returning sanity to the streets

Gun control is an undoubtedly controversial issue that most Americans have been exposed
to. Since the days of the pioneers firearms have been a part of the American tradition as
protection and a means of hunting or sport. Since those days the use of guns has changed
significantly. Although many people feel that gun control violates the right of the people,
given in the second amendment “the right to bear arms”, controlling distribution, sales and
the registration of guns and gun owners is necessary because of the escalating homicide
rate involving guns and the violence by criminals using guns.
The spawning of handguns has caused the breakdown of normal social relations in
our country. Before handguns became so universal, people could confront children,
teenagers or other adults who littered or scribbled graffiti on buildings. But when an
ordinary citizen fears that he or she may be gunned down merely for challenging the most
mundane anti- social conduct of others, including children, then we are no longer living in
a civilized nation. Opponents of gun control, including the National Rifle Association,
better known as the NRA, argue that the “right to bear arms” is guaranteed in the second
amendment of the Constitution of the United States and licensing restrictions penalize
law-abiding citizens while in no way preventing criminal use of handguns (Gun Control
Resource Center). Anti-gun control activists claim that the presence of a gun, specifically
a handgun, is beneficial to a civilian the event of a robbery or intrusion, because the victim
would be able to use the gun for defense (NRA). The problem with most gun control
measures is that gun violence depends not so much on the number of guns as to who owns
them. As an anti-gun slogan states, if guns are outlawed, only outlaws will own guns
(Bernards 54). The slogan of the National Rifle Association states that guns don’t kill,
people do (NRA). Therefore, they believe that toughening gun controls is not going to
reduce crime.
Gun Control consists of the government restricting the ability of individual citizens
to purchase weapons. The different types of gun control vary from waiting periods
between when you purchase guns and when you actually receive the gun, background
checks so that high risk people do not purchase guns, and completely banning certain
types of guns. American culture is steeped in violence, and controlling the sale and
distribution of firearms is necessary because of the homicide rate involving handguns. In
1988, there were 9000 handgun related murders in America alone. Metropolitan centers
and some suburban communities are setting records for homicides by handguns (GCRC).
In addition gun control has been seen as necessary because of the violence of
criminals using guns. Gun control is part of a series of social issues such as crime and
drugs. Guns have been closely linked to drugs in the public mind. Predominantly guns of
crime are used by gang members. Many police officers are killed every year due to drug
and gang related incidents involving guns. For example, in 1988 New York City police
officer Edward Byre was sitting alone in his police car guarding the house of a drug trial
witness in Queens where he was shot four times int he head and killed (GCRS).