Approximately70 percent of the murders in the United States in 1997 were committed usingguns” (Zimring: Encarta Encyclopedia). Why are these stats so absurdlylarge? What is being done to bring these numbers down? “Gun control isregulating the use of firearms and their ownership to reduce violence,”says Franklin E. Zimring, a professor of Law and Director of the EarlWarren Legal Institute, University of California at Berkeley, and co-authorof The Citizen’s Guide to Gun Control. Guns and gun safety are importantissues in the United States. Both Federal and State gun control laws havebeen passed. Proper storage of guns, gun safety classes, more efficientbackground checks, and increased penalties and laws are the beginnings of asafer America.
Many people highly support the increased enforcement of gunlaws and bills governing firearm users. Around the world, someone’s young child is killed with a loaded gunevery few minutes. This is one of the leading causes of death in children. According to Alan Greene, MD, “about half of US homes contain firearms, andone in four gun owners keep their guns loaded and easily accessible.
Nothaving a gun readily accessible is the safest choice. If guns are a must-have, they should be emptied and locked up securely to prevent childrenfrom gaining access to the firearms. These guns should only be accessibleby responsible adults. ” “The “Children’s Access Prevention Act” holdsadults who fail to lock up a loaded firearm, or an unloaded firearm withammunition, liable if the weapon is taken by a child and used to kill orinjure him or herself, or another person,” says Carl Levin, a U. S. Senator,who is a cosponsor of the bill.
“The Act also creates a gun safetyeducation program that includes parent-teacher organizations, local lawenforcement and community organizations. ” These safety measures are thefirst steps to reduce the thousands of preventable firearm deaths thatoccur each year. To own a gun, one must apply for a permit or license. One of thestrategies for controlling guns requires the licensing of guns and waitingperiods before purchasing a gun.
Under the National Instant CriminalBackground Check System (NICS) managed bytheFederalBureauofInvestigation (FBI), firearm dealers are required to run a background checkon the potential buyer, which may identify convicted felons and otherindividuals who are prohibited from owning a gun. This background check isknown as the Brady Bill, which was adopted in 1993 by the Congress of theUnited States. In 1998, a new computerized verification system replaced theinitial five-day waiting period requirement for the Brady Bill, making thebackground checks easier and faster. This bill has prevented countlessnumbers of convicted felons, other individuals, such as those with mentalillness or a history of domestic violence, and minors from obtaining guns. Strict penalties and new laws to deal with those who areinvolved in gun incidents and fatalities have been discussed at recentLegislative sessions. “These laws would work to prohibit high-risk gunsfrom being acquired by anyone other than the police and would also keephigh-risk people from obtaining firearms” (Zimring: World Book).
“Since1934, Federal law has limited the sale and ownership of machine guns andsawed-off shotguns. These were considered to behigh-riskweapons. Semiautomatic guns joined this list in 1994, and are called assault weaponsin the legislation” (Zimring: Encarta Encyclopedia). High-risk people arethose whom authorities consider most likely to misuse firearms. Federal andstate laws prohibit these people from owning guns. The laws also prohibitsales of firearms to minors.
“Current bills passed by the United StatesCongress are the `Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act’, which”prohibits civil liability actions from being brought or continued againstmanufacturers, distributors, dealers, orimportersoffirearmsorammunition for damages resulting from the misuse of their products byothers”, and `Crackdown on Deadbeat Dealers Act of 2003′, which is “toensure greater accountability by licensed firearms dealers”. Gun controlbills passed in Congress pertain to the purchase, possession, and carryingof firearms” (NRA). They are becoming stricter, and will remain a hot topicin the Legislature as long as there is violence involving firearms takingplace.Guns, when used in an unsafe manner, or when in the wrong hands, leadto numerous murders, suicides, and unintentional killings every year.Proper storage of guns, gun safety education, more