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Critique Essay, Research Paper

 Sundays Hunt May 4, 1999 Gun Control One of the biggest issues in the United States today seems to be gun control. Thegovernment is constantly proposing legislation for more and more gun control. Slowlythey are chipping away at our constitutional right to keep and bear arms. You must askyourself: For what reason does the government want to restrict law abiding citizens fromowning guns? Certainly government is not so naive to think criminals will adhere to guncontrol laws. There just may be an underlying motive for gun control. After all, peoplewould be easier to control if they were defenseless. Few public policy debates have beenas dominated by emotion and misinformation as the one on gun control. Banning guns toreduce crime makes as much sense as banning alcohol to reduce drunk driving. In fact,evidence shows that civilian gun ownership can be a powerful deterrent to crime. In 1966the police in Orlando, Florida, responded to a rape epidemic by drafting a highlypublicized program to train 2,500 women in firearm use. The next year rape fell by 88percent in Orlando (the only major city to experience a decrease that year); burglary fell by25 percent. Actually, of the 2,500 women not one ended up firing her weapon; thedeterrent effect of the publicity sufficed. Five years later Orlando’s rape rate was stillthirteen percent below the pre-program level, whereas the surrounding standardmetropolitan area had suffered a 308 percent increase. During a 1974 police strike inAlbuquerque armed citizens patrolled their neighborhoods and shop owners publiclyarmed themselves; felonies dropped notably. In March 1982 Kennesaw, Georgia, enacteda law requiring members of each household to keep a gun at home; house burglaries fellfrom 65 per year to 26, and to 11 the following year. Comparable publicized trainingprograms for gun-toting merchants distinctly reduced store robberies in Highland Park,Michigan, and New Orleans; a grocers organization’s gun clinics produced the same resultin Detroit. Gun control advocates note that only two burglars in 1,000 are driven off byarmed homeowners. However, since a huge majority of burglaries take place when no oneis home, the statistical citation is deceptive. Several criminologists attribute thepredominance of daytime burglary to burglars’ fear of encountering an armed resident.Indeed, a burglar’s chance of being sent to jail is about the same as his chance of beingshot by a victim if the burglar breaks into an occupied residence (one to two percent ineach case). Gun control is based on the faulty notion that ordinary American citizens aretoo hazardous and ill-tempered to be trusted with weapons. Only through the blatantrevocation of specific constitutional rights is gun control even possible. It must beenforced with such violations of individual rights as officious search and seizure. Manyadvocates of gun control believe that legislation in their favor will create a decrease inviolent crime. To the contrary, Great Britain, a country with gun control, reports afrightening 1,200 percent increase of violent crimes against individuals in the last thirtythree years (between 1960 and 1993). The number of robberies in this same time periodhas increased by 2,700 percent. Great Britain’s overall crime rate has risen by 680 percent.Gun control advocates- those who favor additional legal restrictions on the availability ofguns or who want to outlaw certain types of guns–argue that the more guns there are, themore crime there will be. There is no simple statistical relationship between gun ownershipand homicide or other violent crimes. In the first 30 years of this century, U.S. per capitahandgun ownership remained steady, but the homicide rate rose tenfold. Consequently,between 1937 and 1963, handgun ownership rose by 250 percent, but the homicide ratefell by 35.7 percent. Switzerland, through its militia system, issues both pistols and fullyautomatic assault rifles to all adult males and requires them to store their weapons athome. Further, civilian long-gun purchases are basically unregulated, and handguns areavailable to any adult without a criminal record or mental defect. Nevertheless,Switzerland suffers far less crime per capita than the United States and almost no guncrime. Most police officers agree that gun control laws are ineffective. A 1986questionnaire sent to every major police official in the country produced the followingresults: 97 percent believed that a firearms ownership ban would not reduce crime or keepcriminals from using guns; 89 percent believed that gun control laws such as those inChicago, Washington, D.C., and New York City had no effect on criminals; and 90percent believed that if firearms ownership was banned, ordinary citizens would be morelikely to be targets of armed violence. Guns do not turn ordinary citizens into murderers.Substantially, fewer than one gun owner in 3,000 commits homicide; and that one killer isfar from a typical gun owner. Studies have found two-thirds to four-fifths of homicideoffenders have prior arrest records, commonly for violent felonies. A study in 1977 by thepro-control Police Foundation of domestic homicides in Kansas City disclosed that in 85percent of homicides among family members, the police had been called in before to breakup violence. In half the cases, the police had been called five or more times. Thus, theaverage person who kills a family member is not a non-violent solid citizen who reachesfor a weapon in a moment of temporary insanity. Instead, he has a past record of illegalviolence and trouble with the law. Such people on the fringes of society are unlikely to beaffected by gun control laws. Indeed, since many killers already had felony convictions, itwas already unlawful for them to own a gun, but they found one anyway. “If ye lovewealth better than liberty, the tranquillity of servitude better than the animating contest offreedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouchdown and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and mayposterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”(Samuel Adams) I could not have said itbetter. By allowing the government to take away our right to keep and bear arms, we aresetting the precedence for the abolishment of all our rights and the eradication of the

Constitution of these United States of America.  Sundays Hunt May 4, 1999 Gun Control One of the biggest issues in the United States today seems to be gun control. Thegovernment is constantly proposing legislation for more and more gun control. Slowlythey are chipping away at our constitutional right to keep and bear arms. You must askyourself: For what reason does the government want to restrict law abiding citizens fromowning guns? Certainly government is not so naive to think criminals will adhere to guncontrol laws. There just may be an underlying motive for gun control. After all, peoplewould be easier to control if they were defenseless. Few public policy debates have beenas dominated by emotion and misinformation as the one on gun control. Banning guns toreduce crime makes as much sense as banning alcohol to reduce drunk driving. In fact,evidence shows that civilian gun ownership can be a powerful deterrent to crime. In 1966the police in Orlando, Florida, responded to a rape epidemic by drafting a highlypublicized program to train 2,500 women in firearm use. The next year rape fell by 88percent in Orlando (the only major city to experience a decrease that year); burglary fell by25 percent. Actually, of the 2,500 women not one ended up firing her weapon; thedeterrent effect of the publicity sufficed. Five years later Orlando’s rape rate was stillthirteen percent below the pre-program level, whereas the surrounding standardmetropolitan area had suffered a 308 percent increase. During a 1974 police strike inAlbuquerque armed citizens patrolled their neighborhoods and shop owners publiclyarmed themselves; felonies dropped notably. In March 1982 Kennesaw, Georgia, enacteda law requiring members of each household to keep a gun at home; house burglaries fellfrom 65 per year to 26, and to 11 the following year. Comparable publicized trainingprograms for gun-toting merchants distinctly reduced store robberies in Highland Park,Michigan, and New Orleans; a grocers organization’s gun clinics produced the same resultin Detroit. Gun control advocates note that only two burglars in 1,000 are driven off byarmed homeowners. However, since a huge majority of burglaries take place when no oneis home, the statistical citation is deceptive. Several criminologists attribute thepredominance of daytime burglary to burglars’ fear of encountering an armed resident.Indeed, a burglar’s chance of being sent to jail is about the same as his chance of beingshot by a victim if the burglar breaks into an occupied residence (one to two percent ineach case). Gun control is based on the faulty notion that ordinary American citizens aretoo hazardous and ill-tempered to be trusted with weapons. Only through the blatantrevocation of specific constitutional rights is gun control even possible. It must beenforced with such violations of individual rights as officious search and seizure. Manyadvocates of gun control believe that legislation in their favor will create a decrease inviolent crime. To the contrary, Great Britain, a country with gun control, reports afrightening 1,200 percent increase of violent crimes against individuals in the last thirtythree years (between 1960 and 1993). The number of robberies in this same time periodhas increased by 2,700 percent. Great Britain’s overall crime rate has risen by 680 percent.Gun control advocates- those who favor additional legal restrictions on the availability ofguns or who want to outlaw certain types of guns–argue that the more guns there are, themore crime there will be. There is no simple statistical relationship between gun ownershipand homicide or other violent crimes. In the first 30 years of this century, U.S. per capitahandgun ownership remained steady, but the homicide rate rose tenfold. Consequently,between 1937 and 1963, handgun ownership rose by 250 percent, but the homicide ratefell by 35.7 percent. Switzerland, through its militia system, issues both pistols and fullyautomatic assault rifles to all adult males and requires them to store their weapons athome. Further, civilian long-gun purchases are basically unregulated, and handguns areavailable to any adult without a criminal record or mental defect. Nevertheless,Switzerland suffers far less crime per capita than the United States and almost no guncrime. Most police officers agree that gun control laws are ineffective. A 1986questionnaire sent to every major police official in the country produced the followingresults: 97 percent believed that a firearms ownership ban would not reduce crime or keepcriminals from using guns; 89 percent believed that gun control laws such as those inChicago, Washington, D.C., and New York City had no effect on criminals; and 90percent believed that if firearms ownership was banned, ordinary citizens would be morelikely to be targets of armed violence. Guns do not turn ordinary citizens into murderers.Substantially, fewer than one gun owner in 3,000 commits homicide; and that one killer isfar from a typical gun owner. Studies have found two-thirds to four-fifths of homicideoffenders have prior arrest records, commonly for violent felonies. A study in 1977 by thepro-control Police Foundation of domestic homicides in Kansas City disclosed that in 85percent of homicides among family members, the police had been called in before to breakup violence. In half the cases, the police had been called five or more times. Thus, theaverage person who kills a family member is not a non-violent solid citizen who reachesfor a weapon in a moment of temporary insanity. Instead, he has a past record of illegalviolence and trouble with the law. Such people on the fringes of society are unlikely to beaffected by gun control laws. Indeed, since many killers already had felony convictions, itwas already unlawful for them to own a gun, but they found one anyway. “If ye lovewealth better than liberty, the tranquillity of servitude better than the animating contest offreedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouchdown and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and mayposterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”(Samuel Adams) I could not have said itbetter. By allowing the government to take away our right to keep and bear arms, we aresetting the precedence for the abolishment of all our rights and the eradication of theConstitution of these United States of America.

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