Gun Control One of the most controversial issues of today is the topic of gun control. It is not only a popular debate, but has now become one of the key reasons people vote for a particular candidate. But is gun control the only answer to help stop crime, or is there another solution? I believe that if we as a society cannot even control ourselves to become responsible for our own actions then we are lost. Gun control isnt the answer, instead we should concentrate on training and controlling the people who are using these firearms. A quote from Charlton Heston, president of the NRA, We teach our children not to play with a hot stove, to look both ways before crossing the street and to avoid the dangers of drugs and other harmful substances.
And we should certainly teach our young children how to avoid tragic accidents with firearms. With such groups as the NRA, ACLU, and the MRC many agree that their has to be another solution. The NRA alone has over four million people supporting them. The NRA also supports many programs to better increase the knowledge about firearms and the safety of the people using them. For example they agree with the proposition to have mandatory background checks for anyone purchasing a firearm at a gun show. They also agree with and help to fund school education programs for gun safety including their award winning Eddie Eagle GunSafe Programs, which since 1988 has been viewed by over 12 million school children in every state in the country.
But the controversy doesnt arise in these programs because almost everyone would agree that a more informed and educated society isnt a bad thing. The problem lays within the issue of banning guns, and registering guns. Should all guns be registered in a national database? The NRA says no. Another quote from Charlton Heston. In every jurisdiction where registration has been imposed, government confiscation and destruction has occurred. Yet, that is exactly the goal of anti-gun lobbyists.
This was taken from a debate between NRA president Charlton Heston and Handgun Control Inc. chair Sarah Brady. Heston continues on to say Sarah Brady, chair of Handgun Control Inc., told the New York Times on August 15, 1993 that her ultimate goal is a need based licensing system, with all guns and gun transfers registered with the federal government. In her ideal world, an honest citizen would have to prove to government bureaucrats his or her need to own a firearm. Think about that for a moment.
Can you satisfy Mrs. Bradys requirement that you need your shotgun? Or the handgun you keep for protection in your home? This raises an interesting point. If this system were to pass, how would you judge a persons need for a firearm, especially for protection purposes? Another possible precaution that is being proposed by presidential candidate Al Gore, is the fingerprinting and photographing of every gun owner for an identification card. What criminal is going to stand in line and give his fingerprints and photograph away to the federal government? So how would this help reduce gun-related crimes? Simply put, it wouldnt, but Al Gore is still pushing for it, much like the systems that were already introduced to such countries as Australia, England, and Canada. Shortly after these countries began confiscating and destroying privately owned guns. Now Im not saying that I believe the federal government is trying to overturn our country by taking away our firearms, but it is a little suspicious when compared to the previous history of other countries. So what does Sarah Brady and the Handgun Control Inc.
think about national registration of firearms? Handgun registration is: a way of ensuring that the police can track any gun that is used in a crime, do a better job of proving that a crime gun was indeed purchased by the criminal and convict those criminals and send them to jail. Though they believe in handgun registration, they dont believe in registering rifles or shotguns since they are rarely used in crimes. I agree that justice must be served and that any possible way of finding these criminals and upholding the law should be taken, but choosing between confiscation and registration is a tough choice. Id rather have the right to own a gun. Also if the possibility of confiscation arose think how much easier it would be for the federal government to track you down and steal your firearm.
Although it seems far fetched that this could ever happen Id rather not take any chances. Another huge controversy of today is between the two possible presidential candidates Al Gore, and George W. Bush. Both have very strong views on the topic of gun control and it is a key element in their campaigns. Gore believes in the federal licensing of handguns, a limit of buying one gun per month, a ban on Saturday Night Specials, and mandatory background checks at gun shows. Bush believes in many of the same proposals including mandatory background checks, and trigger locks, but not the registration of handguns, the limit of one gun per month, or the banning of Saturday Night Specials.
Though both candidates have strong beliefs on the subject the media has found many double-standards in Bushs possible propositions. For example an incident occurred between Kayne Robinson, the vice president of the NRA, and a particular comment he made at a California NRA meeting, If we win, well have a president..where well work out of their office. Once the media obtained this, it was plastered all over the evening news and Bushs reputation was damaged. With this arose several other incidents where Bushs reputation was on the line. The question is, why is the media so abrupt to point out Bushs bad points? This makes you question the medias motives, not only Bushs. Granted he is running for president and his actions speak more than his words, but everyone makes mistakes, and I would like to know that the president does too. Gore on the other hand has done a complete reversal compared to his actions before he was running for president.
He used to favor many pro-gun bills and had a mostly pro-gun voting record. But unlike Bush, the media didnt exploit this information it merely skimmed over it. Which brings up another key player to the argument, the media. The media is probably the most influential force of today, taking up over half of what we see on TV, and in newspapers. So how does the media play a role in the gun debate? Well one way is by giving one-sided perspectives when choosing what to air and what not to air.
For instance in one case in Mississippi a boy was going from classroom to classroom shooting students. When the assistant principal remembered that he had a gun in his car he ran out and put a chamber in it, only to see the shooter run to his own car. When the boy started to spin out in his car trying to leave the scene the assistant principal ran over to him pointing his gun and told him to get out of the car. He then restrained him until police arrived on the scene. Out of the ABC, CBS, and CNN news programs none of them even mentioned the assistant principals heroics.
Only the local paper, and the next day on one of the evening news programs. So the medias power to cover whatever part of the story they want can potentially alter the facts. Since no one mentioned the assistant principal, everyone was led to believe that a gun was used in a school shooting, but failed to mention that a gun was also used to stop the boy from fleeing. A quote from MRC chairmen Brent Bozell, TV news is no objective referee. It is a partisan player that has chosen sides, the anti-gun, anti-Second Amendment side. This is not the first time the media has failed to mention the use of guns to help stop a crime.
Another indiscreet way the media alters the facts is by using figurative language in their reports. When reporters and opinion writers do quote NRA officials they tend to use terms like claims, whines, or would have us believe. This was taken from a University of Michigan researcher comparing reporting on five groups. The NRA, the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Association of Retired Persons, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and Handgun Control Inc. In comparison to those unfriendly terms quoted from reports about NRA officials, terms such as found, showed, and demonstrated, were used when quoting officials from Handgun Control Inc. The effect Patrick (the Michigan University researcher) says is to make NRA positions appear tentative, while those of other groups come off as undisputed facts.
The other way the media has an effect is by downgrading the NRA when a tragedy happens. If there is an outbreak in gun-related violence, the media has a way of linking it to the NRA. They do this by exploiting pictures of crime scenes, weeping mothers, and memorial sessions and then telling the NRAs opinion on the situation. Or they might contact the NRA and have them comment on a shooting trying to get them to say the wrong thing. The reasoning behind this is to show that the access of weapons can take some of the blame for gun violence.
What they dont do is contact other restrictive gun-control groups and ask them to comment what might have happened if the victims would have had access to a gun. The media should try to look at the storys from both sides, instead of using trickery and antics to try and fool the public.