Friday, 28 August 2015

Gun control in America

Gun legislation in the United States is constrained by judicial interpretations of the Constitution. In 1789, the United States adopted the Second Amendment, and in 1868 adopted the Fourteenth Amendment. The effect of those two amendments on gun politics was the subject of landmark U.S. Supreme Court decisions in 2008 and 2010, that upheld the right for individuals to possess guns for self-defence [Wiki].

The public policy debates about gun violence include discussions about firearms deaths. Within the gun politics debate, gun control and gun rights advocates disagree over the role that guns play in crime.

Gun control advocates concerned about high levels of gun violence in the United States look to restrictions on gun ownership as a way to stem the violence and say that increased gun ownership leads to higher levels of crime, suicide and other negative outcomes.

Gun rights groups say that a well-armed citizenry prevents crime and that making civilian ownership of firearms illegal would increase the crime rate by making law-abiding citizens vulnerable to those who choose to disregard the law. They say that more people defend themselves with a gun every year than the police arrest for violent crimes and burglary  and that private citizens legally shoot almost as many criminals as public police officers do.

On 16th January, 2013, in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and other mass shootings, President Barack Obama announced a plan for reducing gun violence in four parts:

closing background check loopholes
banning assault weapons and large capacity magazines
making schools safer
and increasing access to mental health services

The plan included proposals for new laws to be passed by Congress, and a series of executive actions not requiring Congressional approval. No new federal gun control legislation was passed as a result of these proposals. President Obama later stated in a 2015 interview with the BBC that gun control:

“I feel that I've been most frustrated and most stymied it is the fact that the United States of America is the one advanced nation on earth in which we do not have sufficient common-sense, gun-safety laws. Even in the face of repeated mass killings.”

Americans will never give up their guns.

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