As of now, gun laws depend entirely on the state in which a person lives. The federal governments’ power can only go so far when restricting the sale and manufacture of handguns. The state of California enforces a fifteen day waiting period before an individual is able to purchase a handgun. The federal government enforces the Brady Bill. In the early eighties, a man named John Hinckley attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan. A stray bullet struck former Senator James Brady in the head, causing severe paralysis.
Hinckley had bought the gun in a Texas pawnshop prior to the shooting. Outrage filled America at the ease that Hinckley purchased the gun. A bill was proposed that would require a complete background check on anybody who desired to buy a handgun. The bill, appropriately named after Brady, was created to stop the public from buying guns in the heat of passion. Often times, a traumatic event will occur and in the heat of the moment, a person will purchase a gun to either kill themselves or others that they are angry at.
The Brady Bill, which requires a seven day waiting period and a check for prior criminal activity, allows a person to calm their temper before irrational behavior causes them to injure someone else (Sugarmann). The Brady Bill is a major step in reducing the number of murders in America, but it isn’t perfect. Most guns involved in crime are either bought on the street, are stolen, or are already in a residence. In the case of John Hinckley, the assassination attempt was well planned, and he had no prior criminal record.
Even if the Brady Bill was in effect, Hinckley would not have been stopped. A stricter law can have an affect on gun crime. In two years after an introduction of a waiting period in Massachusetts, gun homicide went down in Boston by 55. 7% (Jerry). There are many factors that gun control laws cannot prevent. I read newspapers online about the victim; his name was Allen. The gun that was used in the incident was owned none other by the young man who was killed. A family member walked into the house, picked up the gun and loaded it, and shot Allen in the chest.
The young man bled to death before help could arrive. (Robert) The witness spoke as he described the amount of blood he witnessed on the floor as he walked around the murder scene the next day. For gun control activists, this crime should bring about a ban on all weapons. For organizations such as the NRA, this crime simply represents that guns don’t kill people, but people kill people. A question raised is how to prevent gun crimes, like the one above, from happening in the future. This is where America stands right now on the issue of gun control.
Can America handle an outright ban on guns? Is this an infringement of our rights? Many jobs would be lost, but many lives would be saved, and less crime would occur. The government has the power to regulate gun control, but as of now, the laws are in the hands of the states. When does the government draw the line? It is a very political matter when dealing with a Constitutional right and the lives of innocent people. The right to bear arms is one of the principles our nation was founded under, but at the same time, Americans have the right for life.
Robert, Pear. “Clinton and Gore Clash with N. R. A. Official over Gun Control. ” New York Times. 14 March 2000. 30 Jul. 2008. <http://news. bbc. co. uk/2/hi/uk_news/7047649. stm>. Davidson, Osha. “Under fire. ” New York: Henry Holt and Co. 24 Oct. 1993. 30 Jul. 2008. <http://query. nytimes. com/gst/fullpage. html? res=9F0CE4DD1E38F937A15753C1A965958260&scp=1&sq=Davidson,%20Osha. %20Under%20fire. %20&st=cse>. Larson, Erik. “Lethal Passages. ” New York: Crown Publishers. 20 March 1994. 30 Jul. 2008.