Gun Violence

This essay has a total of 1557 words and 6 pages.

Gun Violence

Americans are faced with an ever-growing problem of violence. Our streets have become a
battleground where the elderly are beaten for their social security checks, where terrified
women are viciously attacked and raped, where teen-age gangsters shoot it out for a patch
of turf to sell their illegal drugs, and where innocent children are caught daily in the
crossfire of drive-by shootings. We cannot ignore the damage that these criminals are doing
to our society, and we must take actions to stop these horrors. However, the effort by some
misguided individuals to eliminate the legal ownership of firearms does not address the real
problem at hand, and simply disarms the innocent law-abiding citizens who are most in
need of a form of self-defense.
To fully understand the reasons behind the gun control efforts, we must look at the history
of our country, and the role firearms have played in it. The second amendment to the
Constitution of the United States makes firearm ownership legal in this country. There
were good reasons for this freedom, reasons which persist today. Firearms in the new
world were used initially for hunting, and occasionally for self-defense. However, when the
colonists felt that the burden of British oppression was too much for them to bear, they
picked up their personal firearms and went to war. Standing against the British armies,
these rebels found themselves opposed by the greatest military force in the world at that
time. The 18th century witnessed the height of the British Empire, but the rough band of
colonial freedom fighters discovered the power of the Minuteman, the average American
gun owner. These Minutemen, so named because they would pick up their personal guns
and jump to the defense of their country on a minute's notice, served a major part in
winning the American Revolution. The founding fathers of this country understood that an
armed populace was instrumental in fighting off oppression, and they made the right to
keep and bear arms a constitutionally guaranteed right.
Over the years, some of the reasons for owning firearms have changed. As our country
grew into a strong nation, we expanded westward, exploring the wilderness, and building
new towns on the frontier. Typically, these new towns were far away from the centers of
civilization, and the only law they had was dispensed by townsfolk through the barrel of a
gun. Crime existed, but could be minimized when the townspeople fought back against the
criminals. Eventually, these organized townspeople developed police forces as their towns
grew in size. Fewer people carried their firearms on the street, but the firearms were always
there, ready to be used in self-defense.
It was after the Civil War that the first gun-control advocates came into existence. These
were southern leaders who were afraid that the newly freed black slaves would assert their
newfound political rights, and these leaders wanted to make it easier to oppress the free
blacks. This oppression was accomplished by passing laws making it illegal in many places
for black people to own firearms. With that effort, they assured themselves that the black
population would be subject to their control, and would not have the ability to fight back.
At the same time, the people who were most intent on denying black people their basic
rights walked around with their firearms, making it impossible to resist their efforts. An
unarmed man stands little chance against an armed one, and these armed men saw their
plans work completely. It was a full century before the civil rights activists of the 1960s
were able to restore the constitutional freedoms that blacks in this country were granted in
the 1860s.
Today's gun control activists are a slightly different breed. They claim that gun violence in
this country has gotten to a point where something must be done to stop it. They would
like to see criminals disarmed, and they want the random violence to stop. I agree with their
sentiments. However, they are going about it in the wrong way. While claiming that they
want to take guns out of the hands of criminals, they work to pass legislation that would
take the guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens instead. For this reason the efforts at
gun control do not address the real problem of crime.
The simple definition of a criminal is someone who does not obey the law. The simple
definition of a law-abiding citizen is someone who does obey the law. Therefore, if we pass
laws restricting ownership of firearms, which category of people does it affect? The simple
answer is that gun control laws affect law-abiding citizens only. By their very nature, the
criminals will continue to violate these new laws, they will continue to carry their firearms,
and they will find their efforts at crime much easier when they know that their victims will
be unarmed. The situation is similar to that of the disarmed blacks a century ago. Innocent
people are turned into victims when new laws make it impossible for them to fight back.
An unarmed man stands little chance against an armed one.
An interesting recent development has been the backlash against the gun-control advocates.
In many states, including Florida and Texas, citizens have stated that they want to preserve
their right to carry firearms for self-defense. Since the late 1980s, Florida has been issuing
concealed weapons permits to law-abiding citizens, and these citizens have been carrying
their firearms to defend themselves from rampant crime. The result is that the incidence of
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