Political Science Sample Paper on Gun Legislation

Gun Legislation

One of the most ranging debates in the US now is on gun control. The debate continues to escalate dividing the country into pro-gun and anti-gun control factions within the social setting and in the legislative circles. While the Constitution provides for rights and civil liberties, among them ownership of property, firearms included, new legislation aimed at imposing stricter conditions on the ownership of firearms continue to emerge and face resistance at the same time. While the debate continues to ravage through the political, social and economic divide, literary dividing the nation into pro and anti-gun control allegiances, the FBI has released a shocking survey over the past 13 years showing an increase in indiscriminate shootings (New York Times n.p.). Such damning reports add even more fuel to the ever-raging debate on whether or not gun-control legislation should be enacted.

            In the very least, gun control denotes policy and law geared towards the limitation of ownership and use of some types of firearms among the populace. Recent proposals for the legislation have suggested lengthened background checks for gun purchases to comprise internet transactions and gun exhibitions (Bash n.p.). Current legislation requires background checks on commercial sales, although the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, the Aurora massacre and the shooting of House Representative Gabrielle Gifford have necessitated the push for even stricter gun control laws.

Such incidents and FBI’s report on the increased number of shootings similar to the Sandy Hook and Aurora massacre more than ever give voice to the proponents of gun control. According to the FBI, firearm-shooting sprees have more than doubled over the past 13 years. Fatalities in the sprees have moved from an average of a little over 6 between 2006 and 2006 to more than 16 between 2007 and 2013 (New York Times n.p.). Even more damning from the FBI report is the number of people who have lost their lives. According to the survey, more than 360 people have been killed over the past seven years, with an additional 557 wounded and severely incapacitated from the gun-shooting sprees (New York Times n.p.).

From the study, it is apparent how serious the gun issue is, and therefore requiring an effort from lawmakers to effect laws to institute a stricter gun control regime. What has come to light, however, is the fact that opponents of gun control had previously suppressed studies and information fundamental to informing the public and strengthen support for stricter gun safety laws (New York Times n.p.). The study by the FBI therefore stands as the first federal study, even in the face of decades of gun carnage (New York Times n.p.).

However, even with such murders reported, gun control opponents continue to argue for lesser gun control legislation.counteracting the idea that more guns lead to more crimes, gun control opponents argue that studies show a decline in the number of gun related violence and murders. According to Kates and Mauser, there is a insignificant connection between violent crimes and firearm possession (651). For this matter, the argument is that the general belief of the role of guns in crime is largely theoretical and not evidence based, especially in the face of plummeting gun-related crimes (Kates & Mauser 651).

Besides the study showing no correlation between gun and crime, most opponents of gun control mention the Constitution. For this, they state that as upheld by the Supreme Court, the Bill of Rights includes the personal guarantee for firearm ownership. The 2nd Amendment in particular upholds the individual right to firearm ownership. By taking the guns away from the people, the opponents argue, the state will be usurping the powers of the constitution, which in fact guarantee them the possession of firearms.

Rural folk in areas such as South Carolina and Dakota have come strongly against the gun control legislation. Through their legislatures, their argument is that stricter gun control will render them entirely defenseless and unable to protect themselves in their homes (Healy n.p.). This, the rural folk consider as Washington meddling with state and gun owners’ rights (Healy n.p.).

The debate has also caught on the National Rifles Association, whose members are opposed to stricter rules. Their argument is that while the national government wants to impose rules on the types of guns that individual owners should possess, criminals always find ways of getting more powerful firearms, which, in essence, render the citizens defenseless against such heavy firepower. The possession of guns, for the NRA, means self-defense and a deterrent against criminals, who have to acknowledge the possibility of their victim having a firearm and therefore defending him or herself.

The argument on gun control will continue to rage on in the US given the contrasting opinions from the opposing sides. Although each presents valid points for and against gun control legislation, it is noteworthy to state that free reign is not the way to go in the gun control debate. The FBI report paints a grave portrait on the effects of indiscriminate gun ownership, especially to those with unstable states of mind. Stricter laws are therefore necessary for the safety of all.

Works Cited

Bash, Dana. “Leading Senate Talks Falling Short of Universal Background Checks.”CNN, 2013, April 9. Web. 2 October 2014

Healy, Jack, “Some States Push Measures to Repel New U.S. Gun Laws,” The New York Times, 7 February 2013.Web. 2 October 2014

Kates, Don, B., and Mauser, Gary, “Would Banning Firearms Reduce Murder and Suicide? A Review of International and Some Domestic Evidence” Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy 30(2), 651-660. n.d. Print

New York Times. “The Quickening Pace of Gun Sprees.”The New York Times, 2014, September 26. Web. 2 October 2014