Guns on College Campuses In The United States

Guns on College Campuses In The United States

Over the past two decades, mass shootings in learning institutions have altered American history and triggered numerous debates on guns controls. In the past ten years, there have been over 40 incidences of shooting in schools leading to injuries and deaths. Gun violence is not restricted to any age as there are incidences where less than seven-year-old children have been found guilty of gun violence. On 29thFebruary 2000, a six-year-old boy shot dead a six-year-old girl in Mount Morris Township. The event took place in Buell Elementary School. Nonetheless, many cases of mass shooting are recorded in colleges and middle schools.

While there is the need to ensure there is a swift response to the mass shooting, having guns in learning institutions also has some negative implications. Guns disrupt the learning environment and equally increase the prevalence of criminal activities.  Learners attending college are mainly between the age of 17 and twenty years meaning that they have a better understanding of the consequences of gun violence.  In 2007, there was a devastating mass shooting in Virginia Tech Campus where a 23-year student fired over 170 rounds leading to the death of 32 persons. Many people refer to the incidence and stress on the need to have guns for self-defense.

In the past decade, learning institutions have become dangerous as there ease of availability and access to guns. From the early years, USA citizens have had divergent views on gun controls. Supporters of guns in learning institutions argue that it everyone duty to counter criminal attacks. Consequently, different states have created laws that allow persons with specialized training to carry guns to school. Arkansas and Georgia support the carrying of unconcealed firearms to schools. The objcetive of having guns in class is to reduce the time spent in responding to the attacks. Making reference to0 the Virginia Tech Campus shooting indicates that the shooting lasted for nine minutes.

However, the security forces took seven minutes to reach the scene and break in. The right to possess and keep firearms is provided in the Second Amendment. There is a need to ensure that there are adequate gun controls to counter the risks of possessing guns. The right to own guns was first provided in 1791 with the objective of offering self-defense. In 1934, there was the imposition of regulations and taxes by the National Firearm Act. The passing of the Act sought to control the selling, manufacture, and transportation of guns. The Act makes it mandatory for gun dealers to have licenses.

In 2008, there as a court ruling that barred the sale of weapons to criminals and mentally-impaired individuals. Unlimited access to guns by criminals and mentally-ill patients would endanger the lives of many individuals. Despite these efforts, the public is of the view that more measures and controls need to be put in place.   In a study by Singh, it is apparent that public pressure is increasing thus triggering the need to have effective controls. Increase in the levels of violent crimes, mass shooting, and assassination attempts to shape the public opinion on firearms controls. Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther Jr. are victims of gun violence. The lack of regulations and stringent laws translate top more gun injuries, crimes, and deaths.

The mass shooting incidence in Sandy Hook Elementary School shifted the opinions of many citizens. While many people support the provisions of the Second Amendment, there is an equal call to have effective gun controls to lower the loss of lives. Additionally, better gun controls in learning institutions will ensure that there is an in-depth examination of persons seeking to possess a gun. Controls require the licensing agency to come up with regular mental screening. Although the Second Amendment indicates that every American has the right to own a gun, scrutiny of persons is critical. Depression and stress are trigger factors to violence and may also cause the misusing of the firearms.

Through backgrounds implies that few persons will have access to guns. The setting will make it possible to account for all issued guns and quickly trace criminal activities. While there are opposed to this measure, it has the benefit of ensuring that only law-abiding citizens access guns. The government has the obligation of ensuring that all citizens are safe through better controls and restructuring the security agencies. The implementation of gun controls will translate to a peaceful environment in learning institutions. Additionally, giving guns to responsible and trained persons leads to swift responses.

Supporters of the Second Amendment argue that there is no statistical data that point that gun controls contribute to a reduction in crime. They stress that the government has no authority to interfere with the provisions of the SecondAmendment. Nonetheless, opponents of this standpoint argue that the goal of the government is upholding the safety of all citizens. The role of the government is to determine whether persons acquiring guns have had a criminal record or mental conditions. Gun controls ensure that guns are only used for self-defense and improvementof public safety. The government has the duty to secureits citizens thus implying that no citizen ought to question the involvement of the government in security debates.

Studies point that many Americans view the governmentjurisdiction on firearms as being limited and thus should not infringe on the right to own guns.  The claim is refutable as the government has the power to amend and implement laws in settings the public interests are compromised. The loss of life during mass shootings in colleges is a violation of the right to life. The debate on gun control revolves an evaluation of the relativeincentivesof law-abiding citizens and criminals to acquire guns. In the absence of these controls and regulations, guns will fall in the wrong hands. The society is concerned with the number of guns in circulation in learninginstitutions.

Law abiding citizens use firearms as a credible way of resisting criminal activities.  It isimperative pointing that some standpoints on gun controls are based on fallacious arguments and fails to incorporate scholarly studies.  During his reign, Barrack Obama issued 23 executive orders on gun violence and directed federal agencies to contribute to awareness levels. The executive orders sought to create interventions to counter gun violence in learninginstitutions.  A recent study by the National Institute of Justiceindicates that more than 35% of American households have access to guns.  The relationshipbetween violence and gun control is the focal point of the existing standpoints. Data provided by annual Uniform Crime Report and the FederalBureauInvestigations shows that access to guns triggers homicides and mass shootings.

Despite having fewer guns in civilians hands as compared to the USA, the United Kingdom records fewer gun violence. While the Second Amendment provides the right to ownfirearms, the constitution also charges the government with the duty of regulating the processes. Interpreting the SecondAmendment requires an evaluation of both derivative rights and fundamental rights. Fundamental rights are expressly granted by the constitution, but derivative rights are anchored on the fundamental rights. Contrary to the fundamental rights, the government has the authority to regulate derivative rights. Through showing that the society will better benefit from having gun controls, there is a solid ground for regulating the derivative right to own a gun.

Advocates of gun controls explain that an increase in private ownership of guns triggers a surge in crime and murder.  The argument infers that controlling guns in learning institutions will effectively prevent mass shooting and other crimes. There is also the problem with lost, re-sold and stolen guns.  Unregulated ownership of guns means that it is possible to transfer the guns to criminals or sell to third parties. The trend creates a secondary gun market with minimal controls thus offering easy access to guns to profited persons. Legal but unregulated products are a threat to public safety.

Gun controls will seek to introduce parameters and criterion for determining the persons that are fit to handle weapons. Likewise, the controls will allow for training,boosting awareness levels, and a better understanding of the consequences of gun violence. Australia offers an ideal natural example to the USA that fewer guns translate to lower crimes. Just like the USA, Australia has a long history of private gun ownership. However, mass shooting incidences in Hoddle Street, Perth Arthur, schools and Central Coast massacres prompted a re-examination of the gun policies.  The introduction of the National Firearms Program Implementation Act (NFPIA)  by the Australian government meant that gun regulations would not be controlled by territories and states.

The current state in the USA can be compared to the Australian gun market before the passing of the Act. The USA lacks a uniform licensing program across all its states as governors have the authority to come up with regulations and policies on guns. Countries such as the United Kingdom and Australia offer the USA with real-world experiments on ways gun controls can be implemented for the better good of the society.  The high cost of gun violence is also a reason where there need to be stringent controls. There are medical costs, security costs, and other expenses to the learning institutions. Many persons in collages are young adults and are vulnerable to stress meaning that there is the risk of high medical costs in therapies and rehabilitation of the victims.

Annual medical treatment costs linked to gun violence are estimated to be more than 2 billion.  Secondly, the increase in gun violence disrupts learning and economic activities. Other expenses include the cost of prosecuting offenders, enforcement and victimization costs.  Firearm violence in the country can thus be estimated to cost more than $100 billion.  The number of deaths due to gun violence is on the increase thus pointing that the government is not wholly performing its duty of protecting citizens. Opponents of gun controls argue that they have to protect society against criminals and a tyrannical government. They base their arguments on instances where the government has been found guilty of killing its citizens.

Nonetheless, the standpoint does not override the fact that there is an armed militia that is paid and trained to counter security threats. Gun controls offer the government a better grip on national security and also lowers the economic costs. Although there are other factors such as economic and social variables that influence crime, gun controls can perfectly work in controlled settings like learning institutions. In school settings, many young people lack specialized training in the use of firearms. Not only does the situation complicate the ability to respond to shootings, but it also increases the risk of misuse. Contrary to the perception held by some citizens that gun controls are a violation of the Second Amendment, the restrictions only seek to streamline the licensing process.

Factors such as training, mental stability and criminal record are imperative in any licensing processes. They offer an ideal ground to determine the motif of acquiring a gun and the probable effects. Through the controls, the government will take it as its duty to train willing citizens on the use of firearms, countering criminal activities and consequences of shooting. Additionally, it will offer a clear picture of the number of guns in the secondary market and criminal hands. Just like it is the case with other government processes, it is vital to have some criterion for licensing as opposed to just limiting the process on citizenship and the Second Amendment.  There is risk that uncontrolled guns maybe used in a crime, fall in the hands of untrained persons, mentally unstable persons or resold.

The concepts of both fundamental and derivative rights indicate that the government has the authority to intervene in the licensing process. A blind implementation of the Second Amendment implies that unfit persons would have access to guns thus complicating government efforts to boost the security levels.  Many benefits come with gun controls as it would ensure that learning institutions are safe. In the past, there has been the loss of life and property due to mass shootings. Although there are different controls among states, they contribute towards a reduction in crime levels. A comparison of the USA and other countries that have adopted gun controls reveal considerable variations in violence levels.

In school settings, factors such as family dysfunction, mental illness and lack of supervision serve as the primary triggers to mass shootings. Other attackers are prompted by the need to revenge past bullying or discrimination.   The 1999 Columbine High School massacre, Stoneman Douglas High School shooting ( 2018) and the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting are indications of the threats that exist in learning institutions.  Many of the attackers are reported to be under the age of eighteen years and accesses the weapon from their parents, relatives or friends. While the right to own guns cannot be abolished, there is the need to have stringent controls and policies. Better training, mental screening and determining the criminal record are critical consideration before any licensing. The failure to adopt gun controls implies that gun will continue to get in the hands of mentally ill persons, criminals, and untrained citizens.

 

Work Cited

Chemerinsky, Erwin. “Putting the Gun Control Debate in Social Perspective.”Fordham L. Rev. 73 (2004): 477.

Ghatak, M. A. I. T. R. E. E. S. H. Gun Control and the Self-Defense Argument.Mimeo, University of Chicago, 2001.

Gray, Andrew J. An Analysis of State Gun Control Laws and Their Effect on Violent Crime.Diss. 2015.

Kleck G.  Mass Shootings in Schools: The Worst Possible Case for Gun Control. American Behavioral Scientist (2015), 52: 1447-1464.

Kopel, David B. “Trust the People: The Case Against Gun Control.” J. on Firearms & Pub.Pol’y 3 (2010): 77.

Koper, Christopher S, Webster W.  America’s Experience with theFederal Assault Weapons Ban, 1994-2004: Key Findings and Implications.Reducing Gun Violence in America: Informing Policy with Evidence and Analysis (2014): 157-171.

Kwon, Ik‐Whan G., et al. “The effectiveness of gun control laws: multivariate statistical analysis.” American Journal of Economics and Sociology 56.1 (1997): 41-50.

Luca, Michael, Deepak K. Malhotra, and Christopher Poliquin.”The impact of mass shootings on gun policy.” (2016).

Victor, H. “Gun Control in the United States.” Journal of Political Sciences & Public Affairs (2016).

Wendt, Jeffrey. “Gun Control and Violent Crime.” (2014).

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