Type: Controversial Essays
Sample donated: Zachary Reed
Last updated: May 18, 2019
Gun control, a controversial subject today, has a contradicting effect on the community through its long American history, laws and regulations, the heated arguments for and against it, and the overall effect of it on the United States.
The long history of gun control, since the beginning, is the foundation of the daily day to day life in major cities. Gun control’s history in America dates back to the early 1800s, and is still a major concern in the twenty-first century because of how history has affected its popularity. Since the creation of guns and gun control, the purpose and use of has changed dramatically. Hunting is no longer vital for survival, however many people enjoy it as hobby.
This hobby of hunting animals has been taken to an extreme because murder and human injury has increased. The Second Amendment gives the people the right to bear arms and people often interpret this as the government is unable to interfere with the law unless there have been other legal challenges to that Amendment (MacKay 25). TRANSITION Guns in southern parts of America in the 1800s were used to free black slaves from their white owners by white abolitionists (Magoon 33). African American people were unable to obtain a gun in the time period. White abolitionists wanted to protect the slaves and justified their actions through the Second Amendment, stating it gave them the permission to do this. The Second Amendment gives the people the right to bear arms and people often interpret this as the government is unable to interfere with the law unless there have been other legal challenges to that Amendment (MacKay 25).
Attempts to ban concealed weapons began in the early 1800s and was not applied until the late 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. This is because “violence was high… and “hideout” handguns became popular to the general public, usually with criminals” (“Gun Violence”). Violence in the 1800s continued ,and spilled into the next generations. There are many causes for early gun control laws and regulations.
An example occurs in the eighteenth amendment, and is called the the Prohibition law.This law became effective in 1917 and caused organized crime growth in the cities(Magoon 37). The Civil War is also an impact on gun control laws in the city.
In New York, a law was put into effect that made it a misdemeanor to shoot a gun in the city (Gold 44- 45). In 1831, Nat Turner lead a rebellion against white slave owners to obtain freedom. After this rebellion, several Southern states repealed the law that allowed that free African American males to own a gun (Gold 43). A turning point came at end of the 20th century into they beginning of the 21st-century when school shootings were becoming more frequent. There have been many shootings; however the bloodiest school shooting took place in 1999 in Golden, Colorado. Two senior boys at Columbine High School injured twenty-three students and killed a teacher (Gold 98). These school shootings began to divide the Congress and introduced more laws and rules for purchasing guns. Going along with the shootings, assassinations were rising too.
The assassinations of President Reagan and Martin Luther King Jr. shook the world with their impact. As stated in Magoon’s book, “President John F.
Kennedy was elected in 1960 and in 1963 was shot and killed by an assassin…” (Magoon 40) and during the three years he was in office he made a huge impact on the lives of many people.TRANSITIONThe long history of guns lead to the start of more impacting laws on the rising problem of illegal selling and purchasing of guns. The first law to control the sales of guns is the National Firearms Act of 1934. It created high taxes on the making of machine guns and other gangster weapons during the Prohibition period. It also required for guns to be registered (“Gun Control”). In addition to the Act of 1934, another law was created prohibiting everyone except military and law enforced personnel from having fully automatic weapons (“Gun Violence”). Likewise, the Gun Control Act of 1968 controlled the sales of certain firearms. With the exception of shotguns and rifles, anyone less than twenty-one years of age, but at least eighteen years old, is able to purchase a shotgun or rifle (Gold 61).
Also, “The law increases the prison term for criminals convicted of using guns while committing a crime” (Gold 61). In addition, this law was revised in 1986 to allow interstate sales of rifles and shotguns. This revision to permitted ammunition to be sold by mail ( “Gun Control”). After trial and error with these current laws, eventually new laws were created. Two of them were the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. The Act of 1994 is one of the most expensive laws to have been passed in U.S.
history (Gold 81). It banned nineteen different military-style assault weapons. In addition, it provided money for new prisons, police, and crime-stopping programs (Gold 81). When this law is in place “it increases the penalties for drive-by shootings” (“Gun Violence”).
The assassination attempt on President Reagan sparked the Brady Bill Law. This law requires gun buyers to have background checks done on them before purchasing guns (“Guns, Regulations”). With the background checks there is also a mandatory five day waiting period before being able to hold the gun but, there is no evidence that the waiting period affects the rates of homicide or other crimes (Polsby). This law was also proposed because of the assassination attempt, but the year of 1993 was the peak of murders in the United States (MacKay 22). The next year, the law was passed over 3,000,000 people who are prohibited from buying guns were stopped by the background checks (Vernick). “But, in 1998 the Brady Law background check system was replaced by the National Instant Check System (NICS), which allows background checks to take place on the same day that buyers want to purchase a gun” (Magoon 13). This law is in place because there was a five-day wait that purchasers had to wait until having the gun (Polsby).
All of the background checks are designed to look for certain criteria that would consider a person unable to purchase a gun. Things such as felonies, domestic violence misdemeanors, controlled unlawful substances, inter alia, or commitment to a mental institution (Vernick). All of these laws and regulations helped and prevented many mistakes that could have happened if there were no gun control in the world.The laws and regulation applied to gun control sparks very heated and controversial debates between different groups of people with two different goals in their minds. The group who is for more gun control see that the statement, “A well- regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state” as a way to persuade that gun ownership must only be for militia members (Magoon 54- 55). As well as the previous argument for gun control some other common arguments for gun control laws in the United States are, “more gun laws would reduce gun deaths, increased background checks would reduce the number of weapons in the hands of dangerous people, the second amendment means only for militia to own guns, not individual people…” (“How Mass…).