Gun Control. Essay Sample
Gun control is highly disputable issue in the United States because many interests are involved on individual, societal levels and systemic levels. In particular, guns are common in the country – 40 percent of Americans informed about possessing guns in their homes in 2009. In addition, many people claim that legislation that restricts firearms violates their constitutional right to carry guns. Moreover, they argue that firearms are able to prevent crime. On the other hand, there are many people and organizations on all levels that demand increased regulation due to the necessity to reduce gun violence (Andrésa & Hempstead 96). Nevertheless, the new legislation was introduced. It differs within the Unites States. The aim of this paper is to investigate the background of Wisconsin Legislature adopted in 2011, individuals and groups involved and reached outcome.
The Wisconsin Legislature voted for allowing residents to carry concealed, loaded weapons in public places in 2011. This act raised many debates on different levels. However, this step can be explained by traditions and culture of the state. First, Wisconsin is proud by its hunting tradition; so many people take their guns to the woods at the weekend. On the other hand, Wisconsin residents are caring people, and they were shocked by cases of gun violence in their state. For example, there was a story when a young man from Crandon killed his ex-girlfriend and her friends in a party. Besides, people were scared by the case in the northwest Wisconsin. The hunter arrived to private land and murdered the landowner and his buddies. Murder of three teenagers in Menominee River also attracted public attention (O’Connell 16-17).
On the individual level, many residents wrote to local communities, demanding to prohibit carrying guns in public buildings. For example, Mayor of Appleton reported that he received many letters from local residents. Wauwatosa officials also informed that they had got 59 emails about forbidding weapons and one against it. Milton Mayor Tom Chesmore was one of these activists. However, he supported carrying guns for a long period of his life, but the accident in Florida changed his point of view. In particular, he watched the video where a man terrorized a Florida school board meeting. As a result, he believes that only police officers have to carry weapons in public buildings. He said, “When you are dealing with the safety of your city, your personal choices have to be put aside. Your decision’s got to be based on the safety of the people in your community” (O’Connell 17).
On the societal level, Jery Bonavia formed group WAVE (Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort), which started distribution signs “No Weapons Allowed”, and local residents began to ask businesses and public officials to remove guns from their offices. The local residents of Wisconsin supported WAVE’s initiative. Thus, a WAVE poll demonstrated that a 3-1 margin state residents would feel more protected without concealed, loaded weapons in the public places. Moreover, editorials from newspapers also supported WAVE’s action (O’Connell 16-17).
On the systemic level, the modern phase of gun control started in 1993 when Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act was voted for. It established a federal requirement to wait about five days before the transfer of weapons to a buyer. This time is used for a background check. The aim of the check is to prohibit purchasing guns for people with a criminal background. However, states have introduced their own regulations that presuppose different time for checking. In addition, at the state level, the character of gun control laws depends on firearm prevalence. Therefore, in the states where there are many gun owners, the gun regulations are less strict. On the other hand, in the states where it is not common among local residents to possess weapons people claim about violation their rights less. Overall, Western and more rural states have a smaller number of gun control regulations and higher amount of gun owners in comparison with more urbanized states in the Northeast. These states also have higher rates of suicide, especially gun suicide (Andrésa & Hempstead 96).
The active position of individuals and groups such as WAVE with its leader Jery Bonavia and regulations on the state level led to changing initial Wisconsin Legislature voted in 2011. In particular, officials banned guns from public buildings where eighty percent of local residents live. In addition to that, officials decided to make people obtain obligatory permits and visit trainings. Besides, it is a significant achievement of groups like WAVE and others that they changed the public opinion about gun control and demonstrated the locals that carrying guns in public can lead to tragic circumstances. However, the negative attitude is not only the result of somebody’s influence. The tragedies in Wisconsin and other states demonstrated that weapons can cause tragedies with many victims. Moreover, this negative attitude that has formed in the state is even more significant due to love of local residents to hunt. Thus, today many public buildings have signs “No Weapons Allowed” (O’Connell 16-17).
Overall, the recent mass murders in Wisconsin and other states have led to more serious attitude to weapons in the society. However, many specialists argue that currents gun control relations are not strict enough. Therefore, officials need to introduce a new system of legislation that would prevent massive killing of people in public places, especially schools because every day 47 children and teenagers are shot in the country (O’Connell 16).
Andrésa , Antonio Rodríguez & Hempstead, Katherine. “Gun Control and Suicide: The Impact of State Firearm Regulations in the United States, 1995–2004.” Health Policy 101.1 (2011): 95-103. Print.
O’Connell, Mary. “The Joyce Foundation Annual Report.” Joyce Foundation. June 2012. Print.