The creation of the United States came as a result of the independence war with England in 1776, in which the big involvement of citizens and militaries for the liberation left as a consequence people owning weapons. Contrary to what happened in Europe after each war, the citizens in US were not disarmed after the liberation, but their armament was supported with the second amendment of US constitution, “Bill of rights”, allowing “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” (Amendment II, US Constitution).
Second amendment still exists today, and despite the incremental legal adjustments, it still is prominent in supporting the rights of individuals to bear guns. Bearing guns in US became very popular (Bellesiles, 2002). Americans are willing to walk freely in the streets without being threatened from someone. Although, some claim that bearing guns for self-protection is their right, some others in contradiction, claim that gun rights are the main cause of social turbulence and violation.
Scandalous events happening in the US, such as mass killings of people culminating with the killings of innocent children, raised a serious debate among scholars, lawyers and politicians’, to revise the second amendment. Who is the killer: the gun or people? Easy access of people to the guns may bring down the social stability and result with atrocities like mass killings of children by a well-armed psychopath. Some claim that easy access of people to the guns may threat the public stability, so the bearings of guns have to be controlled by the state.
On the other side of the debate, there are scholars who do not relate the gun control with the killings, “the effect of gun ownership on all other crime categories is much less marked” (Douggan, 2001). This paper aims to assess the debate on guns in two other dimensions: by giving legal and religious aspect on the issue. Lawyers are aware of the grim of situation but instead of proposing prohibition, their approach is to form strict laws for punishing those who are destined to distort the peace and liberty.
Religious leaders have been the greatest opposes of the gun rights, but in fact, the main concern remain human being itself not the gun. It was evident that people who want to get involved in crime can find several ways to finish their goal. Literature Review Debate on gun control and gun rights have been overstretched in the US, many scholars, politicians, lawyers have found themselves involved in this debate due to the multidimensional impacts this problem brings.
The supporters of gun control have claimed that gun bearing have to be controlled which would lead to more stable society and crime-free. One of the major contributors to this debate, Frank Zimiring a professor in University of Chicago, tries to illustrate and bring the gun debate in close resolution, by analyzing the Police files in Chicago. He came in a conclusion that “the rate of homicide per 100 police reported attacks is about five times as great for firearms as for knives…” (Zirming, 1968).
Further, according to Zimiring (1968), the gun bearing results with high rates for homicides. However, gun policies were analyzed through cultural heritage also; Philip Cook and Jens Ludwig (2001) argue that “the NORC surveys show overwhelming support for moderate gun control measures”. Another pragmatic author, LaFollete (2000) tries to find new third way to the situation; he argues that banning guns in current situation of US is un-formidable because the number of people who still want guns is very high.
LaFollete says “I propose we make handgun owners strictly liable for harm caused by the use of their guns. ” The reckless people bearing guns are responsible for everything which might happen with their gun, even if it is stolen, the owner have to pay the damage and is responsible for his gun. The other side of the spectrum composed by scholars which support gun rights argue that more stable society relies on the armed citizens.
Gary Mauser professor in Simon Fraser university in Canada, argues that the gun-laws does not reduce the crime rate, because in previous decades there have been only 22 states allowing gun bearing, later 37 more created flexible laws for gun possession and surprisingly the violence rates in to 2004 dropped drastically, also it is even more surprising that US compared to other states in the world have an impressive drop in crime rate (Mauser, 2004).
Also there are facts from the state’s such UK and Canada which enforced gun-laws, that the crime rate increased after the laws were passed. Moreover Mark Moore and Anthony Braga (2000) argue that even if most clear empirical statistics are provided which show that gun bearing is harmful, most of the people who own a gun are not going to obey. Also guns in US are hold primarily for self-protection, so despite the statistics that 11% in 100. 000 Americans committed suicide and homicide, the surprising effect is that estimated 100. 00 Americans per year are using guns in property loss protection. According to Mark Guertz (1995) guns have been used most of the time for self-defense rather than violating crimes. Currently a survey conducted in 2011 resulted that “49% of Americans support the gun rights, whereas 45% say that guns have to be controlled” (The Pew Research Center, 2012) this tight percentage where the majority thinks that US citizens have to be provided with gun rights, is a strong evidence describing that why US is not passing the laws for gun control.
Research question: Why gun control does not fit the political culture of US both in terms of law and religion? Moreover, how would the controlling of guns affect the social stability in US? The principal objectives of this pare are: (i) to argue that gun control leads to instability in US because it may increase the crime rate, (ii) to argue that gun control is farfetched policy given the American political culture and (iii) to argue that it misfits both the judiciary and religious aspects. Thesis statement
In this research paper I argue that gun control is a farfetched policy given the political culture of America, and moreover it misfits both with regard to law, because first the gun possession is strongly rooted as a civil right in the second amendment of US and second, religion invokes moral issues on the subject, focusing on individual’s behavior. Methodology: This research paper is conducted in a qualitative study analyzing scholarly written articles and critically engaging in the literature.
The main focus of my study relies on the debate for gun control in the United States. The independent variable of this study is gun rights and the dependent variable is social stability, whereas the intermediary variables are religion and law. Also I rely on some assumption, in this paper I position myself in pro gun rights group, and I argue that bearing guns leads to more stable society. To support the arguments my intention will be focused on law and religion, both perspectives explaining the cause of gun rights.
Second Amendment- Legal right of US citizens Given the legal framework in US, the prohibition of guns would create a feeling that people are being threatened at their main right established long ago in the Constitution. Why sporadic cases of violence and killings should be linked with the legitimate right of people to bear guns, if that is what makes them feel safe and protected? This composes an issue beyond controlling of gun; it is an issue of limiting people’s freedom for deterring crimes.
Lawyers argue that gun control would not establish a low rate of crimes, because people would find other ways to conduct a crime if the predisposition to act as such exists. For example, the last atrocity was caused by a mentally disordered young boy who went in an elementary school and killed children. Immediately, the blame was put on the gun bearing and justified the boy as acting irrationally. This is a misleading framing of the problem, thus the debate concentrates on the limitations of rights rather than adjustment of behavior on the society.
Gun possession is controlled under the law, which prohibits bearing guns in the public places it only allows bearing the gun privately (Braga, 2001). In order to buy a gun in US (depending on the state, because each state have different policies), the possession of different types of guns is regulated by age, and in some states it needs a particular training, whereas if you get a gun without a training in any state it will be automatically illegal when it passes in another state. Also the person has to fulfill some criteria’s to possess a gun.
The gun possession is enshrined by the second amendment of constitution, so in the situations where the crime rates are at the highest stage, and psychopaths are walking freely in the streets of US, bearing a gun have to became a fundamental right and in extremity, it may be necessary. Law-abiding citizens don’t have to ask someone to engage in peaceful activities supported by the constitution, also possessing a gun does not harm someone, so clearly speaking it cannot become a justification for some criminals (Mauser, 2004).
As we see from the statistics, criminals try to justify themselves by relying on the second amendment, which cannot be considered acceptable. Furthermore, the second amendment was drafted right after the end of war in 1791, which gave citizens of US the right to bear arms and their liberty could not be deprived from the state of US as it happened with the British (n. a, 1970). Also, there are laws conducted for punishing criminals, which varies from death penalties (California, Texas) to indemnity.
Law-abiding citizens will suffer more if the gun control will be applied, because it is more likely to happen as it happened with alcohol prohibition (when it was prohibited the sales doubled). So for more stable and crime-free society, US have to encourage citizens to bear guns instead of prohibit them, because a well-armed citizen is the best protection to any situation. The political culture of US emphasizes the importance of the right in keeping guns. Religious Perspective: moral right of self-protection
Religious leaders view gun control as a policy to be implemented in order to decrease the crime rate caused by guns. On the other hand, all religions provide the human beings with the right of protection in case of attack by someone. Religious leaders mostly are dealing with criminals rather than with the citizens who possess guns for self-protection. Instead of guns being controlled, it is more valuable to take in consideration that people need more control than guns (Heaton, 2006).
The criminals appearing all over the United States are not pushed by guns toward their ways in conducting crimes; it is their psychological mood which forces them to conduct a crime. Those who want to conduct a crime will find a way to create damage, according to statistics provided above, not only guns cause damage also the possession of knife can lead to crime. Since people are more likely to get involved in a crime, with or without a gun, this raises a question whether those to be kept under the control are the psychopaths or guns.
So by ignoring the gun, this does not mean that the gun problem will move away (Haider-Markel & Joslyn, 2001). Morality is at stake when it comes to religion. However, America is a place where rule of law takes advantage over religious considerations. People are quite sensitive when moral issues infringe upon their liberties and rights that have accompanied them for long. The religion is causing hazards to the debate by focusing on the temptation that guns inflict to people, by making them more aggressive and prone to committing crimes.
Hence, the sinner should be kept away from the sin (guns, in this case). But, because religion plays a role in the social stability, it is aligning with the conditionality of gun bearing and lowering down their moral disapproval for avoiding conflict. Conclusion It is an effort in US to create a gun control policy, by claiming that it will lead to the social-stability. However, bearing a gun is not related to the crime directly. According to statistics the number of people which possess guns in US is increasing rapidly, also the violent situation in US raises the will to bear guns.
Most of the people keep their guns at home, and they use it in cases of emergence, on the other hand people committing crimes are very few compared to law-abiding citizens. US, is not a place where criminals can walk freely, there are many laws for judging those who use guns not proportionally, it remained to US laws to punish those who bear guns, by prohibiting guns the crime rate will not decrease as we may compare with UK and Canada. Also religious leaders included in the debate, mostly call for US government to take serious steps and disarm people, whereas the problem does not rely on guns but on people.
To harm someone innocent is forbidden purely by religion, the tool does not serve as justification for crime but the will and the emotional mood. I agree that gun rights have to be revised but not forbidden, more strict laws to get a gun and more strict justifications to possess would downgrade the crime rate, also some trainings would be perfect, a well-armed citizen is the perfect protection for a state. The policy of gun control not only presents a farfetched idea for the Americans, but it also misfits with the political culture in US, both in terms of law and religion.
People’s perception of the gun-bearing as a fundamental legal right for self-protection makes it difficult to approve a law for gun control (Moorhouse & Wanner, 2006). Of course, there will be protests and moral issues any time guns are misused and tragedies happen, however, religious morality is unable to surpass the deeply rooted convenience of American people that it is in their rights and liberties to have a gun. The moral concerns about gun control can hardly became a challenging political discourse.