By now, we all know of Elliot Rogers and his killing rampage near the University of California last week. With this latest tragedy, gun laws are back in the spotlight. Here is a quick breakdown of why our rights and the gun law issues are so hard to balance.
Gun Laws- Let’s get the first point of argument out of the way regarding the 2nd Amendment. It should be well know that the 2nd Amendment protects ” 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.” While there will always be arguments on the exact definition of a “well regulated Militia,” there should be no misunderstanding to the follow up of “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
So in short, guns are not going away in America any time soon. With that said, we as a society have taken legal measures, to ensure that certain individuals that may be a threat to our society, be restricted from purchasing or being in possession of any type of firearm. There have also been laws passed prohibiting certain uses for certain types of firearms, such as fully-automatic weapons, as well as their round capacity.
While gun rights advocates will argue that there are over 20,000 gun control laws in the United States that should be enforced, rather than adding more restrictions, Jon S. Vernick of Johns Hopkins University and Lisa M. Hepburn of Harvard University report in an article at http://www.brookings.edu/es/urban/publications/gunbook4.pdf, that the truer number stands at “about 300 major state and federal laws , and an unknown but shrinking number of local laws.”
Now even though this article was drawn from Evaluating Gun Policy in 2003 by Brooking Institute Press, no substantial laws prohibiting private gun ownership have been passed in the past decade. In fact, a logical reason in which this number of 20,000 gun laws in America still gets inflated today in 2014, is from the same article stating, ” Another problem with estimating the number of gun laws is agreeing on a definition of just what is to be include. For example, many local laws prohibit carrying or firing guns in public places. Inclusion of such laws would certainly inflate national estimates of the numbers of gun laws.”
While we will never truly be able to stop the bad intentions of a person intent on harming others(the guns in the most recent attack are reported to have been acquired legally), rather than repeating the trend of over-reaction to such tragedies, let’s take a look at the laws currently on the books first, and see how we can implement them in a more precise, common sense manner. Quickly. Besides, we still have mental health to deal with.