Essay on Republican View on Gun Control

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In the words of the famous artist, Nas, “How do you like me now? I go below it's that thing that moves crowds making every ghetto foul, I might have taken your first child, scarred your life, crippled your style, I gave you power, and made you buck wild.” (I gave you power) When you first read that line, you might be looking confused as to what Nas could possibly be talking about, but there is something that is plaguing this country and that’s gun violence. It is unfortunate that gun violence has become ingrained into America’s culture and that the alarming numbers continue to rise with frightening regularity. Gun violence has evolved from simple unfortunate shootings to school/public mass shootings, and time and time again we as a country mourn the dead, talk about creating change, and then go silent. This is a cycle that needs to be broken and done away with if we are actually serious about making an attempt to heal the scars that guns have placed on this country. Gun ownership in the United States is rooted in the Second Amendment of the Constitution: “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.” In hindsight, I wonder if this was something that the forefathers of our country had envisioned, and just like it all started with the leaders of the country, it is up to Congress to get even more serious about creating a society and culture of peace. The issue of how to strike a balance between gun rights and public safety has been a political hot potato for years, and one that Congress has dealt with gingerly, if at all.

In 2018, there was at least one mass shooting a month, more than 20 overall. Reading that you should have jumped back and thought wow really? The deadliest mass shooting so far has occurred in October 2017 at a Las Vegas music festival, resulting in the deaths of 58 concertgoers and injuring hundreds more. Just about 16 months before that, a gunman armed with a handgun and a semi-automatic rifle murdered 49 people and injured 58 at an Orlando nightclub in what was then the country's worst mass shooting. And with each new mass shooting from Columbine to Sandy Hook; Fort Hood to Virginia Tech, the heated conversation over gun control continues to be discussed. So the question becomes what is taking Congress so long to bring change? After the pain and grief that was caused by the San Bernardino incident, the next day, the Senate rejected a proposed bill to “tighten background check requirements” just like they did in the Sandy Hook shooting. One small gun control measure undertaken by the Trump administration was the banning of bump stocks, a tool that allows semi-automatic rifles to fire as fast as automatics, after the Las Vegas shooting. The ban, which took effect in March, requires existing bump stocks to be turned in to the government or destroyed. Republicans generally oppose any type of gun control legislation, where only four of 54 Senate Republicans voted in favor of the 2015 background check bill. A quick look at history, that the only major acts to be passed by the government in regard to gun control were the National Firearms Act and the Gun Control Act. In 1934, Congress passed the National Firearms Act (NFA) in reaction to growing gang violence throughout the 1920s. The act taxed the sale and manufacture of a variety of guns, which were often used in criminal activity. Due to legal discrepancies, Congress decided to pass the Gun Control Act of 1968, which was a U.S. federal law that regulates the firearms industry and firearms owners. It primarily focuses on regulating interstate commerce in firearms by generally prohibiting interstate firearms transfers except among licensed manufacturers, dealers, and importers. President Donald Trump has repeatedly pledged to protect Second Amendment rights and often warns gun owners that their Second Amendment rights are “under assault.” In an April speech to NRA members, Trump announced he would not ratify America’s participation in the international arms trade treaty, which would provide some international oversight on arms sales. In opposition to the Republicans, the newly democratic-controlled house has made passing gun control legislation a priority. So far, the House passed two measures with some bipartisan support that strengthen and expand the background check process. The house also passed a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, opposed by the NRA because of the bill’s measure that seeks to prevent domestic abusers from obtaining guns. In June 2016, democrats mounted a successful filibuster that forced Senate Republicans to vote on four gun control proposals none of which passed. The last major piece of gun control legislation to make it into law was the assault weapons ban, passed in 1994 as part of a larger crime-related bill approved by Congress and signed by then-president Bill Clinton. But the ban, which applied to the manufacture of 19 specific models of semi-automatic firearms and other guns with similar features, expired in 2004, and repeated attempts to renew it failed. You see the main problem is that Congress is forgetting the number one rule when it comes to public administration and working in government, which is, it is all about the well-being of the people. Instead of including and engaging with the public, they do not keep the public in mind and in simple terms, selfish.

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Since the gun control acts that we have in place are not doing the job, I wanted to propose other possible alternatives that Congress can follow in order to ensure a safer world for the people. Step one would be to increase and make stricter background checks, ensuring that no criminals or anyone with a mental discrepancy are allowed to have a gun, even someone with a history of violence. Step two would be to create a policy that bans military-style assault weapons while limiting ammunition capacity. A ban on large-capacity ammunition magazines might also make some difference to the lethality of mass shootings. “The best rough estimate for a long-term impact of the ban, researcher Chris Koper suggested, might be a 1% reduction in shootings, or 650 fewer people shot per year.” (Beckett) from a public health perspective, even a marginal reduction would be worth it. Getting these militarized weapons off of the street and decreasing the amount of ammunition will significantly reduce the harm done. Lastly, I would create a ceasefire program. Gun violence usually has the highest ratings in economically struggling neighborhoods, and the only way to end the violence is by simply communicating and bridging the gap between the community and law enforcement. “This’ ‘ceasefire or focused deterrence” strategy, first launched in Boston in 1996, requires coordination between police departments, prosecutors and community members in the neighborhoods most affected by violence.” (Ashcroft) While bridging the gap, not only are you portraying public participation, but as the leaders of the community, you are showing them that you care and want to engage with them positively. As a result of this, not only do you build trust with the community but hopefully gun violence will decrease as well.

No one really cares about gun violence until it actually happens to them or to someone they care about. Can you imagine staring into the eyes of your loved one as their soul leaves their body? Can you imagine saying “Bye honey, I can’t wait for dinner tonight”, and not thinking they would miss their last supper no pun intended. Congress needs to remember that its job is to serve the people and take accountability for many of the deaths and mass shootings in the world. How can the government be concerned about serving the public, if the public is too busy serving tears and flowers at funerals? It is time for Congress to step up and take the initiative to be more serious about gun control to protect our country and with some of those mentioned alternatives we can push for that change. The future belongs to those who prepare for it today and that is essential in this case where it is imperative for Congress to be proactive, rather than reactive.

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Essay on Republican View on Gun Control. (2023, December 13). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 20, 2024, from
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