There is a famous quote, which states: “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” This quote is technically true. But if there are no guns, it will be a whole lot more difficult for people to kill people. Sure people could use different weapons such as knives and golf clubs to kill people. But the victim will have a significant better chance of defending him or herself from a weapon other than firearms.
I was born in Tokyo, Japan and moved to the United States when I was six. I still go visit my relatives and friends in Japan every other year. “Japan – described as having the strictest controls in the world – bans private possession of firearms except by people who need them for official duties or by licensed hunters, shooters, athletes, dealers or collectors.” (Stencel pg. 164). Walking in a large downtown area of Tokyo in the middle of the night feels very different from walking in downtown Atlanta at nighttime. There are many people walking around town even past midnight in Japan because the crime rate is lower than it is here in the U.S. People don’t worry as much as they do here in the U.S. about being robbed, kidnapped, etc. Unfortunately, Japan’s crime rate in general is higher than it was before. I would here about murders in Japan happening with knives and such, but very rarely do I here about murders or other such crimes happening with firearms. But the crime rate is still much lower than compared to the U.S.’ crime rate. Even though murders and other crimes can never be brought down to zero unless everyone’s on Prozak 24 hours a day, I believe that the serious crimes would go down significantly if firearms are kept away from the public.
From reading the Stencel book, I have learned for the first time that the Second Amendment was not just the right to bear arms. The Stencel book tells us that the Second Amendment really states: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” By stating the “Militia”, the constitution should mean that it is the right for the National Guard to bear Arms instead of just the people. So many gun control supporters argue that the American people have been misinterpreting the Second Amendment. The court has supported this whole statement of the Second Amendment before in 1939 in the United States v. Miller case. The case upheld the National Firearms Act, which regulated the possession of machine guns. Well it’s great that the American people won’t be carrying an AK-45 around the house. But you can still carry around handguns and rifles. So by regulating machine guns, only thing the National Firearms Act did was make the people shoot their firearms slower, and also make them need to practice shooting more accurately. Machine guns can blow a guy up to pieces. But regular guns can still a person very easily.
I have read that some regions in the U.S. ban the possession or sale of firearms. An example in the Stencel book is Morton Grove, Ill. It’s the first community to have this law, but the law is said to be unenforced. Ummm. OK. So, it doesn’t do really good to have this law. Only thing the law does is support and encourage gun control. Well, I guess it’s a start. But it’s not good to have just several communities that support gun
control. The nation as a whole needs to support gun control to make an effective progress to banning firearms. There are communities, like Kennesaw, GA, which passed an ordinance encouraging people to have firearms and ammunitions available.
With these arguments made, it might seem that the best solution is to have a very strict law like in Japan that bans firearms from the regular public. But this solution is very hard to completely agree with. The Japanese culture is very different from American culture. Japan has been significantly Westernized, but their government is not the same as the American government. And the government is one factor that shapes a particular culture. Even though Japan is considered to have the most democratic government, it is not the same as the democracy in the U.S. Since the Japanese people are used to the very strict laws of firearms, they see gun control as an obvious thing to have. When I talk to people I know in Japan about their views of U.S., their first comment is usually about how dangerous it is to live over in the U.S. The stereotype the people of Japan have of U.S. is that if a person gets in an argument or a fight with another person, someone is going to get shot. Many people in Japan do not understand why the U.S. allows their citizens and legal residents carry firearms. It seems like a crazy idea to them. What many of them don’t get is that it’s not that everyone in U.S. enjoys having guns. It’s the option of having or not having gun that is important.
This differing views in U.S. is not just about “Yes to guns vs. No to guns.” The heart of this discussion is about freedom for the people. By banning firearms in the U.S.,
the government will be taking away a part of the freedom, which the American people have been given. Maybe the American people have been misinterpreting the Second Amendment for more than 200 years. But it’s too late now to suddenly change the maybe-misinterpreted meaning and take away the freedom of the right for the people to bear arms. There are just too many people who own or sell guns now. We can’t expect the government to suddenly ban firearms.
I used to be more in support for the gun rights. But with the school shootings happening in regular communities, I started to support for increase in gun control. By watching the news, I know that shootings could happen anywhere. I heard from my sister last spring that her middle school had two threats of shooting from an anonymous student after the Columbine shooting. It seems worse at Pope High School, the school I used to attend. I skipped a day in college to go visit my high school teachers one day (I didn’t skip POL though. Really. I didn’t.). Well, when I got to Pope, I saw that the teachers were wearing their teacher ID s now. And I was told that I needed to make an appointment to see the teachers. I also heard that schools (even middle schools) were deciding on whether or not to have metal detectors at the doors. It’s crazy. But with the school shootings happening, I can’t blame what the schools are suggesting.
I believe that the government needs to make a much stricter background check at places that sell guns. I am especially talking about gun shows. I heard from friends that the people at gun shows would basically sell guns to anyone over the age of 18. One friend
told me that he showed his driver’s license to show his age and then bought a rifle at a gun show. I heard that gun shows even sells machine guns and grenades.
There are states that require a gun to have safety features on all guns sold in their state. This seems like a good step toward gun control. I am not much interested in guns, and I don’t know what types of safety features are on the guns. If they are talking about that small button that puts a gun to a locked position when pressed as the safety feature, I believe that the requirement for safety features is not very effective. Small children can still make the gun fire if the safety feature is only that worthless button. And like I said about the school shootings, I am more worried about the kids who knows how to use a gun and are able to get access to them. Parents are required to store their guns in a place where their child or children can’t get access to them. Sure, they can lock it up somewhere. But I believe that a child could still find a way to get to the gun if they try hard enough. The gun makers need to invent those safety features found in something like the sci-fi movies — a gun where it can be only be shot by the owner of the gun due to fingerprint or voice activation. Well, we seem to have a long way to go until this becomes a reality. Guns have only dramatically changed in power, accuracy, and style. Until guns’ safety features are dramatically progressed, the government needs to progress with laws that will make it safe for people to have the freedom to buy and sell guns.