Gun Control Is Needed

Regulation of guns is a necessary action that needs to be taken in order to

save lives. A good definition of gun control is needed to understand the sides

and issues. Gun control is an effort to stop the rise in violent crime by

strengthening laws on the ownership of firearms. Persons in the group against

gun control believe that gun control is wrong, and that it is a violation of

constitutional rights. Those in favor of gun control believe that gun control

is good, that the Second Amendment does not apply to regular citizens, and that

guns should be taken out of the hands of criminals.

There are several major anti-gun control groups. These groups include the

National Rifle Association (NRA), and the Gun Owners of America (GOA) . The NRA

is a national group dedicated to the upholding of the Second amendment of the

Constitution (See Appendix). In their magazines, American Hunter and American

Rifleman, they say “The NRA, . . . believes that every law-abiding citizen is

entitled to the ownership and legal use of firearms, . . . ” The NRA does many

things to help display their beliefs and persuade others to their beliefs. This

association also has a strong pull on legislation, because it has many

lobbyists and supporters in government. This group has many members in Congress,

and former presidents George Bush and Ronald Reagan are NRA members. The NRA

lobbies for several types of legislation. For example, the NRA is currently

trying to repeal the ban on assault weapons. A lot of money is spent each year

on legislation (See Appendix for figures).

The Gun Owners of America is another group that is against gun control.

The GOA preserves and defends the rights of gun owners through legislation.

They publish books, articles, and videos on gun issues and how those issues

affect people. They also conduct seminars for the press and Congress about

issues on the Second Amendment, and gun issues. The GOA opposes bans on

semiautomatic weapons, armor piercing ammunition, and handguns.

There are also many groups that are pro gun control in the United

States. The major group for gun control is Handgun Control, Inc. (HCI), which

is headed by Sarah Brady. Mrs. Brady is the wife of James Brady, who was shot

during an attempt on president Reagan’s life in 1981. Another major group is

the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV), which was formerly known as the

National Coalition to Ban Handguns. The CSGV believes that handguns should be

outlawed completely, with a few exceptions, such as the military, police and

sportsmen who keep their guns locked up together in a gun club.

Some accomplishments of HCI are laws prohibiting the interstate

sale of handguns, and laws prohibiting the sale of “assault weapons.” The main

goal of this organization was to pass the Brady Bill. Some of its other goals

are to ban multiple sales of handguns, to create gun-free zones around all of

the schools, and to establish control over who can manufacture and sell weapons.

HCI is working very hard to achieve these goals.

The CSGV is dedicated to the total removal of guns from the hands

of citizens, with a few exceptions. The CSGV is trying very hard to put gun

banning legislation in the law. They believe that if there are fewer guns out

on the streets, then there will be fewer gun crimes committed.

The anti-gun control people believe in several major ideas. They

believe that the second amendment rights apply only to militia, which they

define as a group such as the National Guard and not regular citizens. These

people also believe that by controlling numbers of guns on the streets gun

violence can be reduced.

The national government doing working with the issue of gun

control. There have been several bills passed in the last ten years that have

to do with gun control. First, there was the Gun Control Act of 1986, which

banned all fully-automatic weapons from the hands of citizens. Then in 1988

there was the Brady Bill, which made a seven-day waiting period mandatory for

all handgun purposes, this law passed the House of Representatives in 1991, but

part of it was ruled unconstitutional in 1994. Most recently there was the ban

on assault weapons, which bans the sale and manufacture of what the government

considers assault weapons. Both the NRA and HCI have fought very hard against

one another to pass some bills, and to keep some bills from becoming law.

Both sides of this argument present very strong cases. They have

many facts and statistics to use as weapons (see Appendix for data of both

sides). The stronger case being presented by the pro-gun control groups. The

NRA has several good points, but HCI has points that are more relevant to the

society we live in. Pro-gun control groups can prove that crime can be reduced

with more gun control laws by showing death statistics in countries with

stricter gun control laws (Figure 1.1). The NRA argues differently, but does

not have the extremely convincing evidence to back their ideas up. To save more

lives from death by firearms, some compromise must be made between these groups.

Losing some time or money to buy a gun could save many lives. The NRA argues

that people are guaranteed the right to own guns in the Second Amendment (See

Appendix for the text of this amendment), but anti-gun control groups say that

the law applies only to militia, not individuals. The pro-gun control groups

have the stronger case because they can prove that lives will be saved. Take

away the guns, and there will be no gun violence, it makes sense.

Appendix Figure 1.1 Handgun Control, Inc.

“In 1988, handguns killed 7 people in Great Britain, 19 in Sweden, 53 in

Switzerland, 25 in Israel, 13 in Australia, 8 in Canada, and 8,915 in the

United States.”

Figure 1.2

1989 Federal Lobbying Reports

This figure shows the amount of money spent by both pro and anti gun control

groups in 1989 lobbying for legislation

(1st Half Gross Receipts)

Handgun Control, Inc. $3,287,020

National Coalition to Ban Handguns 265,719

ANTI-GUN TOTAL $4,092,739

Citizens for the Right to Keep and

Bear Arms $1,158,572

NRA/Institute for Legislative Action 915,603

Gun Owners of America 361,715

PRO-GUN TOTAL $2,435,890


Figure 2.1 The Second Amendment to the Constitution

“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.”


Ammunition. The shells or cartridges fired from a gun.

Anti-gun control. Favoring no restrictions on the access of law-abiding

citizens to firearm ownership.

Armor-piercing bullets. A type of bullet that can penetrate protective vests or

other gear sometimes worn by law-enforcement officers.

Background check. A type of gun control requiring review of the background of a

potential gun owner to check for a criminal record or history of drug or

alcohol abuse.

Ban. A law or act that prohibits the acquisition or sale of a particular item,

such as a gun.

Firearm. A device for storing, and firing of ammunition.

Fully-automatic weapon. A gun that can fire many rounds with one pull of the

trigger, such as a machine gun.

Gun-control law. Any law that restricts the ownership or sale of firearms.

Handgun. A short, thick-barreled firearm that can be handheld.

Lobby. An organization that uses its political power to promote causes

supported by its membership.

Militia. 1. As defined by the Constitution it includes all able-bodied men

between 18 and 45 2. Defined by the pro-gun control groups, it means the

members of groups such as the National Guard and the armed forces

Pro-gun control. Favoring restrictions on the access of citizens to firearm


Rifle. A long, thick-barreled firearm with a handle that fits to the shoulder.

Semiautomatic. A firearm with a removable magazine and a trigger that must be

pulled once to fire each shot.

Works Cited

Alba, John. “Outspoken Lawman.” American Survival Guide Jan. 1996: 88-90.

Gun Control. Ed. Bruno Leone. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, Inc., 1992.

Little, Christopher. “The Disarming President.” American Survival Guide May

1995: 46-49.

McClure, Sashai A. “An Analysis of Handgun Control, Inc.”;downloaded from the

Combat Arms BBS, Castro Valley, 3-5-96.

Newton, David E. Gun Control: An Issue for the 90’s. Hillside: Enslow Publishers,

Inc., 1992.

Strahinich, Helen. Think About Guns in America. New York: Walker and Company,


United States.Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.Your Guide to Firearms R

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