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Why firearms should be banned

Obtaining a gun in the US is not hard, if one skips a few legal hurdles. The laws against handling guns here are at best a charade- a bureaucratic system meant to discourage whoever is after the gun. Although these laws are supposed to lower the number of people carrying guns around, there are still many unqualified people still totting guns. Some of these people had the guns handed down the family lines. Others simply went to a concealed gun shop and purchased the weapon. However they obtain these guns, most of these people lack proper training on how to handle firearms.

Some pose danger to themselves due to their unstable mental states. The reason for going out and getting a gun are diverse. For some people, it offers a sense of security. They figure that in case of a robbery or any physical attack, their trusted guns would improve the odds in their favor. Other people get the guns with purely malicious intentions. This category of people includes the gangsters and all people involved in family feuds. For these people, the intention behind getting a gun is one- to get rid of the opponent in the cleanest way available.

A final group of people see guns as their ticket out of this world. For them, if the going becomes hard, a single bullet will end their misery. Guns are attractive as weapons due to their simple, cold and impersonal efficiency. All it takes is the squeeze of the trigger, and a human problem is laid permanently to rest. Even cowards can use these weapons on themselves or others. There is no physical or psychological experience needed with guns. Yet, as long as a person can aim and squeeze the trigger, they retain their lethality.

A gun in the hands of a child is just as dangerous as one in the hands of a cop – perhaps more dangerous, since the child is likely to be more adventurous. The ease with which guns can be obtained has resulted in all sorts of bizarre incidents. From the Virginia Tech massacre, to the Portland shooting a few weeks ago, it has been demonstrated over and over again that guns in the wrong hands can cause a lot of unnecessary grief. The statistics on fatalities caused by guns in the US are demonstrative enough. In 2001, 29,573 lives were lost through gunshots.

Of them, 16,869 were lost through suicide. Gangster-related deaths were 11,348. 802 deaths were accidental, and the rest were either through legal intervention or undeterminable. From this information alone, it is clear that the biggest fraction of deaths through firearms was actually preventable, if only stricter gun rules were in place (Utah, N. D. ). The actual losses in finances and wasted manpower from firearms are much harder to determine. For example, although the number of fatalities was 29,573 in 2001, the number of casualties from firearms exceeded 200,000.

Most of these casualties sustained serious injuries, and had to be admitted into hospital for a period of time. All this cost money, and resulted in reduced productivity. Some casualties would need both physical treatments as well as psychological therapy for trauma before they could return to normal life. The US law has a glaring loophole for anybody wishing to possess a gun. The second amendment states in principle that the right of people to possess guns should not be infringed upon (Utah, N. D. ).

The original, intended meaning for this clause was that well trained militia men had the right to have guns in the interests of public safety. But this original meaning is not well laid down, and numerous, unscrupulous characters take advantage of the loophole. Other laws put in force are equally ineffective. The 1994 Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, for example, is limited in scope, and never affects secondary gun markets. No wonder the rate at which people are getting the guns is actually outstripping the total population growth rate (Utah, N. D. ).

The laws in the US need serious reconstruction. Obtaining a gun through legal channels is surprisingly easy. The process basically involves obtaining consent from the local permit-issuing office, and then getting another from the department of public safety. In both these offices, whether the permit will be granted is based on the person’s previous records. Hence, if a person has stayed within the law, he or she can get a gun anytime. One has to be over 21 years, of course. Foreigners can also get firearms, though the process is a bit more complex for them (Veronica, 2008).

In short, getting a firearm in the US is about as complex as getting a driving license. Talk about selling death by whole sale. There is an obvious, impending danger, when untrained people can purchase or otherwise get hold of such deadly weapons with ease, anywhere. The situation is made worse by contemporary media services, which broadcast all sorts of violent scenes at prime time. The young, impressionable mind absorbs all this violence, and sees it as a normal part of life. Give such an individual a gun, and you have a huge problem in your hands.

The Virginia Tech massacre may have shocked many people, but in reality it was bound to happen. Modern living abounds with all sorts of stressful conditions. The average person is often a ticking bomb, waiting to explode. When Seung-Hui Cho exploded in Virginia, he signed off this planet with 32 other innocent lives (Fox News). All these lives, including Seung-Hui’s, would have been saved had the gun been in the right hands. So, with all these glaring facts about guns, why is the US so lethargic about taking decisive control? Why does the government actually seem to be encouraging this frightening trend?

In 2005 for example, Congress actually shot down a motion that would have added five gun control measures into the law. One of the measures would have prevented suspected terrorists from carrying guns. The reasons forwarded for this surprising move by Congress was that the five measures had conceptual flaws (Robert, 2005). These conceptual flaws were never addressed, and the whole issue was rapidly swept under the carpet. It left people wondering at the priority set up of Congress. With the government itself setting the example, the average citizen feels emboldened to acquire a gun and brandish it as a status symbol.

Most people purchase guns without a specific reason, apart from a perceived “potential danger”. And, just as with any other tool, you can’t carry a gun around for long without feeling a need to use it. The temptations are everywhere. We are forever surrounded by people who tax our patience or our very sanity. With a gun around, these people can easily be taken care of. But the problem with guns, as already pointed out, is that their solutions are terminal, and can not be reversed. The argument that guns provide personal security is also wrong.

In fact, having a gun without adequate experience is like speeding on the highway on your first day behind the wheel. In both cases, you pose a danger to yourself. If security could be improved by providing everybody with guns, why, the entire military would be sent home, and everybody would pack a Magnum. The fact of the matter is that guns need specialized skills, and hence only qualified people should handle them. That’s why the military has a training regime, after which the military men and women dedicate their lives to providing security to the rest of the population.

Instead of allowing free gun trade, the government should enforce laws that strictly allow only qualified and licensed people to have guns. An obvious benefit of this is that even the gangsters themselves would find it much harder to have these deadly weapons. Some people rationalize that firearms are just like any other product in the market – and should not be restricted. According to them, buying a gun is just like buying rat poison – both are safe, if handled with care. The problem with this argument is that guns invoke emotions in people that few other gadgets or goods in the market can.

Guns give a false sense of security, and even power. A gun-totting individual is far more likely to take irrational risks, secure in the knowledge that his or her gun will solve any problems that may arise. In short, guns change personalities. Knowing that the next person is still alive just because you’ve restrained your trigger finger can profoundly change perceptions. It also places a lot of responsibility on the person with the gun. Some people can not handle this responsibility, and scenes like the Virginia massacre become inevitable.

While withdrawing guns completely from the society would be ideal, it is also a fact that guns do have their positive aspects. Some guns are used in recreation purposes, like hunting and target shooting. Some people, by their professions or physical locations, deserve to have guns. Hence a compromise is inevitable, somewhere. An ideal compromise would be to allow only riffles amongst the citizens, and reserve the pistols and revolvers to trained military people. This way, chances of one carrying the big riffles in public will greatly reduce, and so will the “accidents” associated with guns.

By way of conclusion, guns are a menace in the society. The less of them in the society, the better the society. Many needless deaths would be avoided if guns were outlawed, or at least controlled more strictly. Thus, while the US government makes all sorts of grand plans on prosperity, everybody should take a moment and realize that with all the guns lying around, we are literally shooting our feet. We either stop the trend, or we are doomed. Works cited: Fox News. “Virginia Tech Campus Reels From Shooting That Leaves at Least 32 Dead”. http://www. foxnews.

com/story/0,2933,266374,00. html. Accessed on 5th March, 2009 Robert Longley (2005) Congress Rejects Proposed Gun Control Laws retrieved from http://usgovinfo. about. com/od/guncontrol/a/gunbanpan. htm accessed on 5th March, 2005. Utah (N. D. ) Statistics, gun control issues, and safety Retrieved from http://library. med. utah. edu/WebPath/TUTORIAL/GUNS/GUNSTAT. html accessed on 5th March, 2009. Veronica Rose (2008) Description of gun permit application process Retrieved from http://www. cga. ct. gov/2008/rpt/2008-R-0167. htm accessed on 5th March, 2009

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