The editorial ‘‘Gun Control’’ highlights major advancements in the debate on gun control in the United States and opinions on how the two debating cliques base their arguments. It tracks back the footsteps of gun ownership debate since the Second Amendment of the US constitution in 1791, to the present Obama administration.
Early gun control opponents argued that the Second Amendment allowed every individual a right to own a gun for self-defense against federal government. The argument was Second Amendment interpretation that allowed State militia to own guns to protect State freedom. Gun control, however stated in this clause, interprets otherwise.
They also argued that Second Amendment precisely specified ‘A well-regulated Militia, being essential to security of a Free State, the right of the people to bear and keep Arms, shall not be infringed’’. Therefore, the right to own guns in their own opinions was reserved, to a ‘‘regulated state militia’’ and not members of the public. The clarification of the phrase ‘regulated state militia’ appeared to be the source of contention.
While pro-gun parties considered it as referring to military force selected members, anti-gun control individuals thought it out that all citizens of the state had a duty to defend the freedom of their state and the public in general fall under the category of regulated militia as long as they observed regulations.
Laws on gun control were also put in place to solve the constitutional uncertainty. The first law was created in 1934 and it restricted the sale as well as possession of lethal guns for instance the sawed-off short-gun. In the upsurge of assassinations in 1960, more stringent law was created prohibiting the sale of guns to minors, the mentally sick and to those with criminal records.
Legal purchase of guns required a declaration that a person was eligible to own a gun. Even so, criminals would offer false information and possess the weapons without detection. Such a loophole was also filed by Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act in 1994. It also expected gun applicants to wait for at least five days for proper screening of their criminal records.
The screening was automated in 1998, because of the use of computers and the waiting period was therefore eliminated. Gun related violence as a result, reduced between 1992 and 2000 by 35 percent. Such efforts were also enhanced by President George H. W. Bush’s move in 1989 to ban importation of assault rifles.
The courts additionally played a significant role in modelling the direction of gun control debate. In many landmark rulings, the verdict of the Supreme Court also favored pro-gun control activists. In the United States vs. Miller (1939) for example ruled out that the transferal of sawed-off short-gun from one state to the other should be outlawed because there is no supporting fact that it can be utilized as a military equipment for the common state defense.
It was later in 1969 and 1980 that the other two rules were made favoring strict legislations on gun control. The rulings later influenced lower courts verdict until late 20th century.
Efforts to manage gun ownership have since been successful in reducing gun related crimes or violence more specifically in the 1990’s. Even the efforts seem inadequate bearing in mind rampant mass shooting reports in the last decade. This is based on the fact that legal system still has loopholes that let guns into ownership of wrong individuals including the mentally sick and minors.
Guns for example are still traded in places with no screening in private shows and if there is a screening process, it still lacks sufficient data to ensure legal purchases. More effective and strict legislations however are still needed to control gun ownership. The Obama administration has also proposed amendments to the legislation to help control gun ownership more effectively, for instance, that which, aims at expanding background checks on those interested in gun purchases.
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