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Gun Control

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Gun Control

Americans are faced with an ever-growing problem of violence. Our streets have

become a battleground where the elderly are beaten for their social security

checks, where terrified women are viciously attacked and raped, where

teen-age gangsters shoot it out for a patch of turf to sell their illegal drugs, and

where innocent children are caught daily in the crossfire of drive-by shootings.

We cannot ignore the damage that these criminals are doing to our society, and

we must take actions to stop these horrors. However, the effort by some

misguided individuals to eliminate the legal ownership of firearms does not

address the real problem at hand, and simply disarms the innocent law-abiding

citizens who are most in need of a form of self-defense.

To fully understand the reasons behind the gun control efforts, we must look at

the history of our country, and the role firearms have played in it. The second

amendment to the Constitution of the United States makes firearm ownership

legal in this country. There were good reasons for this freedom, reasons which

persist today. Firearms in the new world were used initially for hunting, and

occasionally for self-defense. However, when the colonists felt that the burden

of British oppression was too much for them to bear, they picked up their

personal firearms and went to war. Standing against the British armies, these

rebels found themselves opposed by the greatest military force in the world at

that time. The 18th century witnessed the height of the British Empire, but the

rough band of colonial freedom fighters discovered the power of the Minuteman,

the average American gun owner. These Minutemen, so named because they

would pick up their personal guns and jump to the defense of their country on a

minute's notice, served a major part in winning the American Revolution. The

founding fathers of this country understood that an armed populace was

instrumental in fighting off oppression, and they made the right to keep and

bear arms a constitutionally guaranteed right.

Over the years, some of the reasons for owning firearms have changed. As our

country grew into a strong nation, we expanded westward, exploring the

wilderness, and building new towns on the frontier. Typically, these new towns

were far away from the centers of civilization, and the only law they had was

dispensed by townsfolk through the barrel of a gun. Crime existed, but could be

minimized when the townspeople fought back against the criminals. Eventually,

these organized townspeople developed police forces as their towns grew in

size. Fewer people carried their firearms on the street, but the firearms were

always there, ready to be used in self-defense.

It was after the Civil War that the first gun-control advocates came into

existence. These were southern leaders who were afraid that the newly freed

black slaves would assert their newfound political rights, and these leaders

wanted to make it easier to oppress the free blacks. This oppression was

accomplished by passing laws making it illegal in many places for black people to

own firearms. With that effort, they assured themselves that the black

population would be subject to their control, and would not have the ability to

fight back. At the same time, the people who were most intent on denying black

people their basic rights walked around with their firearms, making it impossible

to resist their efforts. An unarmed man stands little chance against an armed

one, and these armed men saw their plans work completely. It was a full

century before the civil rights activists of the 1960s were able to restore the

constitutional freedoms that blacks in this country were granted in the 1860s.

Today's gun control activists are a slightly different breed. They claim that gun

violence in this country has gotten to a point where something must be done to

stop it. They would like to see criminals disarmed, and they want the random

violence to stop. I agree with their sentiments. However, they are going about

it in the wrong way. While claiming that they want to take guns out of the

hands of criminals, they work to pass legislation that would take the guns out of

the hands of law-abiding citizens instead. For this reason the efforts at gun

control do not address the real problem of crime.

The simple definition of a criminal is someone who does not obey the law. The

simple definition of a law-abiding citizen is someone who does obey the law.

Therefore, if we pass laws restricting ownership of firearms, which category of

people does it affect? The



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