Gun Control Debate
Of the many issues currently facing the United States, one of an especially pressing nature is the issue of gun control, specifically with respect to high capacity assault weapons. This issue has come to the forefront of political conversation in light of recent extreme gun violence. On December 14, 2012, the nation’s heart broke, as it learned of yet another mass shooting; however, this time, the victims were mostly children. At Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., 20 children and six adults were slain by a deranged 20 year-old with a semi-automatic assault rifle and a high-capacity magazine. It is understandable that such horrific imagery has prompted great outrage and outpouring of support for the families of the victims, but perhaps more significantly, the shooting at Sandy Hook has generated a widespread call to action.
While it comes as no surprise that the two major political parties are divided on this issue, there is some indication that more Americans favor stricter gun laws than favor a repeal on existing gun laws. For the most part, most Americans hold the belief that something needs to change. The United States Congress has in the past enacted measures restricting the use of assault weapons, namely, an all-out ban on assault weapons that has since been repealed. State and local governments too have shown a willingness to clamp down on guns, such as in the District of Columbia and the city of Chicago, Illinois. Unfortunately, though, as it has been widely reported, Chicago has seen unprecedented rates of homicides via handguns over the last few years, even with considerable restrictions on guns. This raises other questions as to the effectiveness of bans or restrictions on any types of guns when there are already so many in the stream of commerce.
The United States has far more gun murders than any other country in the world. America can continue down that path, or it can change its ways in some fashion, resulting in a positive disposition. Several countries such as Australia and Great Britain have used blanket gun bans with great success. Although the United States has notoriously gripped its rights to bear arms tightly, it may very well be time for a change, especially in light of the events at Sandy Hook Elementary School.