Gun control

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Gun control laws have been enacted at the federal, state, and local level with the intent of placing restrictions on the right of individual private citizens to own firearms.

A common use of firearms is to defend one's life, though accidental death of those who are attacking often occurs. In fact,out of all guns used in the home last year, only 2% were used against an intruder. Gun control laws are often seen to conflict with the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, which recognizes the right to bear arms.

The Second Amendment reads: "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."

Gun control is the regulation by governments of gun ownership and the right to carry, conceal, or use firearms. Such measures can range from a total prohibition on civilian ownership and possession of firearms and ammunition to specific restrictions on certain firearm features, "waiting periods" for gun purchases, licensing of gun owners, registration of firearms, etc. Increased "gun control" is generally promoted by pacifists and liberals as a remedy to crime. In fact, whether or not guns are officially controlled by the government, criminals will commit crimes, and a black market will exist to provide them with firearms. For instance, despite the prohibition of handgun ownership in the United Kingdom, an island nation without any neighboring "gun culture" nations, handgun crime has been steadily increasing there for many years. As of 2005/06, the total deaths by shooting in the UK had increased to 50.[1]. Comparably, the United States suffered 11,350 gun deaths in 2005.[2]However, it should be noted that the USA has a population approximately 5 times greater than the UK, [3] and the number of murders by shooting is approximately 200 times higher.

The "right to keep and bear arms" is a right guaranteed to the American citizen by the Bill of Rights through the virtue of a selective reading of said Bill. The phrase "a well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state" precedes the statement, and most federal circuits [[cour]ts of appeals]] have held that this phrase requires that the "right to bear arms" relates to the collective rights of state militias, as opposed to the individual's rights to have any weapon desired. Just recently, the Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit went against nine other circuits in holding that the Second Amendment constitutes an individual right.[4]


The end effect of gun control laws is the reduction of gun crime.

"Gun control" is the use of legislation to place restrictions on the right to bear arms right. This can include:

  • Restricting which persons can own firearms.
  • Restrictions on the number of firearms a person may own, or purchase during a given time period
  • Requirements that privately owned firearms be registered with the government.
  • Bans on certain types of firearms; for example, "handguns" or assault rifles
  • Restrictions on where firearms may be carried, for example into restaurants or post offices
  • Requiring a "background check" and/or a "waiting period" to purchase a firearm
  • Restricting when and where firearms may be bought and sold, for example banning their sale through the mail
  • Requiring licenses or some other form of permission from the government to buy and/or sell a firearm
  • Requiring some form of permission from the government to carry a firearm in public, either concealed or openly
  • Laws granting special gun rights for some people, for example retired law enforcement officers, which are denied the rest of the public, which was used in several southern states.
  • Outright bans on carrying firearms in public
  • Outright bans on private possession of firearms, though this has never occurred in the United States

In the United States the three primary federal gun control laws are:

  • National Firearms Act (1934)
  • Gun Control Act (1968)
  • Brady Bill (1993)

These laws have further been amended by other laws such as the Firearms Owners Protection Act (1986) and the Omnibus Crime Bill (1994).

Objections to gun control

Studies by John Lott and others indicate that gun control causes higher crime rates[5]. Washington, D.C. has one of the highest crime rates in America even though it completely bans private handguns [6].

After decades of increasing gun control laws, the current trend is in the direction of more gun rights. The 1994 Omnibus Crime Bill included a ban on certain new rifles labeled assault rifles solely because of features of their appearance, and on new high-capacity magazines. This law recently expired and was not renewed by Congress. Also, Washington D.C.'s gun ban was struck down as unconstitutional by the U.S. Court of Appeals on March 9, 2007.[7]

Constitutional Debate

The Second Amendment reads:

"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."

Most constitutional scholars agree that since the amendment refers to "the right of the People" instead of the right of the militia, it protects an individual right to own guns. The extent of that right has been debated.

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