No democratic legislation int his country has ever called for a ban on all guns; rather we call for gun CONTROL. We need tighter gun control in this country and the reasons should be obvious. How many innocent children have to die before the access to deadly weapons becomes more difficult? I hope the recent tragedies in Aurora, Colorado and Newtown, CT bring to light the importance of gun control reform. Gun control is not a threat to our freedom, and it can save thousands of lives. This is my opinion piece that I couple with my research article "Guns In America".
More people die from gun shots in the United States than any other country in the civilized world, we also have more gun-related crimes, over all, than any other country in the world. According to the statistics from the FBI, 6,009 people were murdered with handguns in America in 2010, which was 67.5% of all murders in the country that year. There were 8,775 total firearm crimes reported in the U.S. in 2010. The highest rates of gun crimes in the Unites States come primarily from states where gun laws are most lenient. South Carolina and Tennessee dominate the board in their rate of gun crimes per capita.
Our constitutional rights are very much valid and important, but no right is absolute, without exception or consideration for particular circumstances. Even the sacred right to freedom of speech is limited in that you cannot knowingly spread false information (although no one is telling that to Fox News), you cannot call in a fake bomb threat and incite terror, and you cannot threaten someone’s life or purposefully insight violent actions. The second amendment right to gun ownership is equally as relative.
When the Second Amendment was ratified, the founding fathers had very little or no understanding of mental health and stability. Medicine and medical knowledge was still very primitive at the time and psychology was not a known practice or science until late into the 19th century. So the founding fathers never gave a thought to those who were mentally unstable and should not own guns, nor to young boys with guns who were treated like men from a very early age. Guns at the time were also far less dangerous than they are today, their guns shot one weak bullet at a time and it took a long time to reload. There were no weapons of mass destruction, no bombs, no silencers, and no automatic rifles, and there was no way for the first congress to anticipate the future of weapons technology.
Children who are not even old enough to vote or drive have access to deadly weapons. If a nine year old were allowed behind the wheel of a car, even with an adult, it would be a crime and the parent would be charged for negligence and child endangerment, at least. Yet I have seen and heard of children as young as four and five who are taken to shooting ranges and taught to shoot. This practice, even with older children, desensitizes them of the dangers of guns. Children’s brains are NOT developed enough to handle the dangers and responsibilities of handling a gun. They are not mature enough to comprehend the severity of the potential consequences. The human frontal lobe, which is the home of consequential thinking, rationalizing, and decision making, is not fully developed until the age of about twenty-five. Children are also not physically coordinated enough to safely handle a gun, which is why we also don’t let young children play with sharp things, boiling water, and fire!
I am an advocate for the restriction of guns from everyone under the age of twenty-one. I believe that if you pass a written safety test you should be able to acquire a firearm learner’s license when you’re eighteen. With the learner’s license you may go to approved shooting ranges, be issued a gun, and practice shooting targets under strict supervision. Once you turn twenty-one you should then be able to have a psychiatric evaluation, a written safety test, and a shooting range test. If you pass the tests, you can get a license to buy and own certain hand guns and rifles for self-defense. We are required to be tested in multiple ways to get a license to drive; it is only logical that it should be at least as difficult to attain a license to own a deadly weapon. Cars are also registered, and no one questions it, and it is far more important that guns be registered so that crimes are easily traced back to the offender. It should also be a law that all firearms must be locked away securely and unloaded when not in use.
Assault weapons and automatics should be strictly prohibited. I am viciously against hunting, but even if you are pro-hunting there is no reason for anyone to have automatic assault weapons. Automatic weapons are meant to kill people in an attack. They are not used in hunting, are impractical for self-defense, and no civilian has any business with such dangerous weapons. In an ideal world such weapons would not even exist, but as long as they do they must be kept from those unqualified to use them.
For those that would argue that they fear of a massive military uprising against the American people, you are exactly the type of paranoid nut that I do not want handling guns. The fact is that most of the people in our military would not turn on the American people (their own people) even if they were ordered to. Also, if the far-fetched, unlikely scenario occurred wherein the government and military utterly, blatantly, and violently turned on us and made this country a military state at gunpoint, we are not going to be saved by a crowd of civilians with a few assault weapons. The fact is that the American people have already been taken over, but it has been done in subtler ways, through economic disparities and corporate control of our government.
The reason that our weak gun control laws go utterly unchallenged is that the NRA, weapons manufacturers, and rich Christian institutions have strict monetary ties with the political “right”. The NRA supplies the right-wing with a mountain of campaign contributions and, in return, the politicians vote for and pass legislation that “protects the second amendment”, and keeps gun restrictions weak. The NRA and the GOP also fool the general public by asserting that the Democrats and liberals want to “take away your guns”, and ban guns entirely. They also feed into baseless conspiracy theories about “socialist” military take overs. The second amendment is a Republican talking point used to distract the masses and gain followers who don’t understand that the right-wing’s true agenda is to take over the people by sucking our way of life dry and turning us into ignorant, desperate subjects and sheep.
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