Thesis: Handguns should be outlawed with the exception of law enforcement

I. Why Not Real Gun Control?
A. Handguns are too easily accessible to America\'s youth.

II. Kids: A Deadly Force.
A. Kids are killing each other all across America.

III. A Look At The Brady Bill

IV. The Economics of Crime.
A. Americans are spending too much money each year to protect themselves.

V. Charts and Figures.
A. Where Americans are spending all their money on protection.

Handgun Control in the United States

Handguns should be outlawed in the United States with the exception of law enforcement

purposes. Two weeks before Christmas Day, 1987, 17 year-old Kendall Merriweather was shot

and killed a few blocks from his high school in southeast Washington, D.C. Police arrested two

teenage students who they believe killed Merriweather while trying to steal his "boom box" radio.

A few days earlier, in Pasadena, Texas, a 14-year-old eight grader at Deepwater Junior

High School whipped a snub-nosed .38 out of his jacket and held the assistant principal hostage

for two hours. Police said the boy was distraught over his parents\' recent separation. (Stanza 19)

These were not isolated incidents. All across America, the number of kids using- and being

harmed by-guns is rising at an alarming rate. According to the U.S. Department of Justice,

more than 27,000 youths between 12 and 15 were handgun victims in 1985, up from an average

of 16,500 for each of the previous years (Stanza 19). The increase in gun use often stems from

urban crack trade. Many crack gangs have more firepower than a small police department.

Whatever the cause, authorities are finding the use of handguns by youngsters an extremely diff-

icult trend to stop ( Stanza 19). As long as pistols are as easily accessible as candy, people of all

ages will continue to be on both ends of the barrel.

Kids in America have reached a new level of criminal violence that seems linked to the

nation\'s ever-expanding arsenal of handguns. Guns are everywhere, and they are being used in

increasingly horrific ways (Morganthau 33). According to Thomas Morganthau, author of Why

Not Real Gun Controll?, in America, firearms kill more people between the ages of 15 and 24

than do all natural causes combined. According to a survey taken in 1993, gun deaths, including

suicides, now total more than 37,000 a year, and handgun homicides have reached 13,000 a year.

The big question that everyone is asking now, is "What should we do about this?". The

answer outraged voters say in poll after poll, is to pass more restrictive laws to control handguns.

This mood is moving a reluctant Congress toward renewed consideration of the Brady Bill,

named after Jim Brady, who was permanently disabled in John Hickney\'s attempt to assassin-

ate Ronald Regan in 1981 ( Morganthau 33). The Brady Bill is a common sensical and an ad-

mittedly modest attempt to impose a five-day waiting period for the purchase of handguns, and

to require local police agencies to make a "reasonable" effort to ensure that the buyer does not

have a criminal record (Morganthau 34). But the bill rests on a largely unsupported assumption

that the combination of a waiting period and police background checks will somehow reduce

handgun crime. There is no real proof of this, because of the simple fact that background checks

cannot catch crime-minded "wanna-be\'s" who do not have records yet (Morganthau 34).

Handgun Control Inc., the lobbying group that is the prime backer for the Brady bill, contends

that the bill will work and that it is only a first step toward a "sensible" national gun-control policy

that need not include an outright ban on handguns or some form of licensing for gun owners

(Morganthau 34). The real problem, according to President Bill Clinton, is handguns, which are

easily concealed and widely available on the street. But no one thinks Congress will be able to

conquer its fear of the National Rifle Association to do anything much about limiting handgun

sales any time soon. And that, in all probability, means America\'s tragic obsession with lethal

weaponry will continue for years to come ( Morganthau 34). The cost of crime in America is adding up at a surprisingly quick rate. Americans are

scared. The fear of crime permeates their lives. They worry about being raped