Gun Control

Sylvester Erickson
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