Is Gun Control Achievable in Today’s Society?
By: Victoria R.
Gun Control is a major topic of debate in the U.S. With the complex disagreements between the left and right wings, some believe that the second-amendment prohibits any type of gun control while others believe that gun control within the second-amendment is possible, and in fact – necessary.
The United States has about 270,000,000 guns, which evens up to almost one firearm per citizen (with an estimated 326,342,870 citizens currently recorded in the U.S) or 88.8 guns per 100 people. In addition, as of 2017, the United States had the 31st highest homicide rate at the hands of a firearm. As of 2016, deaths due to gun violence per 100,000 people in the U.S. was eight times higher than the rate in Canada, twenty seven times higher than the rate in Denmark, and seventy-seven times higher than the rate in South Korea. The United States has had an average of 1.25 school shootings per week in the U.S. in 2018 while Canada has had no school shootings within that period. Keep in mind that each of these countries hold stricter gun laws than the U.S. – even when citizens have the right to own a firearm.
For example, while Canada does allow the buying and selling of semi-automatic weapons under the right conditions, in the U.S. using bump-stocks to turn semi-automatic weapons into automatic ones is legal, while in Canada – this practice is both illegal and banned. In addition, obtaining a gun in Canada is a lot more difficult and time consuming than it is in the U.S. Denmark, in contrast rates automatic firearms as prohibited and handguns and semiautomatic weapons as very restricted while the U.S. rates both automatic and semi-automatic weapons as simply ‘restricted’ with handguns being allowed. Denmark also doesn’t consider self-defense as a valid reason to obtain a firearm, unlike the U.S. Finally, in South Korea only 510,000 guns are registered in comparison to the 300 million registered guns in the United States. In South Korea, the right to owning a gun is not provided by law, but is still allowed in restricted hunting areas.
Some arguments state that the black market would create gun crimes in the U.S. with or without gun laws and restrictions. However, studies show that it is so easily available to illegally obtain guns on the Black Market in the United States because there aren’t enough restrictions on doing so. David Kairys, a professor of law at Temple University explains that “anyone who does not have a record can go to a licensed gun store in most states, legally buy as many handguns as he or she wants, and walk out the door with them.” And that there are no “meaningful limits on the resale of handguns,” To sum it up, “Under federal law and the law of most states, any person so inclined can buy huge quantities of cheap, easily concealed handguns and sell them to others indiscriminately, often without violating any law and usually without having to worry about getting arrested, prosecuted or convicted.” While this doesn’t solve the problem of the black market completely, gun control creating better restrictions on the resale of handguns would likely create declining rates in the high amount of gun crimes done by illegally obtained firearms in the United States.
This is where the second-amendment comes into play. Just how far can restrictions go in the terms of gun control constitutionally? While, the second-amendment protects the right of gun ownership to “all abled-body men” former Justice John Paul Stevens has written that “the Framer’s single-minded focus in crafting the constitutional guarantee ‘to keep and bear arms’ was on military use of firearms, which they viewed in the context of service in state militias,” In addition, while the second amendment protects this right to own a gun, this right isn’t unlimited. In summer of 2016 the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that “the right of the general public to carry a concealed firearm in public is not, and never has been, protected by the Second Amendment,” To sum this up, while gun control has its limits in the United States, there is room for gun control laws to be passed within the second-amendment without discarding or breaking said amendment. The passing of these laws might also provide the United States with a decline in gun crimes – both legally and illegally.