Being constantly changing and evolving, contemporary society becomes vulnerable to issues of technological, cultural and societal progress. From the critical point of view, although guns have been a part of our rural culture for hundreds of years, their increasingly horrific misuse by individuals, including children, children seems to be a more recent phenomenon. Recognition that gun misuse is only a symptom is crucial to our society finding solutions to the increasing violence within it.
Practically, if an individual is going to have a handgun, it is because of intentions to protect the family and oneself, so it is necessary to keep the thing loaded and easily available.
Unfortunately, the rationale behind having a gun to protect a family does not fit into existing reality, in which potential and actual threats associated with guns exist for children, people with mental disorders, and many other groups, and that is the main reason for why modern American society needs stricter gun control laws.
Right to carry a gun and to use it as means of self-protection is deeply embedded in our society’s culture and psychology.
According to words of San Antonio’s citizen, who commutes daily by bus, “Buses are places that can get crowded and noisy, with incidental bumping and occasional harsh words. Sometimes the mix includes drunks and bullies” (Khanna, 2005, A1). Many people like this man consider a loaded gun to be the most dependable method to prevent danger to their family, health property, etc.
According to gun rights proponent, W. Patterson “those passing FBI background checks and 10 hours or more of training to get a handgun permit have the right to protect themselves if needed” (Khanna, 2005, A1). Although the majority of arguments offered by gun advocates revolves around the issue of self and family protection guaranteed by the US Constitution, the striking reality reveals its own story. A year ago two tragedies happened in Florida, and both are closely connected to the issues of gun misuse and necessary gun control.
As mass media reported, two little boys became victims of adult’s negligence in Palm Beach. Another typical situation took place simultaneously in Miami Beach, when a mentally diseased person, having problems with alcohol abuse had an opportunity to use a gun. The bottom-line is that as long as the society tolerates the free and easy proliferation of handguns and assault weapons, it tolerates accidental or purposeful murders of its children, including children. Figuratively, guns have some incredible inclination to shoot on their own purpose and owner (Graves, 2001, 10).
Simultaneously, in regard to gun misuse by children, the parents’ awareness is considered to be the primary factor. Although Mr. Clinton has argued many times that “we protect aspirin bottles in this country better than we protect guns from accidents by children,” Harvard economist W. Kip Viscusi has indicated that child-resistant bottle caps have resulted in 3,500 additional poisonings of children under age 5 annually from aspirin-related drug as consumers have been lulled into a less-safety-conscious mode of behavior by the existence of safety caps (Dickerson, 1998, 56).
According to Sarah Brady, one of the most famous proponents of gun control, the atrocities of September 2001 impeded the movement (Kemper, 2005, 1C). Fears about individual safety have significantly spread, the NRA’s membership has grown more than twice and gun sales increased. According to Tom Mauser, father of son killed in Columbine High School, asserted that he had grown frustrated with the continuing gains of gun industry. As he points out, commenting a bill that would protect the gun industry from lawsuits, “I am outraged of the gun lobby and of Congress” (Kemper, 2005, 1C).
The 1995 Texas law allowing concealed handguns specifically bans concealed weapons from schools, school events, courts, hospitals, churches, bars, sporting events, governmental meetings and amusement parks. Many cities and counties have bolstered the limits by posting signs barring guns in their buildings. The new law strips cities and counties of that right. Regardless of the final legislation by the US Congress or stats, society should seek own responses to the pressing dilemma of gun control.
At the local level, people should form community response teams in order to investigate immediately the causes of every gun-related child’s death or cases involving mentally diseased individuals, to identify patterns and suggest preventive measures. We should prohibit gun ownership not only by convicted felons but by all who lack the training and judgment necessary for responsible gun ownership, individuals having mental problems, and those with histories of impairment by drugs or alcohol.
Finally, specific laws should make adults legally responsible through various civil and criminal penalties if their guns fall into the hands of youth, and stiffer penalties when firearms are involved in a homicide.
Earl G Graves. (2001). Stop the guns, Black Enterprise. New York: May. Vol. 31, Iss. 10 Khanna R. (2005). “Metro is expected to ease gun ban on buses, trains. ” The Houston Chronicle, January 27, p. A1 John F Dickerson. (1998). Gun control: Shots in the dark, The Economist. London: Mar 23,. Vol. 338, Iss. 7958 Kemper B. (2005). “Violence fails to raise gun control volume. ” The Atlanta Journal Constitution, April 8
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