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Analysis and Criticism of the US Gun Control Laws

Firearms can be a means of attack and defense, which in both cases can lead to the death of people. At the same time, there is no definite evidence that allowing the carrying of weapons for defense reduces or increases the safety of the population and the number of attacks in general. This indisputable evidence is unavailable due to the many variables that need to be considered in different kinds of societies and countries. For this reason, states enact various laws and regulations that completely prohibit the purchase and carry of weapons or restrict or enchase this right. However, these laws are often changed according to the positions of the people in power.

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The debate over the control and regulation of weapons in the United States has been going on for decades and is causing controversy among both ordinary citizens and government officials. This issue becomes especially relevant with the increase in the number of victims of gunshot wounds and mass shootings. As cases of mass shootings and homicides have already reached a high rate, the government is concerned and requires decisions on the regulation of weapons in individual states and the United States in general (Rusling).

However, Republican and Democratic representatives see different ways to solve the problem, such as removing restrictions on gun purchasing and carrying, on the contrary, tightening them, respectively Nevertheless, while restrictions are measures based mainly on the views and initiatives of politicians, the right to bear arms is enshrined by the founding fathers of the United States. Therefore, since the right to bear arms is enshrined in the Second Amendment and helps Americans defend their lives, passing laws to remove the restriction is a more reasonable approach.

Gun Control Laws in the US and Their Disadvantages

Studying of gun control laws should start by pointing out the fact that most states have their own rules on this issue. According to the Second Amendment of the Constitution, all US citizens have the right to keep and bear weapons for their protection. This rule is fundamental to all laws as they are adopted to regulate and limit it. These restrictions vary and differ from state to state depending on the prevailing political views.

However, there are also some federal laws that control the exercise of Americans’ right to bear arms. Firstly, according to The Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA), citizens must be over 18 years old to buy shotguns and ammunition, and to purchase other types of firearms, the buyer must be 21 years old (“Can Gun Control”). In addition, weapons cannot be acquired by people with mental illnesses, people with prior felony convictions or serious misdemeanors, as well as those who are recognized as dangerous to society.

The National Firearms Act (NFA) also requires all firearms and their purchasers to be registered so that the gun owner can be tracked in the event of violations. In addition, according to the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993, all in-person buyers undergo a background check before purchasing a gun (“Can Gun Control”). Thus, federal laws establish basic requirements for the sale and purchase of weapons that cannot be overridden by the states’ government.

At the same time, the original purpose of these laws does not always coincide with the results to which they lead. Even though the authorities and the police fight against the illegal trade in weapons, the black market is still a developed structure through which criminals can get the goods they want. In addition, since this market lacks standards and regulations, weapons can be of poor quality and lead to accidents. Consequently, the establishment of prohibitions and restrictions does not prevent the purchase of firearms by those people who intend to use them for harm but makes it difficult for law-abiding citizens to acquire them. While ordinary citizens are being tested, registered, or licensed, criminals buy firearms that they can use against them. Consequently, strengthening regulations hinder the protection of citizens more than reduces armed violence.

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Furthermore, one of the most frequently discussed and troubling issues is the right to bear arms in public, which differs from state to state. For example, California, Florida, Illinois, and the District of Columbia forbid openly wearing firearms in public (De Vogue and Cole). In New York City, one must obtain a permit by explaining special needs or circumstances, such as a house in a highly criminal area, to carry a gun. Massachusetts, Minnesota, and New Jersey prohibit the wearing of long guns but not handguns openly. The rest of the other states are allowed to carry firearms, but in some of them, a person must get a permit for it (De Vogue and Cole).

These differences are justified by both the position of authorities and the state’s specifics, since those regions that have more country representatives are more liberal towards carrying weapons because the majority of residents are engaged in hunting. Consequently, these trends demonstrate that weapons are controlled to varying degrees throughout the country, thus limiting the rights of part of the population.

Moreover, such an uneven distribution of regulations and a ban on carrying weapons is, in fact, a violation of the Second Amendment of the Constitution. The text of the amendment states that citizens have the right to bear weapons for protection. However, if a gun is at home or unloaded, a person cannot defend his or her life in the event of an attack. In addition, another difference in state law that pertains to the right to self-defense is “stand your ground law,” which allows lethal weapons to be used for defense even if there is a retreat from danger.

For example, in Pennsylvania, a person can use firearms only against an attacker with a lethal weapon, but in Texas, this right also applies to property protection (“Brows State Gun Laws”). Consequently, these rules demonstrate that state residents have different consequences for using weapons, although they all strive to protect their lives, honor, or property.

Another rule that is implemented differently in American states and has different names is the “red flag” system. This system is a set of rules and procedures that allow the police to temporarily remove weapons from people who pose a threat to themselves and society (Elinson). However, states have different procedures, which often make it challenging to implement these measures, and also take into account different factors for the court’s decision, time frames for removing, and rules (Elinson). Consequently, residents in some states may be deprived of their defensive guns for reasons that are considered insufficient in other states.

Recent Changes and Legislative Initiatives

2021 presupposes and brings new changes to gun control legislation. First, in March 2021, The House approved bills to strengthen and expand the background check for gun buyers (Edmondson). These bills change two critical aspects of US gun purchases, since they oblige all buyers to be checked even if they purchase from online sellers or at gun shows, although previously, this step was only required for sales in-person (Edmondson). In addition, the FBI background check period has been extended from three to ten days (Edmondson). However, such measures are only an additional burden for ordinary citizens and increase their waiting time for acquiring weapons. Consequently, if a person feels a threat to their life, they can wait up to 10 days to receive their remedy and cannot defend themselves.

Moreover, Biden also intends to adopt several other restrictions that will limit the ability to buy and bear weapons. First, potential changes are aimed at implementing mandatory marking on all parts of handguns assembled at home so that they can be tracked (Linskey; “Biden has launched”). Second, there will also be a ban on “stabilizing braces” for pistols, which allow handguns to be converted into short-barreled rifles (Linskey; “Biden has launched”). These changes are among the few to address armed violence, although they are aimed primarily at ordinary citizens but not criminals.

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However, despite the anti-gun efforts of the Administration, progress has also been made to lift the restrictive rules on American rights. For the first time in ten years, the High Court has agreed to consider a case to lift New York’s restrictive gun rule (De Vogue and Cole). Today, a New Yorker must explain exceptional circumstances for being allowed to carry a gun outside his or her home. However, it is almost impossible to obtain such permission, since being a law-abiding citizen is no longer enough to exercise your constitutionally guaranteed right (De Vogue and Cole). Special circumstances are living in a criminal area, dangerous work,, or other reasons that seem serious enough in court. Similar laws also apply in California, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Rhode Island (Liptak). Consequently, a favorable resolution of this case will contribute to the repeal of the law in all states.

Therefore, the court agreed to consider the case, which shows a shift towards the return to American citizens of the right guaranteed by the Second Amendment. However, the lacks of current legislation show that ordinary citizens and people in power must fight this right.

Conclusion

Therefore, an analysis of federal and state laws on gun control shows that most of them have significant deficiencies. Rules restricting the purchasing, carrying, and using weapons for defense make it difficult for law-abiding citizens to access weapons as they complicate the procedure for obtaining them. In addition, the government continues to tighten these rules at the federal level but does not care about ensuring equal rights for residents of all states.

At the same time, these laws do not interfere with the black market and purchase weapons by those who prefer to do it illegally. At the same time, the ban on carrying weapons violates the Second Amendment of the Constitution and deprives citizens of the opportunity to protect themselves, their loved ones, and property. Nevertheless, the first steps towards recognizing these laws as unconstitutional in some states and their abolition have already been taken. Thus, further efforts by politicians and ordinary citizens to regain fundamental freedoms will help achieve equality of the right to buy and bear firearms in the near future.

Works Cited

“Biden Has Launched His Gun-Control Agenda with a Set of Executive Actions.” National Review, vol. 73, no. 8, 2021, p. 6. Gale In Context: College. Web.

“Brows State Gun Laws: Stand Your Ground.” Gifford Law Center. Web.

“Can Gun Control Laws Help Reduce Violence in the US?”ProQuest, 2019. Web.

De Vogue, Ariane and Devan Cole. “Supreme Court agrees to take up major Second Amendment case.” CNN Wire. 2021. Gale Academic OneFile Select. Web.

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Edmondson, Catie. “House Passes Gun Control Bills to Strengthen Background Checks.” The New York Times. 2021. Web.

Elinson, Zusha. “U.S. News: ‘Red Flag’ Gun Provisions Gather Bipartisan Support.” Wall Street Journal, 2019. ProQuest. Web.

Linskey, Annie. “Biden announces action on gun control.” Washington Post. 2021, p. NA. Gale In Context: College. Web.

Liptak, Adam. “Supreme Court to Hear Case on Carrying Guns in Public.” The New York Times. 2021. Web.

Rusling, Matthew. “World Insights: U.S. rocked by multiple mass shootings, but major gun legislation unlikely.” Xinhua News Agency. 2021, Gale OneFile: War and Terrorism. Web.

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