Shortly after dusk, a sixteen-year-old boy stands on the street corner talking with a friend about what happened at school today between himself and another student. He nonchalantly stands there sipping his Pepsi when all of a sudden a black Honda with tinted windows drives up to the corner. The window rolls down, a voice calls out, and the boy walks up to the car. He bends down to peer into the car to see who it is when three rounds from a .38 caliber pistol rip through his chest and neck. The other boy frantically runs off into the distance. He stumbles backwards and trips on the curb behind him and falls to the sidewalk the car speeds off into the dark alleyway across the street. The young boy struggles to breathe as he coughs up blood. He chokes to death with every effort to breathe. He dies a minute or two later. These kinds of events are all too familiar to us and perturb us as we see an increasing number of handguns fall into the hands of the young. I am shocked at the sight of these events where innocent children are being gunned down on the street because of petty little arguments over something so minuscule as a pair of shoes, a particular type of jacket, or simply just a misinterpreted look. I believe that more strict handgun regulations are a must in today's society. I'm not saying that we have to ban handguns, but we have to take legislative measures in order to limit the possibility of handguns falling into the hands or youths. Peter Annin and Tom Morganthau state that according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Report, murders committed by persons under the age of eighteen who were arrested jumped from 1,193 in 1985 to 2982 in 1994.  This report shows a substantial increase in the number of killings by people who are under the age of eighteen. Most of these people are often participants in gangs and involved with drugs. Many of these people find that guns are a much easier method to defeat his or her opponent in a quarrel. This problem is made worse by the increasing availability of guns. Residents of gang-ridden areas are afraid to leave their homes for fear that their children or themselves might fall victim to a gunshot. I believe that many people feel we need tighter control over the sale of handguns while many others believe that we shouldn't. Many people say that it is a right to own firearms and handguns in this country because it is guaranteed by the second amendment of the United States Constitution. The second amendment states, "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." First of all, very few states today in the U. S. have militias because we have the five branches of the U.S. Military, the Army, Navy, Marines, Airforce, and Coast Guard. The military provides this country with enough support to fend off any war levying or belligerent nations. That is the military's obligatory purpose today. There is no necessity for a state run military. The U.S. Military's purpose is to keep this land free. Second, the Bill of Rights was designed to protect the people from our government should it transcend to tyranny. These laws and rights were established in the period of colonial times when monarchies and dictatorships were common place in society. Today, they're just about non existent except for subtle hints of them in communist governments which exist in areas such as the People's Republic of China. We have no need to protect ourselves from the possibility of a dictatorial government materializing from our democracy because it is highly unlikely that this would occur. The United Nations, which the United States is a member of, would not allow this because their main function is to stop the spread of communism. We are not living in that era anymore and that is why I believe that guns aren't really needed that much by civilians. As I mentioned before, I'm not suggesting that we, the people, totally ban guns. Firearms and handguns still have their recreational purpose in society. For a lot of people, the sport of hunting wild game is an enjoyable pastime and tradition that has been passed down through the ages. People have always hunted. From Paleolithic man to the Middle Ages and to the present, hunting has and provides us with food even though that same food can be purchased at the local supermarket. Other activities such as target shooting and enrollment in gun clubs are also enjoyable. They are sports, just like any other sports, that give men and women a sense of pride and satisfaction that fulfills the primitive instinct of competition in our minds. Another important argument among civilians of the country is that if more restrictions on firearms and handguns are passed, this would gradually lead to a total ban on all guns sometime in the future. In an article written by Robert J. Blendon, John T. Young, and David Hemenway, they include a Gallup/CNN/USA Today poll which show how gun owners, non owners, and the nation as a whole were surveyed. Sixty-five percent of all people, including owners of guns and non owners, believe that stricter legislation would gradually lead to a total ban of all guns. In addition, a majority of gun owners, approximately fifty-five percent, believe that these laws would violate the second amendment of the U. S. Constitution while non owners don not believe this. The survey was asking about how stricter laws would reduce certain aspects related to guns. The national figure is sixty-nine percent for those who believe that stricter laws would reduce the number of people killed by guns in arguments. Sixty-eight percent of the nation believe that laws would reduce the number of accidental deaths and suicides attributed to guns. Fifty-eight percent of the nation agrees that more laws would reduce violent crime. However, in both cases of owners and non owners, the difference of agreement is over twenty percentage points in favor of non gun owners.  I certainly agree that stricter legislation would definitely reduce the number of gun related deaths and that if handguns were restricted from the hands of minors and criminals, the rate and recidivism rate, the rate of repeat offenders, of violent crime would be reduced. I believe that we need more strict laws to curb some of the violent crime that is being committed by America's youth. I also believe that the National Rifle Association of America (NRA) will not let the government ban all fire arms since the NRA is the biggest lobbyist in the gun control debate today because it has so many active members. Finally, most people feel that they need handguns for protection of their property and themselves. I believe that protection of your own property, such as you home, is perfectly fine, but if you carry a gun around for protection, that can become dangerous. For example, gang members who carry guns are an enormous threat to others. If someone should irritate or annoy them, they might possibly resort to using his or her gun on that person. Innocent children and bystanders could fall victim to a stray bullet. Minor arguments could erupt into bloodshed on the street corner or in a dark alleyway. Other people are also a possible threat, especially to police officers. If for some reason, a gun toting civilian was pulled over for a traffic violation, that person could decide to shoot that police officer in an attempt to get away. This would cause major problems in society. Another thing is that people under the influence of drugs or alcohol might use their guns on somebody with out reason because of impaired reasoning and judgment associated with inebriation. Now I'm not saying every person would be and is like that, but there are some people that are. I believe that this presents a danger to society and why handgun access and sales should be restricted. I believe that we need tougher legislation on handguns. Citizens should be registered for each and every gun he or she owns and that they should be obligated to pay a high fee for that registration. Also, juveniles and convicted felons that have already served time should not be permitted to purchase or possess and handgun. I believe that if someone who has purchased a handgun, should be required by federal law to take a safety and training course in order to lawfully possess a handgun. This course would be directed by the federal government and would ensure that a handgun purchaser's record would be checked out. This country should have tougher laws in order to restrict handgun access and sale. I'm not saying this will work, but it will be a step forward in the direction of effective gun control. If we and the government can work together on it, we can slowly minimize the problem and keep guns out of the wrong hands.  Annin, Peter; Morganthau, Tom. "The lull before the storm?"
Newsweek 4 December 1995: < http://sbweb2.med.iacnet.com/infotrac/session/993/36/2172572/62?xrn_14 > 03/24/97 19:29:23
 Blendon, Robert J.; Hemenway, David; Young, John T. "The American public and the gun control debate"
The Journal of the American Medical Association 12 June 1996:
< http://sbweb2.med.iacnet.com /infotrac/session/993/36/2172572/16?xrn_1 >
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