Gun control is a complicated and involved topic. Some people want to unify and advocate gun control. This has been successful in many cases. The Gun Control Act of 1986 banned fully automatic weapons, and the 1988 Brady Bill put waiting periods into effect for future handgun owners (Gun Violence, 2007). These legal statutes and laws were created by advocacy of people whose lives had been negatively affected by gun violence, and who were able to mobilize themselves politically and get the power to change the laws. However, there are also a lot of opponents of gun control who argue
that the right to bear arms is written into the US Constitution, and that this is the law of the land. Findings In a recent court case, that of Muscarello v. U. S. , it was decided that the concept of carrying a firearm can be expanded to having a firearm near one or in one’s immediate area. This represents an increase in the number of criminals who will be charged with carrying a firearm even if they were not actually carrying the firearm. It seems like another in a long string of technicalities, but this technicality can be used by the gun
control lobby rather than those who support the widespread ownership of weapons and are anti gun control. The opinion for this case states that, “this case the Supreme court, construing the meaning of ‘carrying’ a firearm for purposes of the sentencing enhancement found at 18 USC 924(c), decides that the word… applies it to having a firearm anywhere in the means of transportation, not just on the person, or within reach. A gun in a trunk of a car, or locked glove box would also count” (Bardwell, qtd. , 2007). Cases like these can be used by gun control supporters in terms of advocacy, but are seen
by the NRA and gun ownership advocates to be counterproductive to their purposes as they stand. In any debate about gun control findings show there will be an upward struggle, especially with conservative interests holding a majority of political power. As mentioned, conservatives tend to support the NRA and try to block gun control. During the conservative presidency of Reagan, the nation saw a mass accumulation of weapons to be used against other nations. “In the United States, Reagan engineered the largest
peacetime arms buildup in history, with attention focused on draft registration, MS, B1, Trident, Cruise, Pershing II, the neutron bomb, and Star Wars” (Kammer, 1991, p. 106). And at the same time, there was another arms buildup in the domestic sphere as more and more Americans bought guns. Reagan stated in a speech to the NRA, “We've both heard the charge that supporting gun owners' rights encourages a violent ‘shoot-em-up society. ’ Don't they understand that most violent crimes are not committed by decent law-abiding citizens? They're committed by career criminals” (Sugarmann, qtd. , 2002).