Gun Control – Validating Restrictions Essay

Gun Control – Validating Restrictions

Introduction

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Both politicians and civilians often debate the constitutionality and efficacy of federal regulations of ammunition and firearms. Gun control issue becomes the subject of controversies. However, the necessity of gun control stems from the fact that the access by criminals, juveniles, and other high-risk individuals should be curbed and only federal measures can successfully reduce the availability of guns. The point at issue becomes especially perturbing in the light of the recent events such as irrational horror in Virginia University, where 33 people were shot by an armed individual. (Campus, 2007). Such dreadful cases immediately force the society to think over their principles, federal regulations, goals and mistakes. America raises this issue quite often and every time it results in debates concerning constitutionality of gun control. I support gun control because the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution has limited relevance in today’s context and there is adequate law enforcement infra structure available to protect public life and property.

Critics of gun control argue that the Constitution has provided us very stable and time-tested provisions for ensuring our safety and security. The 2nd Amendment is one such provision which has given the citizen legal authority for possession of firearms denial of this right will be unconstitutional. (Gun Control Issues, Nd). The Second Amendment, reads, “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”. (Constitution. (Nd, (No Date).  The rising violence in society had resulted in this amendment drafted apparently to ensure the security of society and people an issue of debate and discussion. There is a need to understand the need for the 2nd amendment and then place it in context.  It should be accepted that the amendment was created to ensure that state militias were well armed as opposed to standing armies which Americans in the 18th Century detested being seen as imperialist policing arms for colonial subjugation. The American War of Independence saw much of the fighting being carried out by a national army supplemented by militias. Thus there is historical evidence to support arming of militias but not individuals.  Today militias are no longer relevant and some form of a militarized force as the National Guard exists, thereby the relevance of the 2nd Amendment is limited if not invalid. Arming of militias is a concept, which has lost its relevance. It thus needs to be considered that the 2nd amendment was not intended to allow absolute possession of arms by all individuals but only selective by those the state required to maintain law and order without the burden of a nationalized-armed force. However applying the same regulations for arming individuals has only added to violence in society in the name of misplaced liberty. It should also be noted that there were fears of a tyrant coming to rule the nation and hence a need to arm the people to face tyranny was relevant. However with democracy having grown firm routes, leadership will emerge through the electoral ballot alone and there is no scope of any deviant leader emerging in countries as America hence fears on this account are also unfounded and there is a need to ensure that gun control is exercised.

Fears of terrorist attacks post 9/11 has also become an issue for proscribing gun control. The citizen is seen to be first line of defense and arming him has become necessary is a feeling in some quarters such as Second Amendment Sisters, Inc who support gun rights. (SAS, 2006). Thus 40 % of US homes have guns. (Statistics, Nd). However there is adequate law enforcement infra structure available to overcome such fears and hence there is no apparent necessity for arming each and every citizen.  This way it would be seen that the state is abdicating its primary role of providing security to its citizenry by letting people arm themselves to protect against terrorists and criminals. There is no doubt thus that reasonable restrictions have to be imposed on possession of firearms whether it is of licensing, prohibition of bores or more specific restrictions on possession. ( Constitution. (Nd, (No Date).  There could be other restrictions such as mandatory child safety locks, background checks and limits on the number of guns a person can possess. (Gun Control, 2004).  If the gun control activists have failed it is only due to the powerful money power of over $ 17 million that has been contributed by the gun rights groups to political funding as opposed to $1.7 million contributed by gun control groups. (Gun Control, 2004). This cannot be allowed to hold sway even on critical issues of human concern.

I support gun control because the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution has limited relevance in today’s context and there is adequate law enforcement infra structure available to protect public life and property. The context of the 2nd Amendment enacted in the 18th Century validating the rights of a citizen to possess fire arms is no longer valid. This is leading to unprecedented violence against common citizens such as that witnessed in Virginia Tech University a few days back. In an enlightened society as that of America in the 21st Century thus, the 2nd Amendment is totally anachronous. Gun control is not disarming the loyal, law-abiding citizen while the criminal continues to arm himself as is felt by some groups. (Matveeva, Nd). By arming the citizen, the state cannot abdicate its responsibility for enforcing law and order and has adequate means as well as instruments to exercise this responsibility effectively, negating the need to arm the citizenry.

Reference

1.      Campus. (2007). Worst U.S. shooting ever kills 33 on Va. Campus. Accessed at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18134671/ on 15 May 2007

2.      Constitution. (Nd, (No Date). Constitutional Topic: The Second Amendment. Accessed at http://www.usconstitution.net/consttop_2nd.html on 15 May 2007.

3.      Gun Control. (2004). Gun Control vs. Gun Rights. Accessed at http://www.opensecrets.org/news/guns/ on 15 May 2007.

4.      Gun Control Issues. (Nd). Gun Control. Accessed at http://www.govspot.com/issues/guncontrol.htm on 15 May 2007

5.      Matveeva, Anna. (Nd). Arms and security in the Caucasus.  Accessed at www.saferworld.org.uk/images/pubdocs/CaucasusArms.pdf on 15 May 2007

6.      SAS. (2006). Second Amendment Sisters. Accessed at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Amendment_Sisters on 15 May 2007

7.      Statistics. (Nd). Statistics on Gun Ownership. Accessed at http://speakout.com/activism/guncontrol/ on 15 May 2007.