Gun Control

Gun Control :

Gun Control can be called the acid test of liberalism. All true liberals must favor stricter gun controls. After all, doesn't the United States have the most heavily armed population on the earth? Are we not the world's most violent people? Surely these facts must be at least casually connected. Therefore the apparently desperate need to do something about the vast quantity of firearms and firearms abuse is obvious. Guns are employed in an enormous number of crimes in this country. In other countries with stricter gun laws, gun crimes are rare. Many of the firearms involved in crime are cheap handguns, so-called Saturday Night Specials for which there is no legitimate use or need. The public is polarized on the issue of gun control, Anti-gun control activists believe that it is each and every American's individual right to bear arms. After all, the Second Amendment to the Constitution states that.

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. Advocates of gun control say that even with 20,000 gun control laws already in existence, the serious problems due to firearm misuse continue. Obviously, the controls that have been designed have not been sufficiently effective. Therefore the pro-gun controllers argue, we need more uniform legislation, more extensive gun controls and effective enforcement. Various pro-gun control organizations disagree on methods of gun control needed. For example, there are individuals who would ban all handguns' as well as those who take a less radical stand and who would simply increase the controls on firearms. The moderate gun control groups propose measures such as requiring an individual to successfully complete a firearms safety course before being allowed to possess a gun or to wait for a mandatory period of time before taking possession of a gun.

Today, there are approximately 20,000 different gun control laws in existence, ranging from those enacted by municipalities and states, to those enacted by the federal government. Gun control is ineffective and tougher sentencing of criminals and stricter parole policies would do far more to combat crime. Statistics show that Canada is less violent than the United States. Fewer guns are only part of the story. The inner-city slums of the United States are murderous, bombed-out-looking places. American visitors to Canada's big cities often ask where the slums are. The answer is that there really aren't any slums, and the lack of violence there reflects it. Canada's more generous welfare benefits and universal health insurance have made for safer cities. The contrasts between extreme wealth and extreme poverty are fewer and less striking. Poor inner-city families do not disintegrate to the extent they do in black American ghettos. Canadian murder rates in big cities are about the same as in isolated rural areas.

According to THE ECONOMIST magazine, Blacks, 12% of the United States' population, account for 48% of murders, mostly when inner-city blacks kill each other. Few of these guns if any are purchased from retail gun stores. Gun laws will not keep guns out of these ghettos. The founding fathers included Second Amendment to the Constitution because they were very aware of the fact that there might once again come a time when American Citizens would have to fight for their freedom. Patricia Lee of Balch Springs, Texas was running for the Texas House of Representatives in 1992 when she wrote the following about gun rights. When the British marched toward Concord in 1775, it was not to collect taxes or suppress the press. It was to institute gun control. They were not after hunting or target shooting guns. They were after military cannons (clearly assault weapons with no sporting purpose). How did the citizens of Concord and Lexington respond to this reasonable, moderate gun control proposal? With their guns! With a battle that killed hundreds of people and began years of vicious war! Why were our ancestors so unreasonable? Because they knew that once their guns were taken, the rest of their rights would soon follow.

History has proved them right time and again; the citizens of Hitler's Germany and Soviet Russia allowed themselves to be disarmed and suffered the consequences. Of course guns in the hands of criminals (or criminal governments) are harmful. But taking away guns from honest, a law abiding citizen does nothing to solve the problem of those who would misuse guns. Criminals will always have guns, whether we like it or not. Even in countries where guns are completely illegal, criminals simply manufacture or smuggle weapons. The entire Soviet Army was unable to successfully impose gun control on the small country of Afghanistan. In the U.S. today, criminals routinely import new machine guns that law-abiding citizens are banned from possessing.

What would happen in a nation with guns in every house? There is such a nation Switzerland. The Swiss have not had to fight a foreign war for hundreds of years (the last fighting in Switzerland was a one-month insurrection in 1847) and their crime rate is among the lowest in the world. The U.S. can only envy their record. To carry a firearm in California requires a permit commonly called a CCW (Carry Concealed Weapons). CCWs are issued at the discretion of the chief of police of a city in the county, or a sheriff of the county where the applicant resides. As long as the applicant passes the background check provided by the California Dept. of Justice (DOJ), a chief of police of sheriff may issue a permit to the applicant. In California where CCWs (Carrying Concealed Weapons) permits are obtainable, a study reveals the following.

When more people were armed, the crime rates went down proportionally! Is it not obvious that when more citizens are armed there is less incidence of crime? The examples from California and Switzerland are evidence to that fact. Enough freedoms have already been lost in this country. Can we afford to lose another? With some 20.000 firearms regulations now on the books, we do not need still more gun-control laws. We need to enforce the laws that we have now. It's time to stop the wait. The only thing Congress should rush is the adoption of meaningful criminal justice reforms to keep violent predators off our streets. We do not need more laws that restrict the ability and the right of honest women and men to protect themselves from criminal attack.

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