Gun Control


Gun Control can be called the \'acid test\' of liberalism. All true
liberals must favor stricter gun controls. After all, doesn\'t the United States
have the most heavily armed population on the earth? Are we not the world\'s most
violent people? Surely these facts must be at least casually connected.
Therefore the apparently desperate need to "do something" about the vast
quantity of firearms and firearms abuse is obvious.
Guns are employed in an enormous number of crimes in this country. In
other countries with stricter gun laws, gun crimes are rare. Many of the
firearms involved in crime are cheap handguns, so-called Saturday Night Specials
for which there is no legitimate use or need.
The public is polarized on the issue of gun control, Anti-gun control
activists believe that it is each and every American\'s individual right to bear
arms. After all, the Second Amendment to the Constitution 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.
Advocates of gun control say that even with 20,000 gun control laws
already in existence, the serious problems due to firearm misuse continue.
Obviously, the controls that have been designed have not been sufficiently
effective. Therefore the pro-gun controllers argue, we need more uniform
legislation, more extensive gun controls, and effective enforcement.
Various pro-gun control organizations disagree on methods of gun control
needed. For example, there are individuals who would ban all handguns\' as well
as those who take a less radical stand and who would simply increase the
controls on firearms. The moderate gun control groups propose measures such as
requiring an individual to successfully complete a firearms safety course before
being allowed to possess a gun, or to wait for a mandatory period of time before
taking possession of a gun.
Today, there are approximately 20,000 different gun control laws in
existence, ranging from those enacted by municipalities and states, to those
enacted by the federal government. Gun control is ineffective and tougher
sentencing of criminals and stricter parole policies would do far more to combat
crime.
Statistics show that Canada is less violent than the United States.
Fewer guns are only part of the story. The inner-city slums of the United States
are murderous, bombed-out-looking places. American visitors to Canada\'s big
cities often ask where the slums are. The answer is that there really aren\'t any
slums, and the lack of violence there reflects it.
Canada\'s more generous welfare benefits and universal health insurance
have made for safer cities. The contrasts between extreme wealth and extreme
poverty are fewer and less striking. Poor inner-city families do not
disintegrate to the extent they do in black American ghettos. Canadian murder
rates in big cities are about the same as in isolated rural areas.
According to \'THE ECONOMIST" magazine; Blacks, 12% of the United
States\' population, account for 48% of murders, mostly when inner-city blacks
kill each other. (The Economist July 10-16,1993, pg 38) Few of these guns if any
are purchased from retail gun stores. Gun laws will not keep guns out of these
ghettos.
The founding fathers included Second Amendment to the Constitution
because they were very aware of the fact that there might once again come a time
when American Citizens would have to fight for their freedom. Patricia Lee of
Balch Springs, Texas was running for the Texas House of Representatives in 1992
when she wrote the following about gun rights.
When the British marched toward Concord in 1775, it was not to collect
taxes or suppress the press; it was to institute gun control. They were not
after hunting or target shooting guns; they were after military cannons (clearly
"assault weapons, with no sporting purpose"). How did the citizens of Concord
and Lexington respond to this reasonable, moderate gun control proposal? With
their guns! With a battle that killed hundreds of people and began years of
vicious war!
Why were our ancestors so "unreasonable"? Because they knew that once
their guns were taken, the rest of their rights would soon follow. History has
proved them right time and again; the citizens of Hitler\'s Germany and Soviet
Russia allowed themselves to be disarmed, and suffered the consequences. (Guns &
Ammo, pg.26)
Of course guns in the hands of criminals (or criminal governments) are
harmful. But taking away guns from honest, law abiding citizens does nothing to
solve the problem of those who would misuse guns. Criminals will always have
guns, whether we like it or not. Even in countries where guns are completely
illegal, criminals simply manufacture or smuggle weapons. The entire Soviet Army
was unable to successfully