: The failure of Gun Control Laws

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
teenage gangster 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 efforts 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 colonist 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 on the Minuteman, the average American gun owner. These Minuteman, so
named because they would pick up their personal guns and jump to the d!
efense of their country on a minute’s notice, served a major part in winning the American Revolution. The founding
fathers of the 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(The Gunin American 14-25)
Over the years, some of the reasons for owning firearms have changed. As our country grow 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(27-39)
It was after the Civil War that the first gun-control advocates came into existence. These 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(41) This oppression was accomplished by passing laws making it illegal in
many places or black people to own firearms. With that effort, they assured themselves that the black population
would be subject to their control, and world 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 and armed one, and these armed men saw their
plans work completely. It was a full century before the civil rights activists of the 1960’s were able to restore the
constitutional freedoms that blacks in this country were gran!
ted in the 1860’s(46).
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(Edel 77). 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 world
take the guns out of the hands of law abiding