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It is estimated that in 1994, 39,720 individuals died from firearm related
injuries in the United States . This figure is very alarming, especially
when one considers this number not as a statistic, but 39,720 human beings.
The issue that will be addressed is one that brings with it great
controversy. Does our right to own guns infringe upon the rights of others
to live? Would it be a greater injustice to ban the right to own guns thus
saving lives? Would this action decrease pain and increase pleasure for the
I ask that an open mind be kept throughout this presentation, for guns
impact two basic rights provided by the Constitution. The first can be
found in these words at the end of the introduction: ".in order to promote
the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our
posterity" . The next can be found in the Second Amendment: ".the right of
the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed" . These two rights
clearly belong to all citizens, but now one must question: What about the
39,720 individuals who were killed by guns in 1994. Were their rights
upheld, or has a great injustice been committed?
Whenever there is an issue which generates great controversy, there are
always at least two sides or views which must be considered.
There are many degrees of either freedom or control which individuals
believe, but they fall into either pro gun control or against gun control.
Those who are against restrictions on gun control are represented by the NRA
(National Rifle Association). The NRA states the Second Amendment as ".the
ultimate civil liberty- the right to defend one\'s own life- without which
there are no rights". The NRA strongly defends any and all gun rights, for
they see any gun restriction as the beginning of civilian disarmament.
Those who are for gun control and regulations also have varying degrees of
beliefs, but they all believe that more regulations are in order. Some want
the abolition of virtually all guns, while others simply want tougher
regulations on applicants desiring a gun. This side also has many
organizations which work to represent their beliefs, one of which is HCI
(Handgun Control Incorporated).
The right to own guns is defended by many for some of the following
reasons. The right to own a firearm provides the public with power. This
very power which we as United States citizens hold strikes fear into the
hearts of any dictator or Communist. Secondly, many have purchased guns for
the reason of self defense. In a confrontation with an attacker, a handgun
can mean the difference between life and death for a victim. There are also
many individuals who use guns to hunt and participate in competition.
The ATF reported that from 1899-1989 more then 211 million firearms have
been transferred, with approximately 7.5 million additional guns sold each
year since. As stated before, 39,720 died in 1994 due to firearm violence.
Without a doubt, America has a serious problem with gun related violence.
The question now arises weather this violence problem is restricted to the
Unites States, or is it a plague that we share with most other countries?
In Switzerland, each male is trained and issued a fully automatic weapon,
for they have no standing army. Yet, in 1990, only thirty-four homicides
were related to firearms. This shows that there is no direct relationship
between firearm ownership and crime, but just the opposite. A thoroughly
armed people is relatively crime free. Now consider Mexico, with a firearm
homicide rate two times greater then the United States. They have very
strict laws which do not allow individuals to own guns. In contrast,
Israel encourages all of its citizens to carry handguns or fully automatic
weapons. The result is that in any large crowd, there are many armed
individuals. In Jerusalem, 1984, a group of terrorists planned to open fire
on a large group of people. They resulted in killing only one person before
the three terrorists were shot and killed by armed citizens.
Gary Kleck is a nationally recognized criminologist from Florida State
University. He has reported that an estimated 2.45 million crimes are
prevented a year by citizens using firearms, most of which did not require
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Gun politics, Firearms, National Rifle Association, Gun control, Gun violence, Right to keep and bear arms, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Gun politics in the United States, Gun violence in the United States
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