Barack Obama and Donald Trump’s view on gun control and mental illness

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What is the Second Amendment?

The wordings of the US’s Second Amendment grant that despite there being a well designated as well as regulated Militia to maintain security; the right of the citizens to own acquire arms shall in that light not be infringed. This is in a part of American constitution that has led to lots of debate due to the different interpretations by the people. The phrase “right as the people to both keep as well as bear Arms has faced the interpretation that the citizens indeed have the right of possessing firearms (Waldman, 2014). Different scholars have stated that the phrase actually creates an individual constitutional right for the citizens and therefore legislative bodies should refrain from prohibiting possession of the firearms by the citizens. They have gone ahead to refer to this as the individual right theory. Conversely, the phrase “a well regulated militia” proves contradictory as it infers that the aim of devising Second Amendment was with the intent of providing the citizens with a right of defending themselves when faced by imminent danger. As such, this still implies that it is not an individual right and as such, legislative bodies have the right to restrict the possession of firearms without going against anyone’s constitutional right (Waldman, 2014). These two standpoints have surfaced for such a long time leading to various cases in court that tie to the Second Amendment. One of the recent cases has seemed to support the banning of weapons on government property after the upholding of a defendant’s conviction after bringing handgun to a post office. Another recent decision by the courts indicates regulations that declare the possession of a handgun to be illegal especially as a juvenile including regulations that imply that it is a requirement to a have a permit in order to a carry concealed weapon.

Write a comparison of Barak Obama and Donald Trump on the Gun Control policy and the mentally ill

What were Obama’s gun control policy to prevent guns from getting into the hands of the mentally ill

Following the rapid increase in gun violence across numerous communities around the country, there was need by the Obama government to come up with executive actions in response. Obama indicated that those who engaged in gun violence should initially not have been able to acquire guns. Such actions were in a bid to make sure that criminals do not acquire guns by performing background checks, making the society to become more secure from incidences linked to gun violence. It was also meant to increase the treatment for mental health while at the same juncture ensuring that they are able to report unto the background check-system and finally improve the level of technology associated with gun safety. On keeping guns getting into the hands of criminals, the aim is to prevent those with illegal intentions from getting the firearms at all. First, everyone involved in selling firearms from which avenue should obtain a license. The states should also cooperate in order to provide required records for the background system while still working closely with jurisdictions to ensure enhancement of reporting. Moreover, The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) should increase on its efficiency by hiring more NICS examiners and collaborating with the USDS to improve the system (Office of the Press Secretary, 2016). In striving to enhance safety by alleviating gun violence, the Obama administration focused on making sure that people acted in accordance to the existing gun laws. It focused on urging dealers to get in touch with authorities in case of loss or theft of guns as well as issuance of a memo to all U.S. Attorney’s offices to renew how to deal with domestic violence. Increasing the tackling of mental health issues as well as feeding essential information to the background check system involved dedication of new resources towards mental healthcare. The Obama administration found it fit to remove any legal barriers that would make it challenging to report pertinent information towards the background check system as well as inculcating information flowing from the Administration tasked with social security (Office of the Press Secretary, 2016). Lastly, looking at the future of technology in ensuring gun safety encompassed promoting the use of new technology and increase in research and development.

Did Obama’s policy succeed?

Barack Obama has made unequivocal efforts in the struggle to ensure gun control in the United States. However, to a huge extent, the gun control policy has proved insufficient in this effort as more guns continue to land into the hands of criminals. Clearly, the number of people possessing permits for gun possession has increased as well as the private stock of firearms. According to Lott (2016), police in various states have been unable to point at a single instance whereby gun registration has helped in aiding the investigation of a gun violence crime and therefore, Maryland and New York have scrapped their systems. Criminals to a huge extent only use unregistered guns to commit and would hardly use guns that are registered to them. In Connecticut, having to go through a background check so as to get a gun license led to a 40% reduction in the rate of homicide related to use of guns (Lott, 2016). However, consideration of only one state is not sufficient in declaring Obama’s policy a success. Background checks in specific are not effective, especially with reference to the extent to which gun control advocates are willing to go even in manipulating data within the system. In 1997, there was a handgun ban in the UK and the resulting effect was an increase in the homicide rates as opposed to a reduction hence insinuating that Obama’s policy can on many levels lead to unintended effects (Lott, 2016). Part of the reason why it is so evident that the Obama Policy has not succeeded is that there has been a rapid of people with concealed handgun permits from about 4.6 million in 2007 to over 13 million at the beginning of 2016 (Lott, 2016). In a similar light, the number of gun purchases have almost doubled from about 11.2 million in 2007 to about 23.1 million in 2015 (Lott, 2016).

Trump’s proposed gun control policy to prevent guns from getting into the hands of the mentally ill

One of the major issues that fuelled the election of Donald Trump to the position of president is his stand on the issue of gun control. This was where there was a lot of difference with his then opponent, Hillary Clinton. While Hillary Clinton focused on tightening gun laws and imposing restrictions on gun sales, Donald Trump geared towards protecting the rights of gun owners (Trump Pence, n.d.). He promised to prevent any legislation that would impede the people’s right to bear firearms. This is with the aim of avoiding infringing on Second Amendment rights. Trump claims that background checks would never work as a means of gun control since only the law-abiding citizens would be willing to go through the backgrounds. As such, most states have failed to detect any criminal and mental health records in the system. Therefore, Trump focuses on fixing the already existing defective gun legislation as opposed to expanding it, which he claims would put a halt to the infringement of Second Amendment rights. The Gun Control Act attained in 1968, quotes that it is illegal to sell or transfer firearms or ammunition to someone who is mentally defective (Utter, 2015). From a federal regulation standpoint, this entails a person who is a danger to themselves or others, or lacks the mental capability of managing the individual affairs. Trump continues to say imply that banning of assault weapons has not been effective in making sure criminals do not access guns and therefore opposes any restrictions in their sale. Moreover, Donald Trump has supported the expansion of mental health treatment programs as part of his gun control measures (Trump Pence, n.d.).

Where is the policy now?

After Donald Trump’s inauguration, a lot should change in line with the Second Amendment. At the moment Obama’s policy on performing background checks, ensuring there is less violence with guns involvement, increasing treatment towards mental health and redefining the future of technology in gun safety still stand. This is as the government looks forward to a smooth transition that will ensure the implementation of Donald Trump’s policy on gun control that is in support of The Gun Control Act of 1968 as well as the Second Amendment that he supports highly. Clearly, Obama’s policy could not work since the criminals could usually find a way around it. For example, on performing background checks in order to obtain firearms, criminals choose to purchase unregistered guns and are hence hard to track even in the case of crimes (Spitzer, 2015). In addition, Obama’s policy had a significantly huge reliance on technology, which is not sustainable in gun control. Trump’s approach appears to be more strategic in gun control especially due to his protection of the people’s rights as stipulated in the Second Amendment. The understanding that a ban on guns would only increase gun violence as in the UK case is critical and therefore Trump’s decision to alleviate such restrictions would be quite effective. In addition, support of mental health programs would ensure less people with mental problems and hence easier to work with the Gun Control Act of 1968 (Spitzer, 2015).

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  1. Lott, J. R. (2016). The War on Guns: Arming Yourself Against Gun Control Lies. Washington, D. C.: Regnery Publishing.
  2. Office of the Press Secretary, (2016). Fact Sheet: New Executive Actions to Reduce Gun Violence and Make Our Communities Safer. The White House.
  3. Spitzer, R. J. (2015). Politics of Gun Control. London: Routledge.
  4. Trump Pence, (n.d.). Constitution and Second Amendment. Trump Pence. Retrieved from             <https://www.donaldjtrump.com/policies/constitution-and-second-amendment>
  5. Utter, G. H. (2015). Guns and Contemporary Society: The Past, Present, and Future of Firearms and Firearm Policy [3 volumes]: The Past, Present, and Future of Firearms and Firearm   Policy. California: ABC-CLIO.
  6. Waldman, M. (2014). The Second Amendment: A Biography. New York: Simon and Schuster.
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