Max D. Michigan

The issue of Gun Control and Rights in America

The issue of gun control and rights has hit an all-time high in America. I try to address different points of view in hopes of addressing the issue.

Dear Future President,

                  Debate about gun control and rights has hit an all-time high in recent years. There is continuous talk in Congress, state governments, even households about taking legislative action against firearms whether they are bought legally, illegally, from a store or from a gun show. The issue that cloaks these four viewpoints is the right for a naturalized citizen of the United States to buy and use a firearm without a background check and the effect that having non background checked weapon in the hands of everyday citizens. Is it a citizen’s right to bear arms as stated in the constitution or must there be rules and regulations on who and how you can buy a gun in the United States?

                 My own personal issue with gun control and rights is the fact that under current legislation anyone can go out and get a firearm with limited background checks. The reason why this issue irks me is because right now under current laws most firearm purchases at gun shows, gun expos are currently unrestricted and unregulated by the American government. This means any mentally ill person, or a person with a past criminal record can freely buy a gun at their leisure. It matters to me and it should matter to you plainly on the fact that it is a matter of safety for the American people. Statistics have shown that most perpetrators of massacres, school shootings, are mentally ill and legally bought a gun without a background check into their past. Without these background checks anyone with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression could get their hands on a firearm, listen to the voices in their head and cause great harm to others. This lack of firearm safety personally appalls me. The evidence though does show something else too. Plain demographics show that most of the mentally ill people who commit these heinous acts are citizens of the United States, and politicians believe that, even if the person buying a gun is mentally ill, they should not have their constitutional rights infringed. I’ve always felt that the safety of the populace is always above our rights as citizens, we should feel safe in our own country should we not?

                   Democratic leaders also sort of feel the same way. Democratic stance on the issue of “guns” is strictly gun control. While I’ll personally believe in flexibility of the states’ rights to impose, they feel that widespread background checks in all 50 states should be enforced and have pushed agendas for this point to try and counter gun violence by limiting criminals and mentally ill ability to buy firearms. This is also where we diverge though, as I’ve said I believe that you can’t simply drop background checks on all 50 states and have the nation be all hunky-dory. The Democratic Party believes that the best interest of national safety is a law that forces all 50 states to adhere to gun background checks. An exact example of this way of safety is the relatively obscure Toomey-Manchin act that was proposed in 2014. The act called for all 50 states to adhere to background checks on all firearms whether it be in gun shows, expos, even in firearm stores. This act was created for “the safety of the nation as a whole.”. This aggressive act unfortunately failed to pass in congress, only acquiring 46 of the 60 votes in the senate needed to break a filibuster placed against it by republican and democratic senators This is where we turn to what caused this lack of voting for the democratic stance of not only their position on gun control, but on their stance of America’s safety. The reason why the bill failed is not because they are taking a bigger bite than they can chew, the reason why the bill never passed is simply because other groups feel that background checks are the wrong type of safety that America needs. Who are these groups and what do they have against democratic stance on safety? That’s a good question, it’s the NRA. I will get the NRA’s stance later on, but main fact is the amount of money the NRA uses to protect America’s security. The NRA’s public budget shows that they dropped roughly $278 million in 2015 to lobby, protest, and vote against gun control legislation. They also used that $278 million to endorse gun rights activists (democrat and republican alike). This is all in the part of the NRA’s movement towards having safety be in the hands of the people, not the government. Is dropping a quarter of a billion dollars each year to protect America really worth it? That’s a question for you need to ask yourself.

                    Why does the NRA focus so much on allowing people to have guns? The main reason, other than security is the rights of the people. While the NRA and Republicans feel that if background checks were to be forced on all 50 states, not only would national safety be at risk, but the government would be infringing on every citizen’s right to bare arms as stated in the second amendment. Democrats though, they believe in what’s called putting the safety of America over the rights of the people. While that might sound like blasphemy, they truly believe that everyone in the Unites States will not be secure unless we get firearms out of the hands of people who are unfit to use them. I as a citizen of the United States personally believe that if some sort of background check isn’t used, then everyone could be in danger of dying in a church shooting, a school shooting, even on a bus, or in the streets. What will it take to stop these kinds of shootings? I feel that without these checks, we are in more danger than we realize we are even in, and I would implore the next POTUS to take a look at the statistics, take a look at the reports, take a look at the real safety of America where every citizen, mental or criminal or not, is allowed to freely own a gun. Tell me, does America really feel safe?


                             Maxwell D.