On March 24, 1998, firing from the woods overlooking their school, 13-year-old Andrew Golden and 11-year-old Mitchell Johnson shot and killed four middle school students and a teacher and injured ten other students in Jonesboro, Arkansas. The two boys had a semiautomatic M-1 carbine with a large ammunition magazine, two other rifles, seven handguns and more than 500 rounds of ammunition which they took from the home of one of the boys grandfather, who had a large arsenal of weapons left unsecured.
Officers arrested the two boys as they ran through the wooded area near the school, and they were convicted on five counts of capital murder and ten counts of first-degree battery in September 1998. I want to inform people what I have learned about gun control in America. Firearms and their consequences are so pervasive in our society that they seem to be standard fare. Each day newspapers in major cities report injuries and deaths from guns and show photographs of their bereaved families. Movie advertisements scream titles that promise plenty of bloodshed, illustrated by guns and though characters who flaunt them.
A casual flip through several television channels often reveals a succession of handguns, automatic riffles, and murders. Facts are much more sobering and dont reflect the justice weve grown accustomed to seeing on televisions and in movies. The fact is that 22,000 people die each year because of firearms. Annually 12,000 people commit suicide with handguns and another 1,000 die from unintentional fatal injuries. Every year, there are about 9,000 handgun homicides in this country. In addition, there are more than 200,000 injuries due to firearms annually (Anderson 26).
Handgun Control works to enact sensible gun control legislation in the United State but does not seek to ban guns. The Brady Bill, which was signed into law by President Clinton and took effect February 28, 1994, establishes a national five business day waiting period and requires local law enforcement to conduct background checks on handgun purchasers, but our nation’s primary gun law is the 1968 Gun Control Act: MAJOR PROVISIONS: Established categories of prohibited firearms purchasers and possessors:
Convicted felons, fugitives from justice, illegal drug users or addicts, minors, anyone adjudicated mentally defective or having been committed to a mental institution, anyone dishonorably discharged from the military, illegal aliens, anyone having renounced U. S. citizenship. Licenses and set standards for gun dealers: Establishes licensing fee schedule for manufacturers, importers, and dealers in firearms; sets record-keeping standards; requires licenses to be obtained from the Secretary of the Treasury; requires serial numbers on all guns. Prohibits the mail-order sales of all firearms and ammunition
Prohibits the interstate sale of firearms: A handgun purchaser may only buy a gun in the state in which he/she resides; Sets age guidelines for firearms purchased through dealers: Handgun purchasers must be at least 21. Long gun purchasers must be at least 18. Prohibits the importation of non-sporting weapons: Sets penalties for carrying & using firearms in crimes of violence or drug trafficking.
Prohibits importation of weapons covered in the National Firearms Act and extends NFA restrictions to machine gun frames and receivers and conversion kits (i. , parts to make machine guns). Prohibits importation of foreign-made military surplus firearms. Prohibited the sale and manufacture of new fully automatic civilian machine guns: Prohibited the sale of parts or conversion kits – used to make semiautomatic firearms fully automatic. Classifies silencer parts and kits as weapons falling under the National Firearm Act.
Over the past several years, a series of important studies have provided evidence of the efficacy of gun control; the paper by Colin Loftin etal. the December 5, 1991 New England Journal of Medicine describes one such study. He found that there was a significant, sustained decline in gun related homicides and suicides in the District of Columbia after a law was adopted that banned the circulation, purchase, sale, transfer, and possession of handguns. There was no parallel increase in mortality from causes other than guns, suggesting that other lethal weapons were not being used as substitutes. Other data also suggest that suicide rates depend on the availability of handguns.
In particular, states with relatively stringent handgun laws have lower suicide rates (Block 23). To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them… – George Mason 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. 2nd amendment. Americans ascribe several benefits to the personal ownership of firearms. Many believe they protect us against those who might harm us.
They give personal satisfaction to others pleasure in the sport of target practice and in the hobby of gun collecting, a feeling of control, and perhaps social status. Some believe that possession is guaranteed by the Bill of Rights and regards this benefit as an inalienable right. Guns also appeal to our American pride in individuality and independence. Lastly, the manufacture and distribution of firearms by American companies produce economic benefits. However the risk are somewhat more concrete. Firearms are often used impulsively against oneself or others.
They produce unintentional or intentional injuries and deaths in peoples homes and at various sites of criminal activity. When more than 30,000 people are killed annually by firearms and another 200,000 are injured, it is clear to most individuals that a serious problems exists (Holmberg and Clancy 12). Thus, several conclusions emerge from the benefits of firearm availability are almost entirely intangible, the risks are substantial, and the efficiency of restrictive laws in influencing deaths from firearms seems established.
Objective observations such as these would predict that threshold levels of deaths necessary to convince us that ownership of handguns and automatic riffles tightly should be quite high, while others feel this is a restriction on their personal rights. While Handgun Control and the NRA, two of the most influential organizations for their causes, are frequently on the opposite sides of the debate on guns, they do agree on one issue: America should vigorously enforce the gun laws already on the books and punish criminals who use guns.