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THE NEED FOR GUN CONTROL POLICIES IN AMERICA
The Need for Prohibition against ownership, transportation, importing, and use of “Assault” type rifles capable of firing in semi-automatic or automatic modes
It could not be wrong to say that in our country today, we may not necessarily require guns for issues to do with self-protection. The number of security personnel who are mandated with the task of protecting citizens is more than enough. Some people may go a long way in postulating that those who misuse guns or rifles as in killing people are those with emotional disorders or mental illnesses. They go on to articulate that is such people were sent to jail, ugly incidences of using riffles or guns may not be experienced. However, several incidences of gun shootings such as those in Colorado and Sandy Hook elementary show that criminal activities involving guns is not necessarily determined by the psychological or mental status of the person.
There can be no sufficient reason why any citizen should be given the right to carry or use an assault weapon for self- protection or any other purposes. Security issues should be left with security personnel as well as relevant authorities. Providing individuals with assault guns may lead to misuse as in the case of many incidences of gun shootings that have been experienced in recent times in USA. Carey (2012) opines that going by the trend of innocent killings, assault weapons have been used extensively, not for life protection, but in mass killings and other shootings. Hence responsible authorities should ensure that the ownership, transportation, importing and the use of assault guns are entirely prohibited.
The latest 2007 Statistics published by the National Center for Health mentions that, fatalities from firearms in 2007 consisted of 11,826 homicides, 554 unintentional shootings, and 18,735 suicides, while 232 were from unknown cause (Congressional Digest, 2013,3). On the other hand, The USA gun violence statistics show that firearms kill more than 30,000 people each year in the United States.
Rationale for Introducing Assault Gun Policy
If we consider the devastating phenomena of innocent killings such as those experienced in Sandy Hook Elementary School, Connecticut, Colorado, among other places, there is an urgent need to implement a policy that aimed at controlling the ownership, transportation, sale, importation, and use of assault guns in the country. Legislators have to work overtime to table such a policy in congress and ensure that it goes through. We should discard the rights of assault gun ownership owing to the current trends of massacres of innocent people including children in government and private entities. Koppel (1994) adds to this notion by postulating that, unless we wake up from our deep slumber, the country will find itself in a dilemma (381).
A report from the institute of research on small arms in international security (2014) articulate that, there are an approximation of four million assault rifles in US. This amounts to approximately 1.7% of the total guns that are available in the country’s gunstock. This is a large number to be left on the hands of citizens who are vulnerable to misuse them. Also in his studies, Roth (2009) established that 8% of the mass killings in USA involved assault guns. This percentage is also the same as those with other weapons (2). Various media reports have supported this aspect about assault rifles being used for mass killings.
The Second Amendment plays a significant role in advocating for gun rights as it states,"The right to bear arms shall not be infringed." Critically evaluating the preceding tragedies of gun violence, criminals seem to have an easy access to guns that they use in achieving their ill motives. Hence, such a law should be evaluated considering the number of firearm tragedies that have been experienced in recent perspectives. Further, the Second Amendment gives an individual permission to bear arms, and other laws that include background checks. However, this is not significant to the prevention of gun violence since evidence is rife that people who had non-criminal backgrounds could use legally purchased assault weapons.
Gun owners may harbor different intentions on how they will employ their guns. Hence, at the time of purchase, it is impossible to know whether a person with a clear background check is just seeking self-defense or if he is willing to let a psycho criminal get hold of his gun in the future. There is no guarantee that the gun owner will keep the gun safe and out of the reach of children and criminals or not misuse it for achieving ill motives. The major step to be taken in order to set the U.S. community free of gun violence is to ban gun supply to the public and limit this supply to law enforcement officials.
Impact of the Assault rifle gun Policy on the Stakeholders
Majority of the people in USA today, have a desire to own guns and especially assault rifles for their own security. There are also organizations and business entities that benefit from the trade of assault guns. These individuals and organization would feel that such a policy will infringe upon their rights to own or trade on these items. However, we should not forget that our children need protection from people of ill motives. In addition, police and citizens alike need to be protected from criminals the same way. Therefore, the necessity of taking serious action against assault rifles cannot be overemphasized. Collier et al, (2013) points out that large number of firearm victims occur in America in comparison to other nations (81), hence proper measures should be put in place to protect the lives of citizens.
To the NGOs, churches and other religious organizations in USA, the policy will be a prayer answered since they have put pressure on the concerned authorities on safety matters to take action from the damage caused by the assault rifles (Farlex C, 2012, 2).
The Value of Assault Weapon Control Policy in America
This policy on prohibition of assault weapons among citizens should affirm the relevancy of the state controls on assault rifles as well as the need to prohibit the importation of the same. The gun control policy would support the technical measures in respect to tracing the weapons from the holders, proper recording and regulations government stores, inclusion of provisions for destroying excess weapons and recovery of the weapons from the citizens. In addition, Citizens should also be called upon to cooperate in such endeavors that are aimed at controlling assault rifle trafficking.
The Assault rifle control policy is poised to achieve positive results. Although the policy may not eliminate all assault weapons from all citizens, there is no doubt that the number of these guns in the hands of citizens will drastically decline. This will subsequently lead to decreased deaths and massacres caused by misuse of these weapons. Since the majority of the deaths and or injuries emanate from criminal assault and homicide, the elimination of these weapons will also mean a decrease in crime rate in the nation (News Batch, 2009, 1).