Posted: March 23rd, 2023
The United States has the highest number of firearms, which are in the hands of private citizens. According to Open Society Institute (2010), it is estimated that about 60 million people own guns. Although gun ownership is permitted anywhere in the US, the laws regulating the gun use vary from one state to another. The United States Constitution protects the rights of the citizens to keep and bear firearms. It is a fundamental right that is declared in the Second Amendment and part of Bill of Rights. The Amendment states that “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” (Cornell & DeDino, 2014, p. 487). Thus, in reference to that statement, any United States citizen is allowed to own a firearm. Therefore, it is imperative to discuss the policies under which private citizens are allowed to own guns in the United States.
In recent years, there have been major discussions and legislative debates regarding the transportation, purchase, and possession of guns in the United States. Some individuals have been advocating for control of ownership of guns, but the courts have not been able to define the rights protected by the Second Amendment. Due to recent mass shooting and high wave of criminal activities, there have been major calls to tighten the gun control laws, but they have been strongly opposed by the firearm owners (Cook & Ludwig, 2010). The people who advocate for gun control believe that it will play a major role in reducing the crime and bloodshed brought by the possession of the arms.
According to a research conducted by the Gallup Poll, Americans differ on gun laws with 44 percent favoring strict gun laws and 43 percent supporting the laws to remain as they are now. On the other hand, 11 percent says that the gun laws should be made less strict (Cook & Ludwig, 2010). Those opposed to the gun control laws state that gun ownership serves an integral part in the society. In addition, they argue that owning a gun is not the problem. Rather, they contend that there should be harsh punishments for those individuals who misuse and use guns to commit crimes.
Open Society Institute (2010) maintains that the National Rifle Association (NRA) leads the opposition to gun control. Retailers and manufacturers who earn billions of dollars from the sale of the equipment make up the gun industry. Together with the gun owners, they form a strong opposition to legislation on gun controls. However, over the years, the federal government has enacted several major gun laws. In 1934, the government banned the possession of machine guns, silencers, and sawed-off shotguns. The Gun Control Act of 1968 restricted the importation and sale of cheap guns and outlawed the interstate sale. The Brady Act, which was passed in 1993, requires one to wait for five days upon application of all handguns. Additionally, the crime bill of 1994 banned the manufacture or importation of certain military weapons (Conell & DeDino, 2014). Lastly, the law banned anyone who has ever been convicted of a domestic violence offense from using or possessing a gun.
The gun owners believe that it is their right to possess and use arms to protect themselves as safety is a collective duty of an individual and the government. In the United States, the gun culture runs deep with over 200 million arms in the hands of private citizens (Poliseno, 2013). Although not every American citizen is a gun owner, about 30 percent of the population owns the firearms. Most households in the United States have guns while almost half of the US population grew up in houses with firearms (Open Society Institute, 2010). Most of the individuals who own guns are licensed but despite they end up using them to commit crimes. Moreover, other illegal guns are in the hands of criminals. Thus, the law enforcers must ensure that unlicensed guns are taken away from civilians, as this will play a significant role in regulating the possession and usage of guns.
The right to bear and keep firearms is enshrined in the Constitution of the United States. Thus, citizens who wish to own a gun have the right to acquire one as far as the law does not prohibit them. From the discussion, it is clear that there is a push and pull on the regulation of guns, especially with the recent shootouts that have claimed a number of lives. About half of the American population supports the enactment of laws that will ensure guns are controlled, whereas the other half, which is led by the National Rifle Association believe that guns should not be regulated. The ownership of guns is allowed by the Second Amendment in the constitution thus the federal or state governments might not be able to control the ownership. Additionally, most of the gun bearers contend that it is their right to protect themselves from any harm as safety is a collective responsibility.
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