America Does Not Need Gun Control

1318 words - 5 pages

Gun control is often considered as an effective means of protecting ordinary citizens. We all want to feel safe, and it's easy to ascribe notions of safety to the idea of gun control. Unfortunately, feeling safe and actually being safe can be very different things. Gun control sounds wonderful in theory: no guns means no shootings. If only it were that simple. When one considers some of the worst shootings and gun-related crimes in recent history, it's peculiar to realize how often these occurred in places where guns were illegal to carry or even own. It's downright disturbing to realize that, in some cases, the only armed person in sight was the one planning a crime. A sign that says 'no guns' might as well say 'no resistance'. What safer environment could exist—for a criminal? It is my intention, throughout this paper, to discuss the disadvantages and incongruities of gun control policies, and to highlight and provide argument for the positive benefits of gun ownership.
The major problem with gun control laws is that it is likely only the law-abiding will obey them. In the midst of planning or perpetrating a crime, is it plausible that criminals stop and wonder whether their firearm is duly registered with the state, or even legal in their local ordinance? Seems kind of silly. In the meantime, some conscientious citizens have turned in their firearms while others no longer carry them out of the house, or carry their handguns about in a locked case in their car (where they are about as useful a means for defense as butter for cutting granite). Clearly, the law is only a restriction upon those who obey it.
Another problem is deciding whether or not gun control laws are even, well, lawful. This is not as cut and dried as it may seem because it is not enough to be able to pass a law or ordinance, a law must be able to stand up to scrutiny as 'constitutional'. The recent decision in McDonald v. Chicago says that “the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment incorporates the Second Amendment right recognized in Heller.” (slip op., 44) The result of this decision is that Chicago residents are recognized as fully within their rights to keep guns for home defense, and laws that are essentially a ban in their effect are actually unconstitutional.
Maybe you're thinking that, if anyone was in a situation that would necessitate a gun, surely it is a matter for the police? While the police do serve a useful function and are essential in the due process of law, they are not wholly effective at crime-prevention. In fact, according to the Supreme Court, “nothing in the language of the Due Process Clause itself requires the State to protect the life, liberty, and property of its citizens against invasion by private actors.” (DeShaney v. Winnebago Cty. Soc. Servs. Dept. 195). Is protection a goal of the police force? Probably. Nonetheless, it is not a requirement; there is still an expectation for citizens to be responsible for their own...

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