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Amending Gun Laws in America

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Analysis of Amending Gun Laws in America

Written By: Merri C. Eder
Intro to American Government
Instructor: Curtis Ankeny
April 26, 2013
Analysis of Amending Gun Laws in America Amending gun laws, more specifically background checks and gun registration laws, is perhaps one of the most widespread debates currently occurring in America. The United States experiences tragic levels of gun violence, claiming over 30,000 lives annually, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention( CDC, 2013). For every one person who dies from a gunshot wound, two others are wounded. Every year, approximately 100,000 people are victims of gun violence in America( CDC, 2013). In addition to those who are killed or injured, there are countless others whose lives are forever changed by the deaths of and injuries to their loved ones. Gun violence touches every branch of our society in which we live. Gun violence increases the probability of deaths in incidents of domestic violence, raises the chances of fatalities by those who intend to injure others and also among those who attempt suicide, places children and young people at risk, and disproportionately affects communities of color. Mass shooting tragedies like the school shootings at Sandy Hook, at Virginia Tech in April 2007 and Northern Illinois University in February 2008 – or the 1993 office shooting in San Francisco that led to the formation of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence – receive strong, widespread media attention across the globe. However, gun deaths and injuries in the U.S. usually occur quietly, without national press coverage, every day. The fallout from the Sandy Hook massacre in Newtown, Connecticut has been widespread and relentless: marches and protests, fiery advertisements, celebrity endorsements, contentious congressional and state hearings, proposed federal and state legislation and a tough, new gun control law in New York State. But whether the shooting will spur Congress to pass stricter nationwide controls remains a toss-up. Some support exists, even among conservatives, for expanding background checks to include private firearm sales, but a federal ban on assault weapons seems to be a nonstarter. Meanwhile, more than 1,000 firearm-related bills have been introduced in state legislatures, but only New York has passed one to date.( Gun Control, 3/8/2013) For all the reasons mentioned above, we, as a society, need to make the right choices in regard to modifying our view of the 2nd amendment in order to protect our children and make the country a safer place. Various activist groups and independent organizations, such as Public Campaign, Occupy the NRA, CREDO, Every Child Matters, United For Change, New Yorkers Against Gun Violence and We Act Radio( Talk Radio News Service, 2013), as well as several congressmen and senators, have actively participate in trying to make gun laws tougher. Changes to the gun laws would include, but are not limited to, stricter registration laws, expanded background checks to include sales online and at gun shows. A registry to document and track the number of gun owners has also been brought up for debate, although has a very unlikely chance of becoming a bill. An obvious opponent, and very powerful organization, the National Rifle Association, is the biggest naysayer in regard to reforming gun laws. The NRA is committed to preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. One aspect that the NRA fails to acknowledge is the fact that semi automatic and automatic weapons were not present when the bill was passed. Indeed, muskets were still a hot commodity. Gun rights advocates indeed have much to celebrate thanks to the Supreme Court's District of Columbia v. Heller decision, which transforms a decades-long dispute over the meaning of the Second Amendment. The awkwardly phrased 27-word provision proclaims: "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."( Gun Rights Debates, 2008) Organized gun-owner groups have strongly opposed most of the firearms regulations proposed since the landmark 1968 Gun Control Act was passed following the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Author Weir( Gun Control Standoff, 1997), who says he belongs to both the NRA and Handgun Control, criticizes the NRA's “hysterical opposition” to any gun control. But he also faults many of the gun laws that have been enacted, including the so-called assault weapons ban, enacted in 1994 over the NRA's fierce opposition. Contrary to gun control groups' claims, Weir says the semiautomatic rifles labeled as “assault weapons” are rarely used in street crime. It is apparent that the NRA, among others, is against any change in legislation that would adversely affect the gun laws. It is a fact of nature that people must, and do, adapt to the ever changing world around them, and it is not unreasonable to address the issue of stricter gun laws due to the technological advances made in weaponry, the increase of gun violence, the number of illegal guns on the streets and the accessibility of these weapons to children. It is in our nation’s best interest to modify these gun laws in meaningful ways, which would include passing bills such as H.R. 1605: Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2013; H.R. 1565: Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2013 and S. 649: Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013.

References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Online Source, can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/datastatistics/
Talk Radio News Service, Gun Control Activists Rally Against NRA-Backed Lobbyists[->0], April 25, 2013, Online source, can be found at: http://www.talkradionews.com/us/2013/04/25/anti-gun-activists-march-on-nra-lobbyists.html#.UX3bVqLviSo
Jost, Kenneth, Gun Rights Debates, October 31, 2008, Online Source, can be found at: http://library.cqpress.com.columbus.libproxy.ivytech.edu.allstate.libproxy.ivytech.edu/cqresearcher/document.php?id=cqresrre2008103100&type=hitlist&num=0
Mantel, Barbara, Gun Control, March 8, 2013, Online Source, can be found at: http://library.cqpress.com.columbus.libproxy.ivytech.edu.allstate.libproxy.ivytech.edu/cqresearcher/document.php?id=cqresrre2013030800&type=hitlist&num=1
Jost, Kenneth, Gun Control Standoff, December 19, 1997, Online Source, can be found at: http://library.cqpress.com.columbus.libproxy.ivytech.edu.allstate.libproxy.ivytech.edu/cqresearcher/document.php?id=cqresrre1997121900&type=hitlist&num=3

[->0] - http://www.talkradionews.com/us/2013/04/25/anti-gun-activists-march-on-nra-lobbyists.html…...

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