Being able to purchase and own a firearm is one of the many constitutional rights of any law-abiding American citizen. Ever since the first colonial Americans were forced to bear arms for protection the most reasonable solution to protecting oneself and those they care for has involved a firearm of some type. Owning a firearm is not a foolproof way to avoid being victimized, but it is a very decisive step towards refusing to simply lie down and be seen as helpless. Individuals without a criminal record should by right be allowed to purchase and carry a registered firearm to avoid being victimized.
While guns can help people from becoming victims, they are also tools based on deterrence that are meant to be used wisely and not handed out to every last person who desires one. In order to purchase a firearm it has become necessary to create measures that can determine the eligibility and even in some cases the likelihood that a person seeking to buy a gun should be allowed to do so. As Gura (2013) manages to relay, buying a firearm requires the purchaser to fill out a 4473 form to start with. This form is six pages in length and asks for such information as the buyer’s name, social security number, and close to a page of tedious questions that are used to determine whether or not the buyer is in fact allowed to have a firearm.
Apart from that, the seller of the firearm has to contact the FBI and run a search on the purchaser in the event that they have been flagged for any reason that might negate their chances of owning a firearm of any kind. It is an exhaustive process to purchase a firearm and is seen by
some as rather intense and even intrusive. However, it is meant in some ways to deter those who
have no business purchasing firearms in order to protect other citizens from becoming the unwitting victims of such individuals. The line that is drawn between those who are and who are not allowed to own and operate a firearm is at times very fine, but the intent of the law is to provide a safe and manageable service that allows people to practice one of their constitutional rights.
Public opinion would make it possible to believe that any person who commits a felony
would not be allowed to own or even handle a firearm. Unfortunately there are loopholes that exist at the state and federal level that can negate this belief. As Burke (2014) has written, felons who have served their sentence and even undergone a “cleansing” period may be entitled to once again purchase and own firearms. In some states it takes a ten-year period during which the released felon must not commit another felony before their right to bear arms is reinstated. The idea of this is that during this time the felon will have had plenty of time to rehabilitate and prove that they are a part of their community and less of a risk to those around them.
The right to protect oneself is extended even to ex-convicts despite the misgivings of many, as it is an unalienable right and is based upon moral as well as legal grounds. Given the current state of America and the unsettling statistics that grow with each passing year it is considered wiser to obtain the necessary permits to carry or even just own a gun rather than allow one to become victimized for lack of exercising such a right. Frohlich and Sauter contend that many states have become much stricter with laws restricting the ownership of certain firearms and their use, which is why those states are often seen to have less of a problem with gun-related deaths. Unfortunately this does little to nothing to instill much, if any, hope in those who live in states where gun violence is a much higher risk for the average individual.
The idea of each and every home in America possessing at least one firearm is an enticing idea that requires a great deal of fine-tuning, but it is an interesting and even innovative consideration in the current era. Home invasions, unlawful police shootings, and many other transgressions are tools often used by the media to supposedly inform the general public despite the negative effects that are felt such as fear and paranoia. While the belief that having a gun in each home might be enticing, it is still important to note that guns are best kept by those who are most qualified to handle them. This of course brings up the argument of why one individual is more qualified and the issue of how people feel about firearms. Home protection is a very hotly debated issue in this day and age, no matter that by definition it is quite simple.
Many people feel that the second amendment is not just a constitutional right that is to be observed and allowed without fail, but a safety measure that can help people from becoming unwitting victims as well. There is a need to exercise caution as granting the ability to use firearms to anyone who knows how to pull a trigger can be quite dangerous. The mere fact that people who want a gun can and will find ways beyond any lawful transaction is horrifying enough, but the fact is that at times it is easier for those engaged in criminal activities to purchase and use a firearm than it is for a law-abiding citizen. The right to bear arms is in fact the right of every American, but the duty to use them responsibly falls to those who use them as a deterrent to violence rather than as a catalyst.
At the current date it is considered quite important to learn how to use a firearm before or right after purchase in order to better understand the weapon and its capabilities. While gun violence is a very real problem in the United States, accidental shootings and injuries caused by those who do not fully understand how to wield a gun are notable as well. The idea of purchasing and keeping any firearm is to eventually, if needed, put it to use. In any case the first step is to always learn how to use the weapon so as to understand and even respect what it can do. Just like any deadly weapon a gun is quite safe when one’s finger is not on or anywhere near the trigger, but if it is meant to be used, then caution and experience are absolutely necessary.
Many people are divided on the issue of having a gun in their home, on their person, or anywhere near their family. Some would attempt to make their case heard by stating that guns are not the answer to the problem, while others would counter this by stating that it is better to own a gun and not have to use it than to need one and not have it. The preventative measure of owning a gun is a safety net for many, yet still seems like overkill to others. Whether an individual is pro or anti-gun, the issue remains of how guns affect the American public overall, and how their use, for good or ill, is being handled by those in charge.
Gurciullo and Novak (2016) write that Congress has taken a rather tender-footed approach to the gun laws and pages-long policies having to do with tighter control of firearms in the US. Those who write and enforce policy are continually stalling for time, weighing the options, and trying to find some way to appease the American people while at the same time discover a method that will satisfy every opinion. It is an effort in futility as the continual issues that deal with firearms and their use have yet to be settled, bringing about a serious lack of cohesive thought or action to the issue at hand. People do not want to relinquish their guns, but they also do not feel the need to become the helpless victim.
Possessing a gun does not necessarily create a barrier of safety around the average person, but it does offer a level of comfort that might otherwise be missing. Throughout the many public shootings that have occurred lately it has been expressed that had more people been armed, less would have perished. While the veracity of this belief is not truly provable, it is a sure call to Congress to lighten the restrictions on firearms for law-abiding citizens.
Burke, Alana Marie. “Can a Felon Own a Gun? 5 Loopholes in Federal Law.” Newsmax,
Accessed 28 Nov. 2016.
Frohlich, Thomas C. & Sauter, Michael B. “The 10 States With the Least Gun Violence.” 24/7
Wall St., http://247wallst.com/special-report/2016/06/21/the-10-states-with-the-least-gun-violence/2/. Accessed 28 Nov. 2016.
Gura, David. “Background check: what it really takes to buy a gun.” Marketplace,
Gurciullo, Brianna & Novak, Viveca. “Gun Rights vs. Gun Control.” OpenSecrets.org,
http://www.opensecrets.org/news/issues/guns/. Accessed 28 Nov. 2016.