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Some Thoughts About Guns and Gun Control

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. was in private practice for more than thirty years. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the states ...Read More

Whenever there is a heated debate of national importance it is easy for each side to demonize the other. That is what’s happening in the debate over guns and gun control. Those who advocate putting strict controls on the rights of people to own guns, including assault weapons, view those who oppose any controls as radical and dangerous. In the same way, the National Rifle Association and proponents of the right to own guns think of the other side as, at best, too liberal and, at worst, dangerously close to wanting the government to turn into a dictatorship. The debate even rages between television and radio new channels with some of them on the side of gun control and the other on the side of the National Rifle Association. The public is equally divided with people, like myself, being pro gun control. But wait a minute! Isn’t it true that those who are pro gun have some important points to make. If you listen to the other side, the answer is a firm no. In this article, we will look at things from the pro gun point of view.

I have spoken to a number of people who legally own guns and have them stored at home. Some are retired law enforcement professionals and others are retired army veterans. All of them advocate gun ownership but with tight regulations and laws. They advocate gun ownership for a number of reasons. They argue that owning a gun is a good protection against home invasion by criminals. In addition, they see guns as a way for families to defend themselves against an increasingly chaotic and dangerous world. They also refer to the fact that, in countries where guns were severely restricted, totalitarian dictators took over the government and went on to tyrannize everyone. In this argument, guns are a way for people to protect their freedom if anything should happen to change the way we are governed.

The fact is that most states already have gun control laws. Those laws demand that every gun owner have a permit to own a gun. In order to qualify for a permit, a background check must be done to ensure that there is no history of mental illness or mental incapacity or criminal activity. Conviction or psychiatric hospitalization, or alcohol and drug addiction, disqualify people from getting a permit. Then, when entering a gun shop to make a purchase, the permit must be presented. Even then a gun cannot be sold. The law demands that there be a three day waiting period during which time a further investigation is done, before the sale can be completed. The system seems to be tight and effective. However, this is not so. In addition to all of this, there is a cost to gun permits and licenses that can be fairly expensive depending on the state in which a person lives. Finally, training in safety and the proper use of guns is required by many states.

There are a number of loopholes in the law that allow weapons to end up in the wrong hands. For example, anyone can buy a gun at a gun show where sales go on without any of the laws and rules being enforced. Anyone can walk up to a stall at a gun show and make a purchase, with ammunition, with no questions asked. Then, too, guns are stolen, especially from those who collect weapons and store them at home. In poor urban high crime neighborhoods, is all too easy to acquire a weapon. In these areas, there are some key people who have connections to those who can supply guns. Once the weapon is used, it’s returned and recycled, once again, into the same neighborhood for further use by others. No questions are asked.

The point of much of this is that, it will never be possible to completely control the sale and use of guns for those who deal under the radar of government regulation.

Nevertheless, most gun users do advocate stricter gun control by tightening gun laws and removing loopholes to the sale of guns.

The major point here is that each side in the gun debate has valid points to make. It is true that the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution gives citizens the right to bear arms as a way to prevent tyranny. Having fought for independence from King George III of Great Britain, the founders of the new nation were in no mood to be once again dictated to by king or dictator.

In the end, many people report feeling safer with a gun.

What is your opinion about this issue? Do we need more gun control laws or should people be allowed to own any fire arm they wish?

Allan N. Schwartz, PhD

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