Gun Crime

improve the quality of life they are living in, or even lengthen people’s lives. But with all these innovations and advancements, it is unavoidable that some problems and complications may arise. This includes threats to security, property and even to life. This is made possible by several tools that could cause harm to other people, and a good example of these is the gun. Owning a gun is like being exposed to a double edged blade: it could protect the owner, or it could further harm him, as well as other people around him. As more and more people are able to acquire guns, the more the gun-related crimes in the society increase.

This is not only a security issue, but also a legal concern. Laws and legislations should be made and be in effect in order to lower these gun crimes. For some, owning a gun means protecting one’s self, property, and loved ones. But this is not necessarily true for all cases. There are also those who intentionally procure guns and other deadly weapons for the reason of harming someone else. According to the National Crime Victimization Survey of 1993 to 2001, deadly weapons such as guns are the usual tools for committing serious crimes like robbery, assault, rapes/sexual assaults, and for some even murder and homicide (Perkins, 2003).

The likelihood of having crimes such as these in a certain community is high, especially if there are deadly weapons like guns involved; the weapons which are supposedly bought to protect lives and property are also the ones being used to destroy them. According to the Survey of Inmates in State and Federal Correctional Facilities of 2001, the age bracket with the highest concentration of gun crime offenders come from those at the age of 24 years old and below. The next one would be from those in the 25-34 years old bracket, and the last is from the 35 years old and above age bracket (Harlow, 2001).

This means that even young people have an access to these deadly weapons, and are not limited to those professionals who can afford the price of these guns or those who carry guns as a part of their profession. With the alarming number of gun-related crimes, the government is left with no choice but to stop the problem from the roots. Since the gun related problems are caused by the increasing number of people possessing these weapons, one of the ways that the government came up with was to regulate its sale on the market. By regulating its sale, people are on a stricter position on how they can get these weapons.

The law which tackles on the regulation of these weapons is the Gun Control Act of 1968, which has been amended to disqualify an individual from the possible possession of a firearm or by purchasing it from dealers which are licensed to sell these weapons (Harlow, 2001). The conditions regarding this Gun Control Act includes a history of being indicted or convicted with felony; current involvement with illegal drugs, like substance addiction; being dishonorably discharged from the Armed Forces; mental incompetence; non-residency or being an alien and; being a fugitive from justice.

With these conditions, the Federal law hopes to disqualify 8 out of 10 possible criminals from purchasing a firearm. With the numbers decreased, the government aims to reduce the gun crime offenders to a manageable level. This holds true with those who purchase their guns from the licensed gun distributors. But problems would arise from those who illegally sell and distribute firearms all over the country. Anyone could buy these guns as long as they are willing and able to buy it, which is dependent on the buyer’s budget.

Another federal law which was in effect last 1994 was introduced to the public in order to also regulate the sales of these licensed firearms. The Brady Act aims to regulate the sale of federally mandated licensed firearms requiring the dealers to perform background checks on their potential buyers (Harlow, 2001). This is in accordance to the conditions of eligibility for purchase of the Gun Control Act of 1968. The Brady Act aims to limit the buyers to only those who deserve to own these firearms.

If the buyers would be strict, then there would be little chance of selling these potentially dangerous weapons to the wrong people. If they are required to make background checks, then the likelihood of gun-related crimes would surely be reduced. However, the problem with this is that it is limited to those which are sold legally. There are still those dealers who sell cheaper, equally dangerous guns to those who are willing to buy such weapons. The laws were not able to curb the sales of smuggled weapons in the country, which is fairly abundant in the illegal market.

People who have access to these weapons can distribute it, wherein there is a high chance for a criminal to take hold of such weapon. With this law, the problem would at least be limited to those illegally purchased guns. The likelihood of crimes resulting from those which are bought from licensed dealers would be fairly negligible. A gun is only deadly when it is loaded with the right ammunition. If it has no ammunition or has no supplier of ammunition, then it would most probably be a useless piece of metal.

This is why there are some laws that are passed regarding ammunition dealers and gun serialization. An example of this legislation is the Senate Bill no. 357 passed in 2005. In this bill, it states that there would be the necessary handgun ammunition serialization and registration ("California Gun Bills " 2005). This makes it illegal to produce, sell or take into possession such ammos which are not serialized. It is also illegal for the gun owners to reload bullets which are not serialized even if they own licensed or registered firearms.

With this Bill, the ammunition cost would also be increased because of the dealer record-keeping cost being passed to the ones buying the serialized bullets. With this Bill, the senate aims to regulate the use of illegal weapons by taking it to a gun’s lethal component which is none other than its bullet. If the people are using illegally purchased weapons, then they would not be able to purchase the bullets since the ammunition dealer keeps records of its sales. With this, only those who have licensed firearms will be able to buy bullets.

If all the bullets being fired will be serialized, then it will be easier to trace about the owner of the gun who is most probably the one who committed the crime. Despite the large volumes of the gun-related crimes, the government still does its best in order to curb such threats to public safety. This is with the legislative power of the nation, which is undeniably a very effective way to solve these kinds of problems. It is up to the people if they are willing to cooperate with the government’s efforts to reduce if not eliminate the occurrence of gun-related crimes.

References:

California Gun Bills (2005). Retrieved October 25, 2007, from http://www. gunsandcrime. org/bills. html Harlow, C. W. (2001). Firearm Use by Offenders. Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report Retrieved October 25, 2007, from http://www. ojp. usdoj. gov/bjs/pub/pdf/fuo. pdf Perkins, C. (2003). Weapon Use and Violent Crime. Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report Retrieved October 25, 2007, from http://www. ojp. usdoj. gov/bjs/pub/pdf/wuvc01. pdf