Should the US Introduce Tougher Gun Laws?
SHOULD THE US INTRODUCE TOUGHER GUN LAWS? - It was announced earlier that U.S President, Barack Obama, will support a ban on Assault Rifles. Previously a 10-year federal ban on the sale of assault weapons was in effect but expired in 2004 and was never renewed, according to recent reports in the Daily Mail. Furthermore the NRA (National Rifle Association) has also broken its silence and announced that it would make a full statement over the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre on Friday 21st December 2012.
There is currently contentious debate over whether the U.S should now seriously consider either banning the ownership of firearms or heavily restrict ownership, in the wake of the recent atrocity.
Sandy Hook Elementary school is not the first school in the United States to have suffered such a heinous act and indeed this type of incident has even occurred in the United Kingdom – See Dunblane Primary School 1996.
However, the similarities, between the United States and the United Kingdom are severely contrasted, with the United Kingdom, shortly after the Dunblane massacre, banning the ownership of handguns and heavily restricting the ownership of rifles and shotguns.
Before we move on I think it is important that we should realise that it is very easy to point the finger and for others to say, in light of this atrocity, to ban all firearms. However, the United States does have a culture and a tradition of owning firearms and therefore should these be stripped away from the average law-abiding American Citizen just because of the few that abuse their use?
While the President of the United State is about to support a ban on Assault Rifles I wonder whether, considering this is going to affect people’s constitutional right to Bear Arms, it would be more prudent to put this to the people in the form of a national referendum.
We, both in the United Kingdom and the United States like to consider ourselves democratic and therefore any possible change to people’s fundamental rights should not be held by those in office but rather by allowing the people to democratically vote. It is, in my opinion, the only sensible route to take in this type of situation and would at least allow all American’s the opportunity to voice their opinion.
The question is now once again on the table – Should the US Introduce Tougher Gun Laws? The only way to answer this question is through open and honest dialogue and of course to be prepared to consider both sides of the debate with an open mind. So let’s take a look at what the debate will reveal…
Those For Tougher Gun Laws
1. The first argument is going to be that by reducing or heavily restricting the use of guns in the United State will inevitably reduce gun crime. The argument is going to be further enhanced by stating that if Adam Lanza’s mother had not been able to keep firearms then her son would not have had access to them and enable him to commit such a horrific crime.
2. The 2nd Amendment to Bear Arms is an outdated law that only servers the manufacturers of firearms, who in turn use their vast profits to lobby government in order to keep the 2nd Amendment alive, which in turn places firearms in the hands of those who seek to kill the innocent.
3. In a civilized and ordered society, where people have respect for one another and their right to life, surely guns are not required in such a society. If we cannot live in peace among ourselves what does this say about a Nation that is supposedly Great and Civilized. In God We Trust – do we no longer believe in the greater good of mankind. Are the United States and its people so entrenched and obsessed with guns and the destruction it brings, that the only way we can truly express ourselves is by doing so down the barrel of a gun?
4. Would American society be so bad if only our police officers, national guard and armed forces were allowed to carry firearms? Has American society fallen to such depths that our neighbors feel the need to shoot one another or at least have the means to do it?
Those Against Tougher Gun Laws
1. Should we restrict or ban the right to bear arms simply because there will always be people out there who are intent on harming others, or should we have the right to protect ourselves?
2. Firearms are not the problem. Any firearm is an innate object that only becomes threatening once placed in the hands of any individual that wants to use them to harm others. Is the motor vehicle not a dangerous weapon? How many people are killed and maimed each year through the public’s use of motor vehicles? Look at the statistic for DUI accidents – do we therefore call upon our government to ban or severely restrict the ownership of motor vehicles?
3. According to some studies Gun Crime accounts for 43% of all violent crime in the United States. However, would the removal of this element make things any better? A person intent on killing will simply find another means of doing so, for instance the use of knives or other items that can be used as a weapon. Remove these further and then you are left with the perpetrator’s hands – what do you suggest that we cut off our hands?
4. What about the millions of law abiding American Citizens that use their firearms for sporting purposes? Do we have the right to deny them their leisure activities simply because a minority?
As you can see I have taken just four points to each side of the debate but in reality there are many more, both for and against the issue of tougher gun laws in the United States.
When you look at the points above there is no denying that in an ideal civilized society the ownership of firearms is certainly not needed, or is it – look at the last point the Pro Gun side would state. Shooting is, for many Americans, a sport, along with hunting – do we really have the right to remove or restrict their activities or is this type of leisure pursuit uncivilized?
The only salvation here is that at least we have developed as a society where informed debate can be made and to enable informed debate must be prepared to listen objectively to both sides as without this there can be no solution found that will be acceptable.
Regardless of the outcome; of what is about to become a contentious subject in the United states, for many years to come, there will always be two sides to the debate and that each will have its merit for and against.