Despite some peaceful ways of the gun usage, mostly they are as dangerous as any other kind of weapon. The United States has a weak practice of implementing some measures that reduce illegal gun distribution among prohibited groups of people. However, part of the Congress is not interested in providing a strict control system over the transactions, because illegal trade of firearms is a very beneficial business for the stakeholders. Some legal documents such as the Constitution, the Firearm Owners Protection Act, the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act and a few others have lack of concrete means regarding the war on guns. The paper contains an analysis and justification on the firearms trade and numerous personal proposals such as an adequate system of control and reaction on those who are interested in covering illegal guns transactions.
The discussions around gun control often drift against arguments whether guns makes people safer or not. Despite the last Supreme Court decisions restricting the guns’ ownership, current U. S. policy over the gun control does not disarm law. However, nowadays gun control legislature is mainly focused on the four issues. They are: 1) to define clear measures for prohibition of the possessing firearms; 2) to implement such restrictive measures; 3) to establish and impediment to and limitation for carrying concealed firearms; 4) to enhance the personal and public safety through improved firearms design. According to the Switzerland-designed Small Arms Survey, the citizens of the United States “have about 35–50 percent of the world's civilian-owned guns” (Masters, 2015). Consequently, among other most developed nations the U. S. has the highest rate of homicide-by-firearm.
As a part of a social background research, the Gallup polls provided questionaries’ on whether the gun laws should be less liberal or not. The respondents express their general attitude toward firearms and the state policy, but there are no people’s specific suggestions on improvements to be made. According to Webster et al. (2012), “more than half of respondents believed erroneously” that all gun distributions and transactions have to go through a background examination (p. 11). The results of the poll conducted before show a broad support from citizens for improved measures preventing guns trade within prohibited categories. While observing the weakness of governmental measures directed on reducing the gun sales among dangerous groups, people start to ask whether their safety is of an importance. The Americans are biased to maintain reasonable reforms on control over gun trades in perspective. However, they are less inclined to support the creation of a single national registry for all gun owners and their firearms as well as for introducing the high-capacity ammunition magazines.
Some persons are forbidden to possess firearms in demand of the federal law. Firstly, those are criminals, who convicted misdemeanor crime for domestic violence. Second group comprise people addicted to controlled substances. Third category consists of incompetent persons by court decision. Fourth group contains in individuals who are involuntarily committed to a mental institution. Fifth one represents illegal aliens. Sixth category includes persons “who have renounced their U.S. citizenship” (Webster et al., 2012, p. 3). Seventh group contains “those who have been dishonorably discharged from the military” (Webster et al., 2012, p. 3). At last, felons and fugitives also do not have a right to possess firearms.
Those groups of people have higher expected rates of violence and are more inclined to commit crimes and violate the public safety. That is why many states accepted their own additional sanctions for possessing legal firearms, and those items vary significantly. Thirteen states have weaker or identical legal standards for the firearm possession. Afew more, such as New Jersey, have tailored standards. For example, in New Jersey the prohibition includes everyone who “has been convicted of a crime for which the penalty can be 6 months or more of imprisonment” (Webster et al., 2012, p. 4).
Rational Justifications of the Issue
According to Jonathan Masters (2015), the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution defines and protects the gun ownership as “being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms” (n. p.). De-facto, the Congress allowed local state authorities to provide own control and revision measures, which would be individually enforced in each location. Later, the “Decision on District of Columbia v. Heller” upheld the individual right of keeping “bear arms” (Masters, 2015, n. p.). In reality, it confirmed weakness and lack of effectiveness of laws in Washington, DC.
In 2003, the governors adopted the Tiahrt amendments as a step towards implementation of the federal gun policy. The republican Todd Tiahrt was the author and proposed three laws for resolution. The first one is about the establishment of strict limitations with respect to access to “crime gun trace data” (Webster et al., 2012, p. 7). Second, restriction of the right of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to conduct the gun distributors with any physical inventory of firearms. Third, to ensure the secrecy of the gun trace data while hearing court cases against firearms dealers or pertaining them to licensure.
In 2005, the Congress adopted the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act as a legal protection of the firearm producers and retail sellers against provocative and unjustified lawsuits. The groups of gun attorneys discussed the gun wars in the context of right of ownership as a national birthright and heritage. Before 2005 there were no federal laws forbidding large-capacity ammunition magazines, handguns, and semiautomatic assault weapons. Before 1994 and 2004, the federal government inhibited the usage of high-capacity magazines and assault weapons, but later the interested groups of Congress de-facto provided annulation and expired prohibition on those restrictions.
In the context of age limitations, the federal law does not allow young persons under 18 years old purchase any kind of weapon. The states established their own minimum age for allowance of guns purchase. In its majority, at the age of 18 a person automatically gets the right to buy firearms, and only five states set their age limitation as 21 years. However, it is hard to evaluate consequences of such regulations when speaking about suicide or homicide victimization among juveniles. Another firearm restriction is called “child access prevention (CAP)” (Webster et al., 2012, p. 8). It is a complex of laws demanding the firearms owners to store their weapon in places where children and teenagers have no access. The CAPs follow a special procedure for preventing shooting accidents among children “by as much as 23 percent, and suicides of adolescents by 8 percent” (Webster et al., 2012, p. 8).
Author’s View on the Issue
For peaceful reasons, there are some preconditions for allowance and legitimization of the gun distribution and usage. For people who inhabit areas with underdeveloped infrastructure it takes too much time to get to the nearest hospital or a police office. As an alternative to the modern home-security system, guns usage is an effective tool, which may deter the criminals from wrongdoings prior to their decision to attack. Active soldiers and police officers require having guns for trainings for proper use. For some people shooting is a hobby and/or a sport, which might be helpful if someone decides to attack or take them into hostage. Those examples name only a number of major situations where legitimized gun ownership is rational. However, there are some doubts regarding the moral issues. The incline to reduce guns transactions as any form of weapon is opposite to the principles of democracy, tolerance and integrity.
The author’s personal attitude is related to the issue of sufficiency of the Brady bill. It was accepted in 1994 and had necessary items for achieving the guns purchasing control at an official level, but not just on the honor system as it worked many years before. Indeed, this law prohibited purchasing or transferring of firearms for “more than 2 million applications” (Webster et al., 2012, p. 6). This is a result of providing a federal license and a background attestation so as to obtain firearms. Hence, the Brady Law particularly decreased the prohibited individuals’ attempts to purchase guns. However, there is still a significantly high risk when the criminals or other socially-dangerous people get the guns from the private sales loophole. As evidence, “40 percent of firearm acquisitions are from individuals who are not licensed gun dealers” (Webster et al., 2012, p. 6). In addition, “80 percent” of the criminal exploiting their guns for human violation acquired their weapon through secret transaction with illegal dealers (Webster et al., 2012, p. 6). That is why the Brady Law should be improved as a valuable basis for federal firearms control bills, since as for now it has no power to prevent illegal transactions and cash flow operations.
The observed criminal cases allow for an assumption that in a national survey of criminals the illegal guns purchase from licensed firearms distributors may be as common as a legal purchase from licensed stakeholders. In fact, when to see the federal investigations on gun trafficking, it is obviously that the scofflaw gun dealers are valuable elements in the criminal transactions schemes. Conducted phone surveys of firearms dealers demonstrate that the majority of them are biased to break the law and commit an illegal transaction. Moreover, there are many retailers, who colluded transportation channels with the traffickers to supply weapon to the criminal gangs in large amounts.
In the author’s opinion, there should designed an adequate system of guns control and a harsh retaliation on those who are interested in covering laws evading. There are some doubts whether the Congress is really interested in an effective war against guns, because the authority does not strengthen regulation and accountability of legally licensed gun traders. This condition may cause skepticism about the effectiveness of any attempts to provide adequate approach over gun control. The permit-to-purchase licensing system and control over the private gun dealers may reduce the amount of criminal customers. The licensing process requires photography and fingerprinting data fixed at the law enforcement institution. Undocumented sales of guns and its ubiquitous distribution leads to uncontrolled transactions between the criminal groups, tax losses because of illegal cash flow operations and gun exports. While making the analytical forecasts in press it was discovered that those countries, which ignore the regulation of private gun sales through a proper licensing system and/or completing mandatory reports elevate illegal supply of weapon. Vice versa, implementation of those measures will reduce the risk of violation of the firearms legislature and public safety at all.
The Congress opponents of reforms suppose that there is no necessity to make any changes to legislature, because it is enough to “enforce the laws on the books” (Webster et al., 2012, p. 8). The author’ personal point of view is that a proper enforcement and control over the gun market is one of the possible measure to deter the illegal gun distribution and purchasing business. A shaky state policy, high and subjective standards of evidences, unjustified loopholes, and a liberal penalty system neglect all attempts of achieving definite success in war against guns. Severe legal amendments and enthusiasm of the Congress representatives behind the gun trade business will activate enforcement of justification and decrease threats.
Incorporation to the Saint Leo University Integrity
The way any measure that promotes war on guns is implemented depends on the state policy and inner cores of every public establishment. The leading position of the student leadership forms a new generation of solidarity that is broadened more than before. The issue of guns and youth touches the Saint Leo University core values as well as a prerogative of physical security and a fight against terrorism and criminality. The University code has a separate part, which is mentioned under the heading “Fireworks, Explosives, Weapons and Other Dangerous Items” (Saint Leo University, October, 2015, p. 13). The importance of it lies in a publically recognized and maintained position of the students and activists as a measure of security guarantee and accidents prevention elements. Integrity is one of the key values maintained by the staff members and students to promote cooperation, tolerance, friendship and just. The document contains a list of tools that are recognized as a weapon and strictly prohibited on the territory of campus. The code has clear warning that any “possession, use, or sale of weapons, ammunition, combustibles, fireworks, explosive devices or any other substance or devices designed to harm or incapacitate is prohibited on campus” (Saint Leo University, October, 2015, p. 13). The applying to sanctions and punishment is possible when there is threat of danger or obvious break of law, and the University principle of integrity. Hence, the Saint Leo University broadly maintains formulates and used for war against guns and promotes safety based on the core value of integrity.
The Constitutional principles of tolerance and safety find its support in a few more legal documents. However, the American system of background check is still weak for preventing guns supply to prohibited groups such as criminals and terrorists. Despite the fact that the Congress maintained licensed gun dealers, there are still many omissions in preventing mechanism. An adequate reaction and evaluation of illegal schemes may be helpful tool in reformation of the security system. Youth is a new generation promoting safety guarantees and development of the integrity and tolerance that is significant component of a democratic society.