License to Kill – Conflicting Aspects of Gun Control

by Baba


The gun control in America has been a widely debated issue as general public and the parliamentarians have conflicting opinions in this regard. If you are an American national, you can buy and sell guns without fulfilling any legal requirement. But still the guns which are expensive and prohibited for civilian use require licenses. The debate of gun control is a part of American gun politics which involves the gun ownership issue, criminal use and legal compulsions. As United States of America is a state that believes in the individualistic strand, its majority considers the purchase of guns for safety as individual’s personal decision with which government has nothing to do. But as the criminal offences are done by the use of these guns, think tanks are now emphasizing changes in gun ownership and availability laws. Every individual in the United States has the right according to the constitution that he or she can buy a gun for the safety and protection with out seeking a license from the authorities. But we can not deny the fact that due to easy access and purchase of guns, the crime rate is increasing in the United States with the passage of time. So there is a group which advocates for making a compulsion of license for everyone.


History of gun control in America

Reminding the history will prevent us from repeating the mistakes which we did previously in fact. It is true that we will have to pay the price of not using hand guns as the personal protection was impossible without the guns. Now there is no restriction on the sale and purchase of guns in the United States up till now. It has been reported that the around 5000 yearly gun shows are conducted in United States of America which reveals that even a criminal can buy a gun without providing any kind of identification to the law enforcing agencies and to the seller. Majority of the people in the United States are against banning hand guns according to the Gallup poll conducted in the year 2008. According to sandy Froman (2009):

“After the 2nd amendment, no one questioned the need for private gun ownership. The Framers considered private firearms to be essential to protecting personal liberty, both as a means of opposing foreign threats and also as a check against excessive government power.”

Origination and uses of guns from early America to now

The gun ownership can be traced to the early American. It has been written by several historians that the gun ownership is a new phenomenon and old Americans did not have the right to keep arms. This is entirely a false claim as the history reveals that Americans had the right to keep arms since ever. The guns were used in to protect houses, family and possessions in the past. The hunting of animals was also done with the privately owned guns. This tradition continued till the beginning of 1900s. The first gun control law was introduced and enforced in the year 1911. And now it has been argued that there is no gun control law while it is untrue.

“Opponents of the Second Amendment started to mobilize at the federal level in the 1930s. It came during the New Deal, when the federal government was growing rapidly. Two laws enacted during this period, the National Firearms Act of 1934 and the Federal Firearms Act of 1938 established the first federal gun controls.” (Sandy Froman, 2009)

Timeline of bills and acts involving gun control

The timeline of gun control acts starts from the time of President Kennedy who emphasized the importance of gun control awareness of the masses so the possession and bearing of firearms may be controlled. According to a secondary source:

“Indeed, until 1968, handguns, rifles, shotguns, and ammunition were commonly sold over-the-counter and through mail-order catalogs and magazines to just about any adult anywhere in the nation.”

While the amendment of 1791 granted all the rights to the civilians to keep hand guns for self protection. In 1837, the amendment of 1791 was replaced with banning the possession of handguns. In 1938, the license was made a compulsion for those who sell guns to the civilians. And now the semi automatic guns are banned to be imported and sold to the civilians according to the 1990 crime control act.

Introduction of gun control arguments

Stance of pro-gun control

The difference in the way people perceive their constitutional rights and social position has a significant impact on their attitude about gun control. The pro gun control strand believes that the crime rate can be controlled by reducing easy access of the hand guns.

Stance of anti-gun control

The anti gun control strand believes that the restrictions are an interference in the individual and private decisions. According to a poll conducted by the national institute of justice in 1985:

“60% of felons polled agreed that a criminal is not going to mess around with a victim he knows is armed with a gun. The 7% felons agreed that criminals are more worried about meeting an armed victim, than they worry running into the police.”

Gun control laws do not help to prevent violence and gun crimes.

Reasoning behind Gun Control

Gun control is not the only way with which the crime rate can be reduced. Rather controlling the arms held by the civilians may generate security problems for the general public. The licensing can be something more secures then banning the sale and purchase of guns.

Violence rates involving guns

Numerous accidents and suicides take place due to the personal hand guns kept at home along with the street crimes.

National statistics

According to National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), the suicidal attempts using guns in the United States were found to be 16907 in the year 2004 alone. While the accidental fire shot were found to be injuring 23237 people in the year 2000.

Assassinations of major political figures and the acts followed

The assassinations of Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King led to the gun control act of 1968.

Gun control laws

Violence does not decrease with gun control laws

The violence can not be decreased with the gun control laws in fact. It is similar to further encouragement to the criminals as they will have to face no fear of armed victims.

Right to carry laws decrease violence

The researches and polls in this regard have revealed that the criminals fear to attack the victims with safety weapons. It increases the confidence of the people that they can protect themselves from the attackers while they are at home or in the street. A study on gun attitudes and fear of crime by Linda Heath, Kyle Weeks and Marie Mackay Murphy (1997) has examined the relationship between the attitudes towards guns and the fear of crime. It has revealed that the victims with gun are believed to be defensive and criminals fear catching such a victim. So the stereotypical beliefs in this regard have effects on the mind of victim as well as the criminals. People who believe on the stereotypes related to guns in the hand of victim, usually revealed disagreement for the idea of banning hand guns.

Two sides of gun control

The both strands in this regard have conflicting ideas which have been discussed earlier as well.

Pro-gun control

The pro gun strand argues that the suicide rate is increasing to the convenient availability of guns in private usage. The gun control surely has in impact on controlling the accidents caused by gun fires and suicides. A study in Canada revealed that the control of arms to reduce suicides led to the increase in other methods of suicide. Hence it is proved that the gun control is not the solution to the many social problems including the crime rate.

Guns promote violence and should be banned

The very first argument of the pro gun control is that the guns are promoting violence like: robberies, street crimes and murders. So it is better to ban and control the sale and purchase of hand guns for civilians. There must be a control of law enforcing agencies over the business of guns and weapons. As the gun bearer may hurt others he does not have the right to keep gun.

Groups dedicated to gun control and their agendas

Many of the groups are dedicated to the gun control and striving to prove their point of views as the ultimate truth. The gun and weapon manufacturing firms are advocating for being the bearers of the goal to make the lives of US nationals more secure and protected. They argue that they are manufacturing guns for the safety and if the guns are banned their interests will be damaged so they do not want the guns to be banned at any case. Think tanks also have varying ideas in this regard. Many organizations, media and communities have joined hands as anti gun strand.

Political figures and “celebrities” for gun control

Names of several political and celebrity unions that are working as anti gun organizations are: AFL-CIO, American Alliance for Rights and Responsibilities, American Association of School Administrators, American Association for the Surgery of Trauma, American Bar Association, National Association of Police Organizations, Dehere Foundation, Harris Foundation, Hechinger Foundation, Lauder Foundation, Lawrence Foundation, Rotenberg Foundation, Police Foundation, H.M. Strong Foundation and Florence and John Shumann Foundation.

Anti-gun control/Pro-gun rights

Gun control is ineffective against reducing crime as it will only affect the responsible Americans. The criminals do not follow the laws to bear guns and weapons so the suffering side would be of victims only. The crime rate will rise instead of getting reduced. It is the need of the time that the authorities take the responsibility of spreading gun education.

Future of gun control

Although the authorities will not ban the usage of guns for defensive purpose as it has been argued that the compulsion of license would be enforced if agreed by the members. It will be done to reduce arms in the hands of criminals as they will not be able to buy guns without license.

1. What if gun control is more lax?

The gun control debate will never last due the difference of point of views. The careless approach towards gun control is also not good for the general public so gun control laws should be made without hurting the individual right to keep safety guns.

2. What if gun control becomes stricter?

The gun control, if becomes strict in the time to come, will increase the crime rate rather then decreasing it because the criminals believe that an armless citizen can be fearlessly attacked. So the control of weapons will increase threats to the victims.

Discuss current issues

It is now considered highly important to control and regulate the firearms after 9/11 as terrorists can easily access the guns. But few groups believe that disarming and controlling firearms may not be good for the United States as a nation. The disarming is usually done to take away weapons from the nations who have lost a war. Also, the countries which have poor governing system and face frequent rebellion acts; introduce policies of reducing firearms in the hands of civilians so no one may stand up against the dictatorship. But in individualistic cultures controlling arms is not appreciated. The only reason for the people advocating in favor of the gun licenses, is the increasing crime rate in the country. The major purpose of allowing civilian use of guns is to preserve the national sovereignty and protection of individuals. Recent news reports reveal that the illegal guns are being sold for the gun shows and the new investigations are locating such weapons.


Guns are important to American society (war, hunting, protection) since ever. It may be only tradition United States has brought from its ancestors. Gun control should be reduced and education should be increased as it is what demanded by the majority of American population. Violence will always be present whether guns exist or not. So reducing guns can not prevent crimes and other social problems attached to the usage of guns. Moreover the smart gun owners lead to fewer accidents. So the civilians should be conscious while using their personal guns. .

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

tactical body armor December 17, 2009 at 10:34 pm

I hope for our armed soliders in Afghanistan are allowed do their jobs and complete their mission. Congress must approve the funding needed to purchase the bullet proof vests and other supplies required to bring peace to the region.


Premod Singh April 1, 2010 at 1:46 pm

I am as soon as purchase 9mm pistol , Please send me other enquiry . I have no. licence ,Please send any way if you have.


Premod Singh


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