gun control


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gun control,

government limitation of the purchase and ownership of firearms. The availability of guns is controlled by nations and localities throughout the world. In the United States the "right of the people to keep and bear arms" is guaranteed by the Constitution, but has been variously interpreted through the years. From the late 1930s federal judicial and law enforcement officials generally held that the right exists mainly in the context of the maintenance of a state militia, but in 2002 the Justice Dept., under Attorney General John AshcroftAshcroft, John,
1942–, American political figure, b. Chicago, grad. Yale Univ. (B.A., 1964), Univ. of Chicago School of Law (J.D., 1967). A conservative Republican, Ashcroft was Missouri state auditor (1975–76) and attorney general (1976–85) before being twice
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, indicated that it interpreted the amendment as more broadly supporting the rights of individuals to possess and bear firearms. Such an interpretation was upheld by 2008 and 2010 Supreme Court decisions that nonetheless did not challenge the government's right to place some limitations on the ownership and possession of firearms.

Some U.S. states and localities have enacted strict licensing and other control measures, and federal legislation (1968) prohibited the sale of rifles by mail. Gun control has continued to be widely debated, however, and has often been opposed, notably by the National Rifle AssociationNational Rifle Association of America
(NRA), group founded (1871) to promote shooting, hunting, firearm safety, and wildlife conservation. The NRA has more than 3 million members.
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 (NRA). Increasing gun-related crimes together with citizen pressure propelled congressional passage (1993) of the "Brady bill" (named for James Brady, the press secretary seriously wounded in the 1981 assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan) after years of controversy. It required a minimum of a five-day waiting period and background check before a handgun purchase. Parts of the bill were challenged in court, and in 1997 the Supreme Court invalidated its background-check provision. The 1994 Crime Bill outlawed the manufacture, sale, and possession of military-style assault weapons, but it expired in 2004.

In 1999, following a rash of shootings at U.S. schools, further gun-control legislation was passed by the Senate but was voted down by the House of Representatives. Attempts by some localities (through legislation) and individuals (through lawsuits) to pursue gun control through the courts by permitting or bringing negligence suits against a gun manufacturer or dealer when a weapon it made or sold was used in a crime led many states and, in 2005, Congress to pass laws limiting such suits. In 2013, however, the Dec., 2012, killing of 26 teachers and first graders at a Newtown, Conn., school led President Obama to propose a new assault weapons ban and other gun-control measures. That legislation died in Congress, but a few states enacted stricter laws. However, since the Newtown shootings, more states have passed laws that ease restrictions on gun ownership, such as allowing the carrying of concealed weapons without a permit, firearms training, or background check. In some instances, aspects of proposed gun-rights laws have been criticized by law enforcement agencies for needlessly restricting police powers.

Bibliography

See study by A. Winkler (2011).

Gun Control

Each year Congress fails to pass antigun legislation. Conspiracists figure that in a participatory democracy, the people who want to ban guns should learn to take no for an answer.

The seemingly endless debate over gun control in the United States means only one thing to most conspiracy theorists: another plot by the New World Order, the globalists, who know that it would be more difficult to subdue an armed population than one deprived of its right to bear arms. The conspiracists cite the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment, which protects the right of citizens to keep and bear arms, as one of the best ways to keep the New World Order under some kind of control and cause them to think twice before trying to conquer America.

Although most gun-control advocates recognize that right, they argue that the arms that citizens have the right to bear should not include assault rifles. And what could be the harm in laws that require mandatory childproof gun locks, a ban on semiautomatic rifles, and a limit on the number of firearms that a person can buy? And what about a waiting period before someone can walk out of a sporting goods store with a Glock pistol?

The National Rifle Association answers by stating that even these laws infringe on the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens and that no laws, however strict, would keep firearms out of the hands of criminals.

In the January 2005 issue, Police Times magazine released the rather surprising results of a survey of police chiefs and sheriffs across the United States. In regard to gun control, 93.6 percent supported civilian gun-ownership rights; 96 percent believed that criminals obtain firearms from illegal sources; 92 percent said they hadn’t arrested anyone for violation of “waiting period” laws; and 63.1 percent answered “yes” when queried if citizens’ concealed-weapons permits would reduce violent crimes.

“If a person kills someone with a shovel, should the shovel manufacturer be held liable?” asks writer Jim Marrs. “As silly as that may sound, this is precisely the argument being expounded in cities where suits have been filed against gun manufacturers seeking damages for the misuse of their products.” Marrs also comments on how the antigun activists lobby each year to get restrictive laws passed, and year after year Congress fails to pass antigun legislation: “You would think that in a nation that prides itself on being a participatory democracy, the folks who want to disarm America would take no for an answer and yield for a while.”

Pressure a conspiracy theorist on restrictive gun laws and you are likely to get a copy of “Facts on Gun Control” similar to the one compiled by Daniel Lopez of Texas:

  • In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control. From 1929 to 1953, approximately 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
  • Germany established gun control in 1938, and from 1939 to 1945, 13 million Jews, gypsies, homosexuals and others, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
  • China established gun control in 1935. From 1948 to 1952, 20 million political dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

The list goes on until Lopez has totaled approximately 56 million dissidents or otherwise government-condemned individuals who have been killed.

When a conspiracy theorist is asked if he or she is in favor of gun control, don’t be surprised if the reply is, “Which group of citizens do you wish to have exterminated?”

References in periodicals archive ?
Even very modest, overwhelmingly popular gun control measures, involving background checks and controls on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, failed to pass a Democratic Senate .
Gun Control as Voting Issue Varies by Party, Gun Ownership
I think it's going to take a few gun supporters being defeated on the issue of gun control to make this change," he added.
Although Shooters is supposed to be an ethnographic study of a particular subculture, near the end Kohn leaps to conclusions about the broader gun control debate.
For all its resonance, the question of how to achieve sensible gun control is really a matter of fine-tuning public policy: How many guns a month should someone be able to buy?
Since that correlation squares with the best armchair arguments for gun control, I contend that the balance of evidence suggests that the risks of gun ownership are significantly greater than their putative benefits.
More recent polls place support for any gun control at less than 50%, and approval of the Senate's rejection of expanded background checks at almost 40%--yet gun control advocates and politicians continue to declare that 90% of Americans support universal background checks.
Pharoah began with a convincing impersonation of President Barack Obama, excitedly announcing that Congress has voted to maybe start thinking about considering the possibility of gun control.
In the meantime, American families continue to be destroyed by gun violence," said Shannon Watts, founder of One Million Moms for Gun Control.
Assuming the lower death rates are true, it must only be learned whether the lower reported deaths are owing to gun control or culture.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), usually a gun control booster, concludes there's no good evidence that legal restrictions on firearms do what they're supposed to do.
Gun control: He favors gun control, specifically the Brady Bill and the assault weapons ban, and would close the loophole that makes it easier to obtain firearms at gun shows.