Firearm politics is a one of the most controversial issues of the US politics, which is majorly described by the disagreement of two groups, namely firearm control and firearm rights activists. The two groups have frequently disagreed on the construal of the laws and lawsuits associated with firearms. Recently, studies have also indicated that the two groups have extended their disagreements to include the effects of firearm banning on public safety and crime. Firearm rights activists have frequently maintained that carrying a concealed firearm scares criminals since they are less likely to attack an armed individual. These activists cite the right of an individual to keep or bear arms as stated in the 2nd Amendment, and consequently argue that persons carrying concealed firearm are law-abiding, and do not inappropriately use firearms. On the other hand, the firearm control activists often argue that increased firearm ownership results in more crime and unintentional injuries. In the public domain, carrying a hidden firearm is allowed in almost all the 50 states as of 2013. Consequently, this paper presents a proposal argument that opposes the banning of firearms. It attempts to confirm what is already known in the public domain, as almost all 50 states have legalized the carrying of concealed firearm in public. In addition, the paper persuades opponents to adopt the standpoint that firearm should not be banned.
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Reasons against the Banning of Firearms
The first reason against the illegalization of carrying concealed firearm is that it infringes the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. The Amendment clearly states that the right of an individual to keep or bear arms shall not be violated. Several judges when making rulings on various cases linked to firearms have also obeyed the Amendment. For instance, in Moore vs Madigan case, the federal 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the 2nd Amendment’s right needs to be interpreted to encompass the entitlement to have a hidden gun in public for self-defense or have it ready for use. In the Peruta vs San Diego, 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the 2nd Amendment demands implementation of some kind of provision that allow the carrying of concealed firearms mainly for self-defense outside the home. Against this backdrop, banning the carrying of firearms will violate the rights specified by the 2nd Amendment.
The second reason against the banning of firearms is that majority of adults with the license to carry concealed firearms are law-abiding and do not deploy them inappropriately. Reports and studies in Texas have affirmed this by pointing out that licensed firearm holders are 5.3 times less likely to be arrested for violent crimes and 14 times less likely to be arrested for non-violent crimes than the public. North Carolina Report on The Truth about Guns also echoes these findings by pointing out that licensed firearm holders are 5 times less likely to murder than the public. According to this report, the figure of incidences in which carriers of concealed firearms kill innocent person is only 1% of all the homicides linked to firearms. Against this backdrop, it implies that banning firearms might little or no impact on gun violence, compared to the benefits associated with allowing carrying of firearm.
Thirdly, allowing licensed persons to carry concealed firearms might assist in deterring crime and stop public shooting spree. One such event that necessitated the enactment of laws allowing the carrying of concealed firearm is the 1999 Columbine High School massacre. The state of Colorado enacted one such law that would later prevent a shooting spree in 2007 in which a licensed firearm holder suppressed an attack before taking place. According to Kim, the numbers of public shooting were declining between 1977 and 1995 (2).
The forth reason is that majority of US citizens oppose the banning of carrying concealed firearm. Statistical reports in 2012 conducted by Reuters pointed out that about 75% of US citizen did not support the banning of firearm. Most of the citizens are of the viewpoint that law-abiding persons must not be denied their right of carrying a concealed firearm. Moreover, the 2013 CBS report revealed that approximately 65% of US citizens do not support laws illegalizing the carrying of concealed weapon. With the majority supporting the legalization of carrying concealed weapon, it is senseless to ban firearms because they will still break the law. The majority will always have their way despite the minority having their say.
Arguments for Banning the Firearms
Gun control activists have always countered the gun rights activists’ argument that licensed concealed weapons deter crime by claiming the opposite. Gun control activists maintain that concealed firearms increase rates of violence crimes. Lott argues that states that ratified regulations allowing carrying concealed weapon between 1977 and 2010 witnessed about 2 and 9 percent increase in murder crimes, rape assaults, burglary and auto-theft respectively. Lott’s study reveals that homicides related to firearms increased averagely by about 4.5 per 100000 individuals because of the enactment of laws allowing carrying of concealed weapons. In addition, Lott argues that laws legalizing the carrying of concealed weapons by licensed persons are linked to the rising number of assaults from 1977 to 2006.
The licensing of individuals to have concealed increases the likelihood of a minor disagreement turning lethal. Squires finds out that an individual licensed to carry a concealed weapon is about 4.5 times likely to be shot during a confrontation than an individual without a gun. Kim argues that persons carrying licensed firearms risk escalating minor disagreements into public shootouts, particularly in places characterized with frequent disputes, such as sporting events and bars.
Gun control activists claim that the 2nd Amendment rights must also have limits. According to Lott, the right secured by the 2nd Amendment is limited similar to other rights. Despite the 2nd Amendment preventing the violation of the right to keep or bear firearms, it does not mention concealed firearms. According to gun control proponents, there is a need to control or set limits without infringing the 2nd Amendment rights.
Ill-intentioned persons are likely to carry illegally a firearm upon suspecting that their target might be armed. Squires points out that criminals frequently carry weapons to threaten the victim rather than kill it. However, in the event that the victim resists, criminals have no choice but to shoot. An individual licensed with a gun is less likely to resist than an individual without a gun. Consequently, banning firearms might prevent gun violence because both the victim and the criminal will have nothing lethal for self-defense.
Firearms should also be banned because carrying concealed weapons instill fear among the non-carrying public. The number of gun violence and offenses, following the enactment of laws allowing the carrying of firearms, makes the non-carrying public to feel less safe. It is for a reason that certain licensed firearm holders might take advantage of the privileges they have by holding a firearm and confront innocent persons.
Solution to the Problem of Firearm Carrying
Having examined the reasons for and against the banning of firearms, it is evident that the solution is not to ban them. The solution is to allow and put in place stringent laws that will correct the negatives linked to licensing firearms. Some of the negatives arise from bad mental conditions of the firearm holder. For instance, majority of the individuals that escalate minor disagreements to lethal confrontations are not in their rightful minds. This can be solved by performing mental health checkup before the issuance of a firearm license. Persons with mental illnesses or records of mental illnesses should not be allowed to carry concealed weapons. On the other hand, individuals with no mental illnesses or record of poor mental condition should enjoy their right as provided by the 2nd Amendment. In order to ensure this, the federal government should enact laws that establish the limits of the 2nd Amendment laws, especially that relating to the right of holding or bearing arms.
The second solution is to perform a background check on the character of the person applying for the license to carry a firearm. This might involve examining the criminal records of the applicants keenly. Only individuals with clean criminal records should enjoy the right of carrying and bearing firearms. Any small violation of constitution laws should be sufficient to deny the applicant the license to hold a firearm.
This paper has argued against the banning of firearms, and attempted to persuade readers that banning of firearms is not a solution to the increasing gun violence. From the arguments presented, it is evident that the majority of Americans do not approve the banning of firearms. Consequently, the arguments against the banning of firearms outweigh the arguments for banning the firearms. This paper has confirmed the views of the majority of Americans, and challenged the views of gun control activists. However, despite this confirmation, there are certain areas that the policy must address. For instance, the policy must require the performing of background checks on the criminal history of the persons applying for the license to hold a firearm, as well as the checkup of mental status of applicants.