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United States' Gun Control Problem Essay

1404 words - 6 pages

United States' Gun Control Problem

Gun control is hardly a new issue in America, much less in American
politics. Ownership of guns is extraordinarily widespread in the
United States, and has been for some time. Since the late 1950s, the
share of American households reporting at least one firearm has
remained fairly constant at just under 50 percent (Gun Control Debate
959). This shift in the character of ownership has taken place
against a complicated legal backdrop, the basic feature of which at
the federal level is the Gun Control Act of 1968 and the Brady Crime
Prevention Act passed in 1994 (Cohen). Far outnumbering federal
regulations are the various local and state laws that have long been
the principal source of firearm control in the United States. People
for gun control think that the best way to fix the current gun control
situation is to focus on the design and manufacturing aspect, to close
the “gun show loophole”, and to start a National System of
Registration and Licensing.

For proponents of gun control, any solution to America’s gun problem
must be national in scope. One broad set of remedies proposed in
recent years, and pursued both on Capitol Hill and through lawsuits
against the firearms industry, has focused on design and
manufacturer. Under these supply side measures, gun makers would be
required, among other things, to stop producing cheap, smaller
handguns, typical known as “Saturday Night Specials” and to add
various safety features to their other handguns, from trigger locks
meant for the protection of children to “smart” technology that when
fully developed, would allow a weapon to be fired only by an
authorized user (“Gun Control Debate” 958). Anti-gun control
activists believe that it would be easier to control the manufacturers
and what they produce than to try to control the people buying the
guns. Manufacturers may become more motivated as they start losing
lawsuits that find the manufacturers negligent, causing them to pay
millions of dollars in damages. Judges are concluding that the
manufacturers “knew or should have known that their guns can operate
in a reckless or incompetent manner (“Do Guns Mean Crime?”).”

As for the demand side of the equation, gun-control groups have called
for new laws that would place further barriers in the path of
criminals and other people prohibited from buying firearms. At the
top of this list, particularly after investigators discovered where
the weapons used in the Columbine massacre were obtained, has been
closing the “gun show loophole” (Williams). As it stands now, there
are more than 4,000 such events held each year where private
collectors and hobbyists do not have to run background checks on
potential buyers and as a result, they have become a key source from
criminals and the illegal gun...

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