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The most recent mass shooting in a house of worship in the United States history occurred at a Southern Baptist church in Texas. At least 26 worshipers, ranging in age from 5 to 72, were killed and 20 were wounded in the attack. Since this is the 14th mass shooting in a house of worship since 1963, many concerns regarding the legitimacy of the right to possess and use a firearm have arisen. Why are firearms used as standard weapons in recent mass murders? Is there some kind of firearms regulation in the United States? What are the major pitfalls of gun-control policies and laws? According to my view, Second Amendment laws are the major problem that needs to be regulated or scrapped off to end the mass shooting. The two acts work contrary to each other thereby giving an advantage to people willing to carry out the mass shooting. As the gun control laws struggle to regulate the gun manufacture and possession, the constitution limits their effectiveness through the Second Amendment act which gives the right to possession of guns.
Gun control laws
There are several gun control laws in the United States in the federal statutes. The rules play significant roles and are enforced by the Bureau of Alcohol to ensure the guns are in safe hands and used according to the guidelines. Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). These laws with the collaboration of the ATF control the manufacture, possession, transport, transfer, trade, record keeping and the destruction of firearms. Other functions include regulation of ammunition and gun accessories (Gold). Among the federal gun laws found in the acts contains the national firearms act NFA,(1934) which requires all types of firearms to be registered, taxes the manufacturers and transfer. The second law is the Federal Firearms Act FFA of 1938; it mandates all the gun manufacturers and sellers to have a Federal Firearms License FFL and prohibits transfers of guns to outlawed classes of people. The 1968 Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act which pushed the age of acquiring weapons to 21 years and criminalized interstate handguns transfer (Gold). Other acts passed in the bid to control guns include the Gun control act (GCA) 1968 primarily prohibiting domestic transfer of firearms except for authorized dealers and sellers. The Firearm Owner Protection Act (FOPA) 1968, Undetectable Firearms Acts 1988, Gun Free School Zones Act 1990, Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act 1993. Federal Assault Weapons Ban 1994-2004 and the last Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act of 2005 which prevent manufacturers and sellers from being prosecuted for negligence if their products are used in crimes (Carter).
Second amendment act
The second amendment Act was adopted in 1791, according to the constitution of the United States it is mandated to protect the people’s right to keep and bear firearms (Street). A ruling by a supreme court upheld the decision that the power belongs to the people and limits federal, state and local governments from infringing this right. From its amendment the second Amendment Act, it has been through court battles including 1876 US vs. Cruikshank which Supreme Court ruled that the bearing arms weren't given by the constitution either in any way dependent on the instrument for its existence. In 1939 in the US vs. Miller Supreme Court ruled that the second amendment failed to protect types. In 2008 Columbia v Heller court delivered a decision that amendment protects people’s right to bear and carry firearms (Doherty). In McDonald v Chicago 2010 the court upheld its decision on the restriction of the federal government. In 2016 Gaetano v Massachusetts the Supreme Court ruled the act extended prima facie, to all instruments that make bearable arms including the ones not in the bill during its foundation not limiting those weapons used in warfare.
Reason why guns should be controlled
The primary reason is to stop mass shootings and homicides, as reported by a study by Harvard University which shows that an increase in some arms leads to increase in mass shootings and killings. The argument that civilians can stop the mass shooting is not justified since they failed to stop any of mass shooting from 1982 and 2017 (Hand).
From the above discussion, it is clear that mass shooting, especially in the places of worship like the Southern Baptist church, has claimed many innocent lives. There are several gun control policies and laws in the constitution of the United States to regulate the guns. However, the Second Amendment Act have been a drawback of this process since it limits the federal government from infringing the rights to own the firearms. For this reason, the Second Amendment Act should be revisited to end mass shootings.
Carter, Gregg Lee. Guns in American society : an encyclopedia of history, politics, culture, and the law. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2012. Print.
Doherty, Brian. Gun control on trial : inside the Supreme Court battle over the Second Amendment. Washington, D.C: Cato Institute, 2008.
Gold, Susan Dudley. Gun control. New York: Benchmark Books, 2004.
Hand, Carol. Gun Control and the Second Amendment. New York: ABDO Digital., 2017.
Street, Joe. Firearms and freedom: the second amendment in the twenty-first century. Routledge: Routledge, 2017.
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