College Writing II
One of the most controversial issues in our society is gun control legislation. Violence associated with guns is increasing every year and something must be done to stop it. Gun legislation varies in every state. In some states gun policy is stricter than in other states. Gun legislation should be abolished in favor of federal gun legislation.
To analyze the problem with gun violence today you must understand the gun laws that are in effect. The gun legislation in the United States are mostly based on a state level. One federal law for example, prohibits the manufacture of all plastic guns. The federal government tightly restricts fully automatic guns. Manufactures stamp serial numbers on guns for law purposes. The government also has regulation on importation on guns brought into the country. Also, most states restrict the purchasing of long guns under the age of 18, and 21 for the purchase of handguns. Most states prohibit the purchase of guns if you are: a convicted felon, alcoholic, drug addict, mentally ill person, alien, or a fugitive from justice. Some laws require prospective gun buyers, to get a purchase permit, which comes with applicant passing all background checks. A few states even require that all persons possessing guns must have a license to do so, even in their homes. Some states don't ban guns from addicts. This is a problem. Gun concelation isn't the same in each state. Also it is commonly unlawful to fire a gun within city limits or in other congested urban areas. These are some of the common laws that most states have.
Guns are a form of power. Many individuals, 'including criminals' feel powerful when carrying a gun. Half of the households in the United States possess a gun. Criminals use guns for satisfaction. For example, to obtain sexual gratifaction in a rape or money in a robbery, or more frequently, to frighten and dominate victims in some other assault. All of these things can be gained without an attack, and indeed the possession of a gun can serve as a substitute for attack, rather than its vehicle (Kleck,1991). A sample was done by police in 50 major cities to see who is more common to use a gun (Kleck,1991). The data included that gun use in homicides is more common when (1) the victim is male rather than female, (2) the victim is male and the attacker is female, (3) the attacker is outside the "physical prime" ages of 16-39 compared to other ages, (4) the attacker is outside the "prime" age span and the victim is in that age span, compared to the reverse situation, (5) there is a single attacker, and multiple victims, compared to a group of attackers, and (6) there is a single attacker and multiple victims, compared to the reverse situation (Kleck,1991).
The death rate with gun violence is somewhat uncertain. About one in seven gunshot wounds known to police result in death. However, this doesn't count all of the injuries not reported to police. This means that the actually rate is lower than the one mentioned above. Gunshot wounds are more likely to result in death than those inflicted by a knife. The knife is the weapon considered to be the next most lethal.
One of the common question among the American public is , where do criminals obtain guns? A recent survey asked many criminals this very question. Obtaining from friends was the most prevelant answer. This was about 40%. Off the street was second with 14%, followed by gun shops, which was 11%. Other sources included pawnshops (6%), fences (5%), and family members and drug dealers (4% each), (Wright,1986). The handgun is the favorite among criminal activity. Criminals usually prefer a handgun with a short barrel (Shields,1981). This is because it's extremely lethal and is so easily concealed. When it is stuck inside the belt, only the grip or handle is visible, and a jacket or suitcoat or sweater can easily cover that small bulge. It also slips easily into a coat, jacket pocket or purse. It can also be hid easily in a automobile. Handguns therefore are a common weapon of choice for criminals.
One recent example of gun violence was in New York City. A Palestinian man opened fire in the Empire state building on Sunday February 23, 1997. Ali Abu Kamal, 69, a retired college instructor; carried a semi automatic weapon to the 86th floor of the Empire State building and opened fire. There were eight shot and one fatally during the drastic Saturday evening. Many others, including young children were trampled during the chaos. It was reportedly the worst bloodshed since an Army bomber lost control and smashed into the building in 1945. Kamal came into the United States on Christmas Eve. He checked into a Florida hotel and spent his nights partying. He came to the country to try and improve on his life savings, which was 300,000 dollars. Kamal then reportedly bought a .380-caliber Beretta on Feb. 4 at the Oaks Trading Post, which was a one-story weapons outlet in Melbourne Fla. Kamal somehow sidestepped a U.S law that potential gun buyers be a U.S. resident for at least 90 days. Kamal purchased the weapon by using a temporary state identification card, (George, 1997). Florida has been known for lenient gun screening laws that require buyers to wait only three days to pick up their weapons after sales personnel check that they are state residents and that they have no criminal records. New York, for example, mandate that gun buyers turn over fingerprints and establish why they need the weapon before the sale. The Oak Trading Post also came under fire in the late 1980's, when a crazed gunman shot 10 at a Palm Beach shopping center. The gunman had bought the gun at the Post.
When asked about the Empire State building incident, Mayor Giuliani responded by saying "Weak gun laws in Florida and at the Federal level are to blame for the Empire State Building tragedy." This is a major reason why the policy on gun control must be drastically changed. This is why all gun laws should be on a Federal level. The Mayor has gone on many talk shows such as, Good day New York, and "CBS Evening News," to prove his point. He responded on this shows by declaring " It's totally insane that the gunman, a Palestinian, could visit Florida declare residence in a "fleabag motel" and buy a semi-automatic handgun "that can kill 14 people in three or four seconds. The mayor also replied, "obviously the system is no system at all. But that's the fault of the Legislature in the State of Florida," the mayor said.
A new policy on gun policy is needed. In this new policy the federal government would mandate laws, concerning gun policy. There will be a gun control board that will represent the United States. Each member will represent each state. They will be voted on in their individual state. This system will provide equality and fairness. Gun legislation will be stricter and more under control. By giving the federal government all the power we will eliminate careless sale of guns.
Along with changing gun legislation we must also enforce our gun policy laws better. The Unites will not tolerate the purchasing of guns and weapons illegaly. The government should increase the penalty of a gun violence offender. There also should be laws in every state threatening the shutdown of any gun business that doesn't make the sale exactly according to the gun laws. There will be no warnings! It's time that we get serious about gun legislation.
Mentioned in this paragraph will be gun laws that should become in effect on a federa level. Transportation with a gun on a certain person or in a car will be prohibited, unless given permission by the federal government. The legal age of gun ownership will be 21 years of age. A 16 year old may shoot a gun only for hunting purposes, and he or she, must be accompanied by someone 21 years old or older. Any business selling guns must be approved by the government and will be inspected by the gun policy board every year. The date of the inspection will not be revealed. The inspection will include a federal agent posing as a prospective gun buyer. All of these laws and many others will be voted on by the federal board.
One major problem with this new policy on gun control would be, how will I protect myself from criminals? Many people argue that guns in households scare away many criminals. Criminals take major risks when they attempt an armed attack. The also can achieve major benefits. The benefits consist of the potential economic or other gains, however conceived, from the contemplated crime; the costs include the possibility of being caught and imprisoned, of being shot at in the course of the crime, either by the police or by the victim. The likelihood of social disapproval could be a negative factor. It has been known that one half of every household has at least one gun. If you restrict a victim's options by limiting household guns, crime could rise dramatically.
This new policy on gun control should help lead our nation in the right direction. The massacre at the Empire State Building was an example of how our gun legislation must be changed. The new federal gun legislation will provide equality among all states. Criminals will not have the option of buying a gun in a state with weak gun legislation. This new policy on gun legislation will cut down on violence dramatically.
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