Gun Control in the United States
Every government has the responsibility of ensuring that its citizens remain secure. With this obligation, different countries employ different approaches to provide that security. Most states will use guns and other weapons to obtain this objective. It can be assumed that every citizen’s interest is to ensure a safe environment to live in. In fact, the security of a nation depends not just on the security department but the public as well. For instance, Canada ensures that any individual to access and possess a gun, firearm, or any semi-automatic weapons should have a license. Therefore, not every person can easily own a gun that, in turn, reduces the chances of violence since gun ownership is not easy to achieve. However, in the United States, the policies are different and seem weaker compared to those in Canada. There is no law requiring gun owners to acquire a license. The major law is one prohibiting the manufacture of new automatic weapons for the use of the American citizens (Matthew, 2014). In America, the law requires gun sellers to carry out background checks on the purchaser; however, over the years, the law has proved ineffective. For this reason, the powerful nation is regarded as one with most civilians in possession of guns and other weapons. If we continue the comparison, murders with firearms in Canada is 4.59 per million as opposed to a whopping 32.6 per million in the US, seven times more than that of Canada. What these numbers clearly tell us is that the reduced possession of firearms is directly proportional to the reduced murder rates with the use of firearms. If the United States were to adopt gun control laws like Canada, we can certainly hope, if not outrightly say, that the cases of violence would also gradually reduce (Matthews, 2014). Therefore, this paper would like to argue that the US should follow Canada’s example and introduce a comprehensive licensing law that takes into consideration various law modifications. First and foremost, the protection of people should be followed by strict background checks on gun purchasers in order to ensure better safety and gradually reduce a plethora of fatal deaths and injuries caused by the illegal and unethical firearm use.
Currently, America has stringent gun control laws that have been instrumental in addressing the recent high crime rates. Research on the subject recommends reforms on the gun laws as they will affect and help reduce crime in America. Gun laws in America provide major obligations with an aim of tightening the country’s security. The existing laws oversee and regulate the acquisition, use and storage of firearms and guns. It is apparent that the existing gun laws in America create loopholes for criminals to obtain and use firearms and guns illegally. More so, the present charges and sentences for being in possession of a gun are not strict; hence, there are a lot of cases of high security breach using the weapons (Boylan et al, 2013). The gun laws do not effectively cover the reasons for prohibiting people possessing guns from work area or to the public. Notably, the present gun laws focus on regulating the design of firearms civilians can possess for defense. From the above-presented approaches of current gun laws in America, it is apparent they are not working towards reducing crime rates and misuse of firearms and weapons.
According to the current gun laws, there are certain groups of individuals who are prohibited from possessing weapons. The groups comprise of people with criminal history including domestic violence, convicts, fugitives, as well as drug and substance abusers. In addition, people of unsound mind, illegal aliens, and those below the age of 21 are not allowed to purchase and own a gun. However, persons under 18 years of age handle and possess handguns, and can transfer from one party to the other without facing any charges. Proposals recommend to modify this law through determining more people who can possess guns and firearms. The number of people prohibited from possessing guns and firearms in America is limited compared to other countries with low cases of gun-related crimes.
It is important for the legislation to develop strict laws on gun possession. Criminal records indicate that any individual involved in petty crimes has high chances of engaging in other criminal activities in the future. According to the reported domestic violence cases, the offenders were not first-time wrongdoers; sometimes, the problem is extended to strangers. More so, people abusing illegal drugs and other substances should not be/are not allowed to own a gun because of their unstable state of mind and body. Statistics indicates that homicide offenders tend to be drug and substance abusers. Therefore, gun prohibitions for high-risk persons as listed above should be broadened just like in other countries, for example, Canada (Matthews, 2014). Criminal prohibitions of weapons vary from state to state in America. For this reason, it is important that states implement strict laws on gun control that cover a broader range of aspects in relation to crime. For instance, in New Jersey, any offender with a sentence of 6 months imprisonment is prohibited from possessing a gun or firearms. Criminals should not be permitted to own firearms lawfully. The existing laws allow many people convicted for various crimes to possess guns. In order to curb the rising crime rates, it is significant that the concerned authorities modify the laws to cover and broaden the category of people possessing guns.
Another gun control law prohibits drug and substance abusers to possess guns. According to the law, persons addicted to illegal drugs should not own guns. However, the law does not offer proper rules and regulations to define the illegal drugs. This makes the law weak in light of various cases of drugs and substances abuse. As for drug addicts, if an individual has a record of the use of illegal drugs and substances, then the law prohibits him from purchase, use, and storage of a gun. The law considers the number of times drug addicts need to face the authorities because of their problem (Boylan et al, 2013). Lawmakers can modify this law to extend the category of persons prohibited from possessing guns. Presently, any drug addict having faced the law over the period of one year is prohibited from possessing a gun. Compared to other countries like Canada, this is a very short period hence it needs to be extended. More so, it will help to expand gun prohibitions to include alcoholics, as the current laws do not prevent alcoholics from owning guns. Notably, only sixteen states have gun control laws on alcoholics owning guns. Despite this, they lack proper conventions to allow authorities to implement the injunction.
The age factor is an important element of the gun control debate. Current laws in America have the age limit of 21 years for youths’ capability to procure and own guns. However, in order to control gun-related crimes, the age limit should be broadened (Lott, 2013). According to criminal records, youths between 18 and 21 years of age have the highest chances of committing homicide. Therefore, it is significant for America to implement laws covering the children with the capacity to possess guns. For instance, the age limit should move to 25 years; if one purchases a gun before the age of 25, then there have to be strict measures.
Another area necessary for modifications is the regulation of gun sales. The current laws on purchase and acquisition of guns are open and free. Any individual seeking to buy a gun manually fills a form to possess the firearm. In this case, the authorities and vendors do not carry out any background checks on the buyer and only work with their statements which, in most cases, are false. Such open laws allowed almost anyone who can read to purchase guns from any store. The rules commended for effective gun laws that can recognize higher-risk outlawed persons trying to obtain firearms and inhibit those procurements (Andr?s & Hempstead, 2011). Anyone acquiring a gun should undergo a background check in order to determine and approve the right people to purchase guns. In addition, the government needs to ensure that people buy guns from licensed sellers and stores. A good number of the American citizens buy guns from unlicensed persons selling firearms. The loopholes in the buyer-seller aspects of firearms create opportunities for criminals to purchase guns hence pose a threat to the security of the nation. The law should increase the security of the country by eliminating the private sale-purchase of guns and firearms that criminals exploit.
There is a need for the government to talk about the preventable authorized obstacles that preclude states from broadcasting information about those banned from having guns. Just as in the credit section of the banking industry, it is important for the government to allow sharing of information regarding guns possession, sell, and purchasing. However, the administration is working on the elimination of any needless barriers to sharing relevant information on people prohibited from gun ownership. More so, the administration can enhance incentives for states to share records with the background check system for both buyers and sellers of the firearms and guns (Lott, 2013).
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Finally, the government should implement serious sentences and punishments for gun trafficking in the United States. The present laws are not strict hence creating loopholes for criminals to buy guns easily from unlicensed dealers. In the event of a crime, the law enforcers should be able to trace the origin, manufacturer, dealer, and the guns first purchaser (Andr?s & Hempstead, 2011). This implies that the government should provide substantial records regarding any guns or firearms in the country.
In conclusion, the relationship between guns, crime, and security of the United States is an intensely debated topic. It is apparent that the existing laws on guns are not working in America with the ever-increasing reports on security threats and crime rates. Therefore, it is recommendable for America’s government to modify the existing gun control laws in order to minimize illegal gun-related cases. The significant changes in gun control laws need to cover the manufacturers, retailers, dealers, and buyers.