Gun Power

With a little bit of gunpowder, oxygen, and friction, what am I? Fire. We have constructed a piece of machinery and made it into a killing machine. Here in the U.S. we have everything easy, our pizza is easy, our Wi-Fi connection is fast, and so is a gun, ready, locked and loaded to shoot whatever gets in its way, and destroy whatever life takes its last breathe.

As we witness, and support the victims of gun violence we seek legislation to create universal background checks, monthly mental health and eye screenings, and self-defense classes to help prevent guns from being in the wrong hands.

The United States’ obsession with guns began when the National Rifle Association (NRA) was formed. In 1870, William C. Church and George W. Wingate published, their first editorial article on the need for better marksmanship to support national defense. They inspired a group of National Guard officers to contribute to their organization. Today there are approximately 4.5 million members and about 2 million are active members pleading to continue to purchase and carry conceal weapons. These members pay $1,000 for a lifetime, $100 for 3 years, and $40 dollars a year. [1]Those dedicated to contributing their money also contributed their time to express their opinion on gun policy on social media networks. They have contacted a public official, and signed a petition. Just image if we had the same enthusiasm for in support for sticker gun regulation. [2]

The NRA believes that the 2nd amendment was created to protect their general interests and organization; that’s incorrect.

The 2nd Amendment states: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” James Madison, a rich white male, property owner, drafted it. His major ideological influences came from John Locke.

A century before Madison, Locke developed the legitimacy of the state on a theory of inalienable natural rights. Locke, who was ardent about self-defense against wild beasts, stated in the Second Treatise, that he “declared war against all man kind, and therefore may be destroyed as a lion or a tiger, one of those wild savage beasts.” When Madison read those same words he sought to protect peoples’ rights to self-defense against wild beasts. Like Locke, Madison believed in the right to protect against the Federal Government by forming a militia against the state, property owners, and self-defense of wild beasts. [3]

Two great cases that shaped gun regulation were District of Colombia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago. In the first case of District of Colombia v. Heller, some states, such as the District of Colombia, had a ban on handguns. Heller, a retired security guard opposed the ban when he was denied a permit to keep a handgun. The court ruled a 5 to 4 decision; Justice Scalia divided the Amendment into two parts. Its prefatory clause and its operative clause.

The ruling gave Heller permission to carry a concealed weapon, however denied to rule at any regulations of arms.

The second court case, McDonald v. Chicago, was drawn out process of litigation to define and implement the constitutional principles laid down by the court. By the majority opinion in the court ruling, the 2nd Amendment right to keep and bare firearms is not absolute and a wide range of gun control laws remain “presumptively lawful,” according to the court. These include laws that:

chart1.) Prohibit carrying concealed weapons

2.) Prohibit gun possession by felons or mentally ill

3.) Prohibit carrying firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings

4.) Impose “conditions and qualifications on the commercial sales of arms

5.) Prohibit “dangerous and unusual weapons”

6.) Regulate fire arm storage to prevent accidents.”[4]

Since these rulings gun violence has increased dramatically. As we look back, we, as a nation, failed to intensify extensive background checks, and close the gun show loopholes. These two Supreme Court cases happened before mass shootings were a norm.

It all started with two white males with a gun, fire, and money obsession. Has that changed much? To the start with Madison and Locke ideologies of inalienable natural rights, are influential to the court cases that shaped gun regulation after 2008.

As of today, according to the Washington post, 874 victims were killed during a mass shooting, 144 of those being children or teenagers. The active shooters of these mass shooters bought an average of four other guns with them. One hundred and forty of those guns used were bought legally and 39 were obtained illegally. [5] These numbers are rising along with legislation to create harsher and stricter gun laws. The impact of these numbers come from the people who want to bring better regulations on guns.

These numbers are clear as water. According to the Pew Research Center, 85% of Americans agree to stop gun show loopholes. 80% of Americans agree to prohibit mentally ill people from owning, carrying a handgun, rifles, or assault weapons. Sixty- seven percent of Americans agrees to track gun sales, while 55% of Americans agree to ban assault weapons.[6]

These numbers are very encouraging and show that Americans notice and know that guns must more regulated. People understand that there’s an issue with gun regulation, but are they willing to fully advocate for it?

My suggestions for better and stricter gun regulation is:

-Every 6 months, there will be full extensive FBI background checks

– Every 6 months, there will be Mental Health and eye screenings

– Monthly routinely self-defense classes.

Citations:

[1] “Does the NRA Really Have More than 4.5 Million Members?” Washington Post. The Washington Post, 8 Feb. 2013. Web. 16 Aug. 2016.

 

[2] Fingerhut, Hannah. “5 Facts about Guns in the United States.” Pew Research Center RSS. N.p., 05 Jan. 2016. Web. 16 Aug. 2016.

 

[3] Morin, Rich. “The Demographics and Politics of Gun-owning Households.” Pew Research Center RSS. Pew Research Center, 2014. Web. 16 Aug. 2016. Gun ownership in the United States is declining overall, but nearly a third of households still have a gun.

 

[4] The Politics Book. N.p.: DK Pub., 2013. Print.

 

[5] “50 Years of U.S. Mass Shootings: The Victims, Sites, Killers and Weapons.”Washington Post. The Washington Post, 27 July 2016. Web. 16 Aug. 2016.

 

[6] “The Gun Rights Proponents More Politically Active.” Pew Research Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Aug. 2016.