meet a basic set of requirements.

One can practically consider that Cho managed to work around laws that would have prevented him from acquiring the guns and managed to come in possession of two handguns in spite of the fact that his background should have prevented dealers from working with him. The purchases were separated by a 30-day period and thus did not act in disagreement with the state's "one handgun per month" legislation. Cho was very clever in planning the shootings and he initially chose to kill Emily Hilscher, a girl who he knew had a boyfriend who was fond of guns. Cho realized that police officers would first have the tendency to search for her boyfriend instead of considering another suspect. This also played an important role in making it impossible for the authorities to trigger an alarm throughout the Virginia Tech campus.

The authorities in Virginia accepted the gun ownership control system's faults and focused on introducing new regulations that would make it possible for firearm dealers to detect potential buyers who should not be allowed to own a weapon. Moreover, numerous individuals expressed significant interest in having the government prohibit the sale of weapons at gun shows, even with the fact that Cho did not purchase the firearms from such an exhibition.

Although one of the reasons for which the Virginia Tech shootings were made possible is the fact that the gun ownership system was faulty at the time when Cho bought the pistols, it would be irresponsible for someone to claim that the nonrestrictive gun laws in the state are one of the motives for which Cho was enabled to act. The authorities are actually responsible for providing Cho with the opportunity to buy the two pistols, considering that they failed to realize that it was important for a background check to be more complex and to involve a series of other factors such as a person's experience in dealing with psychiatric facilities.

Gun control nationwide in regard to Virginia The contemporary political class seems reluctant to acknowledge that gun control needs to be addressed more thoroughly. Gun violence exists and it is essential for the authorities to realize that the matter is more serious than some might be inclined to think. Even with this, it is difficult and almost impossible for someone to claim that gun ownership in Virginia needs to be addressed and that lesser people should be provided with the opportunity to own guns. The masses need to understand that gun ownership is not a right that gun owners take lightly, as they perfectly comprehend the fact that the state trusts them with a great responsibility and that they have to do everything in their power in order to make sure that this responsibility is properly acknowledged.

The state of Virginia has experienced a steady drop in crime rates during the last seven years. This is curious when considering that gun ownership control laws did not change significantly and that criminals have wide access to firearms in the territory. This makes it possible for individuals to accept that gun laws are not necessarily weak and that they do not favor criminals. Moreover, experts expect this year's report to show that crime rates have fallen even more.

The following table actually demonstrates that conditions are not as critical as someone might be inclined to believe when considering gun control laws in Virginia and the effects that they have on crime rates.

Forcible Aggravated Larceny Vehicle

(Virginia Crime Rates 1960 -- 2011)

Works cited:

Blank, Jeremy D., "Guns Vs. Crime," Retrieved November 22, 2012, from the American Partisan Website: http://www.american-partisan.com/cols/blanks/081400.htm

Lee Carter, Greg, "Guns in American Society," (ABC-CLIO, 04.05.2012)

Lott, John R., "More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun-Control Laws," (University of Chicago Press, 15.06.2000)

Wilson, Harry L., "Guns, Gun Control, And Elections: The Politics And Policy of Firearms," (Rowman & Littlefield, 2007 )

"Documents on the First Congress Debate on Arms and Militia," Retrieved November 22, 2012, from the Constitution Website: http://constitution.org/mil/militia_debate_1789.htm

"Firearms / Concealed Handguns," Retrieved November 22, 2012, from the Virginia State Police Website: http://www.vsp.state.va.us/Firearms.shtm

"Machine Gun Registration," Retrieved November 22, 2012, from the Virginia State Police Website: http://www.vsp.state.va.us/Firearms_MachineGun.shtm

"Top Sources of Crime Guns in America," Retrieved November 22, 2012, from the Trace the Guns Website: http://www.tracetheguns.org/#/states/VA/exports/

"Virginia Crime Rates 1960 -- 2011," Retrieved November 22, 2012, from the Disaster Center Website: http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/vacrime.htm

"Virginia State Law Summary," Retreived November 22, 2012, from the Law Center to prevent Gun Violence website: http://smartgunlaws.org/virginia-state-law-summary/ [END OF PREVIEW]

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Cite This Capstone Project:

APA Format

Gun Control vs. Crime.  (2012, November 22).  Retrieved May 20, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/gun-control-crime/2340441

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"Gun Control vs. Crime."  22 November 2012.  Web.  20 May 2019. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/gun-control-crime/2340441>.

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"Gun Control vs. Crime."  Essaytown.com.  November 22, 2012.  Accessed May 20, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/gun-control-crime/2340441.