The history of gun control dates back to 1934 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt pushed for the National Firearms Act. This was the first law that aimed at regulating the sale and use of guns in the country. In 1938, the president approved the act, an aspect that prohibited the sale of guns to people who had been indicted or had a history of crime. This was meant to minimise violent crimes that were on the rise in the country. Over the years, several laws were enacted as a response to the changing trends in the society in regards to gun use. In 2005, President George W. Bush signed the protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, an aspect that protected gun manufacturers some immunity from being prosecuted for crimes committed by those who purchase firearms. Despite the existence of these laws, the number of guns in the hands of the civilians increased tremendously over the past two decades. Moreover, the number of criminal and terrorist cases associated with loopholes in gun control has been on the rise. Proponents and those who argue against control have failed to find common ground in regards to this issue. This essay will, therefore, analyse both sides of the argument and provide a direction regarding the debate.
The increasing cases of mass shooting are an indicator that the government should set strict laws on gun control. Initially, only a few cases were reported regarding shootings. However, in the past one decade, the threat posed by the terrorists has made it even complex for the government to offer security to the members of the public. The recent shooting in Las Vegas where 59 people died while more than 500 others were injured is an ideal example of how to lose control of guns in the country has put the security of the people in jeopardy. The second case in Orange County where five people were killed by their co-worker changes the dimension of the argument. Currently, many people are suffering from stress and stress-related diseases. The economic pressure, as well as pressure to deliver in the workplaces, has led to an increase in the number of people suffering from depression (Spitzer 79). The reviewing of the existing laws will play a significant role in incorporating these modern trends and ensuring that guns do not fall into the hands of the wrong people.
The statistics associated with gun use in the country is a clear indication of the need for the government to intervene to salvage the worsening situation. The number of people dying from gunshots in the country is higher than any other civilised country in the world. Also, cases of gun-related crimes in the US are higher than any other part of the world. Majority of the cases are from states where gun laws are lenient. Moreover, cases of young children getting access to guns and using them against their peers are on the rise. We need to have a society that is guided by moral principles. The government cannot sit down and watch as our values and believes are being eroded. Our forefathers worked hard to ensure that we live harmoniously with each other. However, the rising culture of individualism is affecting the way people handle guns and point it towards other human beings. Therefore, the government should stand up and be counted in protecting the right to life of all citizens irrespective of their social background.
Enacting laws that will minimize the number of guns in the wrong hands will make work easier for the law enforcers. Although the country is known for its strong intelligence gathering institutions, the events in the past one decade have painted a bad picture of a country that cannot be able to regulate gun-related crimes. Many terrorist groups have been taking advantage of the loose ends to arm their cells in the country. Terrorist attacks in the country are an ideal example of cases whereby, terrorist got access to guns with ease and use them against the members of the public (Doeden 82). Therefore, the terrorist groups are no longer worried about how to bring guns in the country to help them complete their mission. The reason is that they can use local sympathizers to purchase the gun for them over the counter.
Although some have proposed strict laws on gun control, the move might even increase crime rate in the country. In several cases, individuals have been able to repulse attackers before police can arrive at the crime scene. The ratio of police to citizen remains wide. As a result, police officers are unable to get to some of these scenes as quickly as possible. Also, records indicate that many criminals target areas where citizens have fewer guns (Doeden 103). The reason is that chances of succeeding are very high. Therefore, before debating on whether the laws will have an impact on the American society, it is important for all stakeholders to sit down and address the real issues that are making it hard for the police officers to deter criminal activities in the society.
The existing laws in the country are yet to be implemented fully. Since 1934, the government has enacted several laws that are meant to regulate the sale and ownership of guns. However, the administration has been reluctant to implement these laws. Enacting more laws will only complicate their implementation. Instead, before these laws, people were living harmoniously, and the current cases were very few. Therefore, there is need to evaluate the impact of these laws and the other better mechanisms of ensuring that members of public understand how and when to use their rifle. In an example, the Gun Control Act of 1968 made it illegal to sell a firearm to persons below the age of 18 years, those with the criminal history, aliens, and mentally disabled individuals (Carter 68). Decades later, cases involving these persons have increased tremendously. Therefore, the country should not rush to enact more laws. Instead, it should conduct an in-depth analysis to understand what some of the aspects are that has made it easy for such people to access the firearms.
In conclusion, the increasing cases of shootings in the US increase the need to regulate guns. Each year, hundreds of gun-related deaths and criminal activities are being reported in the country. Also, the current state of global security requires the United States to evaluate its laws to ensure that terrorists do not use the existing gaps to carry out more attacks towards innocent civilians. Setting up strict laws will go a long way in sealing the existing loopholes that are being exploited by criminals.
- Carter, Gregg L. Guns in American Society: An Encyclopaedia of History, Politics, Culture, and the Law. 2015.
- Doeden, Matt. Gun Control: Preventing Violence or Crushing Constitutional Rights? Twenty-First Century Books, 2014.
- Spitzer, Robert J. The Politics of Gun Control. Routledge, 2016.