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Guns have been an increasingly popularized topic in recent times. This is due to the numerous mass shootings that have occurred, such as the school shooting this year in Florida. On February 14,2018 in Parkland Florida, Nicholas Cruz took the innocent lives of nearly 17 young students. However, many others were injured in this school shooting as well (Saggara, et. al., page 1, para 1-2). Such events caused media overload, where numerous individuals commented on what should have been done, and what must occur in the future to stop such incidents from reoccurring. Although this is amongst the newest shooting, there have been many other gun related incidents happening all throughout the world. The right to bear arms was also another steamy topic of discussion following such events. In America, bearing arms (owning guns) is one of the rights granted to citizens. This is outlined in the second amendment, however, there are certainly restrictions that apply. One of those restrictions being that individuals with severe mental heath cannot obtain a gun. Despite these laws being intact, receiving and owning a gun are quite easy. Nonetheless, the purpose and use of guns has changed drastically in modern times.
There are numerous benefits to owning a gun, which is partly why Americans are enabled to do so. Some of these benefits include protection and hunting. If gun rights are taken away, numerous people will be upset. Although guns are a serious responsibility, and not everyone should be granted this right, guns are falling into the wrong hands, which is why we are seeing repeated problems related to them. It is no surprise that gun ownership should follow several more restrictions that currently present, as many Americans would agree. According to Junior Scholastic (2017): “We lose more than 36,000 Americans to gun violence every year in this country. That’s an average of 99-gun deaths a day. These tragedies range from accidents and suicides to horrific mass shootings like the one at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, last June. No other democracy in the world experiences this level of gun violence. That’s because other free nations have tough gun laws to deal with this problem. It’s estimated that Americans own more than 300 million guns. Guns certainly do not cause crime, but the fact that they are so easily available does make crimes deadlier” (Junior Scholastic, page 1, para. 7-9). As we can conclude from this quote, there are numerous issues with guns in America. Many of these guns are also not legally bough, which most of the issues arise from.
Several efforts must take place so that guns are not completely taken away from civilians, because this would be unethical as well as unconstitutional. Although combating such issues is quite complex in nature, there are certainly numerous steps that the country could take to be safer with their guns. Amongst these ideas, would be restricting the qualifications of gun owning, making sanctions more serious, as well as education. Each of these steps could significantly help decrease issues such as the shooting mentioned above. I heard it once stated, that there are more restrictions to having a bake sale than there are to buy a gun. This is a serious problem when selling baked goods is harder to do than purchasing a gun. Although, there are numerous restrictions to this already, obviously there are not enough. Sanctions for gun owning also must be risen to offer deterrents to the illegal sale of guns. Many individuals are simply selling these guns on the streets to avoid the qualifications above. Sanctions for both parties must be stricter in efforts to combat such issues. And lastly, education on guns and gun violence should be mandatory in all schools throughout the United States. By doing so, I feel that we will see less issues regarding these issues. Being that guns have been around since 1363, and fewer issues occurred historically as opposed to modern times (PBS, page 1, para. 2). We must glance at the past, present, and future of gun use and purpose. By doing so, a clearer picture will appear of these incidents as well as the causation of such.
Debate over when and where the first gun was invented has puzzled historians for numerous years. As discussed above, PBS has pronounced that the first gun was created in the year 1361. However, some historians claim that the first gun was introduced in the 1320 by the Chinese. This first gun was named Chinese Fire Lances. These guns were typically made of either bamboo or metal, which were both major exports of China and readily available to them as well (Harder, page 1, para.3). There are numerous explanations available that explain why China was seen as the first country creating guns. According to Harder (2011): “It all started in China, where gunpowder was first created. In the ninth century, alchemists blended charcoal, saltpeter and sulfur into a powder called huo yao, which was used to treat skin infections [source: Kit Meng]. Armies quickly learned the powder could be used in bombs, mines and other weapons [source: McLean Brevard]. Gunpowder was transported to Europe in the 13th century, likely over the Silk Road trade routes through central Asia. Rival nations refined gunpowder recipes in the ensuing centuries before arriving at the optimum mixture: approximately 75 percent saltpeter, 15 percent charcoal and 10 percent sulfur [source: Nolan]” (Harder, page 1, para. 2). Since China was responsible for the development of gun powder, many historians claim that they were the first to produce guns.
As Harder announces in this article, guns were solely invented for battlefields. More so the afterthought of battlefield that is. Individuals at war wanted more concrete and precise ways of murdering their opponents, and being that China was already in the midst of working out gun powder, they realized that the same mechanics behind bombs would be suitable in a sleeker design- the gun (Harder, page 1, para.1). Gun use then extended to nearly every country throughout the world, making its use quite popular in all territories. Many were pleased with such innovations because they had the ability to launch numerous benefits to people. These new inventions of guns replaced outdated weaponry quite rapidly. This was due to the economical stances more so than anything else. This relies on the fact that to be a skilled swordsman or archer during these times took lifelong devotion. However, only a few weeks to months could make one a skilled gunman. Not to mention, that these other weapons often times left individuals wounded, rather than killed, which brought upon expensive hospital costs, therefore, guns appeared to be the more logical choice in batter for individuals at this time (Harder, page 1, para. 6).
Much of the early development of guns focused on discovering accurate methods of igniting the gun powder, design, and precision of shots fired. Many of us are aware of the term “lock, stock, and barrel”, this was established from the design from firearms. Representing the three early and major components of the gun. As we learned above, the first gun originated sometime in the 1300’s, although an exact date is a mystery. However, by the 1400’s the matchlock was created. This gun was comprised of all three of these components mentioned above lock, stock, and barrel that is. These guns were also referred to as hand cannons and they employed a slow match. What this basically means is that they were equipped with a long slender rope, or sometimes a chord chemically handled, so that when lit it could ignite (Supica, page 1, para 8-10).
As we can see from looking at the past, guns were used primarily for warfare, which is quite like todays times. However, mass shootings were not common during such times, as much so as they are in modern times. Gun’s employ the same purpose in todays times as they did back then, although, numerous advancements have occurred as well since then. There are many more styles of guns, and precision has improved significantly as well. As explained above, we will be analyzing the present status of guns next.
As stated in the introduction, guns are being used in improper ways presently. Which is for mass shootings, as well as numerous accounts of murder as well. Although, the number one use of guns remains military based, we are seeing other weapons beginning to take rise as well. For instance, this year, Trump used missile attacks. In some cases, it is logical to assume that guns were the gateway to more dangerous weaponry. Not only are we seeing issues in war because of these devices, but also in improper use and power of the guns as well. In the year 2017, it was stated that gun-based deaths had increased significantly. Without the inclusion of suicide, there were approximately 15,549-gun related murders in 2017. Not to mention that these were only the ones documented, showcasing, there were more than this figure. In 2016, data reveals that nearly 38,658 deaths (including suicide), were gun related (The Trace, page 1, para.1-3). These numbers are extremely striking. The reason that this is so striking relies on the fact that many efforts have been made to reduce gun related deaths, as well as more efforts have been made to restrict who can purchase guns.
Despite the numerous traumas occurring in America that are gun related, guns are being produced more and more. Especially after mass shootings occur. For instance, after the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting in December of 2012, the number of guns purchased doubled from the following year. Which means that in 2013, nearly 11 million guns were bought in the Unites States alone. Although a majority of these guns remain on U.S. soil, some 400,000 guns were exported in this year alone (Horsley, page 1, para. 4-5). Although no detailed listing of these sales are available to the general public, we must consider where they are going. Many of them are utilized for safety, because as well all know the crime rates are heavily increasing in the United States. Many of these manufactured guns are also bought for hunting and military purposes. However, these overseas sales are highly unaccounted for. As mentioned above, nearly 400,000 guns were exported to numerous countries. These guns could more than likely be the same guns utilized during war. It is quite plausible that these exported guns are killing the same people who made them in war. No financial incentive should ever be that important that guns are sold to other countries. The purpose of guns today has significantly increased to be an export and financial based incentive to the United States.
According to Parson (2012) :“ The bi-partisan Congressional Research Service reports that the US “made $170 billion in arms sales between 2003 and 2010” with Russia not even a close second at $81 billion as the US dominated the international arms market with “$22 billion out of a worldwide total of $40 billion” in 2010” (Parson, page 1, para. 6). The United States is the leader in manufacturing of guns, and many of these guns leave U.S. soil as well. With, we can clearly see that the purpose of guns has drastically changed since they were first invented. Guns are not only having the purpose of keeping United States citizens safe, but other countries as well. I am certain that many individuals would claim that this is unjust, because more than likely these same guns are killing soldiers in battle. In my opinion, countries should create and purchase guns from their homelands and not rely on exported equipment.
Guns use, and purposes have shifted since the 1300’s significantly. And in my opinion, mass shootings could possibly be a cause and effect of these situations. For instance, these shootings have often times been claimed to be organized by the government. Which more than likely could be true, since gun sales rocketed after such instances. However, on the other hand, citizens could just be more frightened from these incidents, and simply want backup. Nonetheless, guns are being used differently than they were back in earlier times.
Although the future is not easy to determine, especially regarding gun use, we can however make hypotheses of the situation. There are several ways that the gun situation in America could go. On one hand, guns could be completely revoked from citizens, and on the other they could remain a Constitutional right. With more and more mass shootings occurring, many individuals have reflected on which action to take. In essence, neither choice is an easy one to make. If guns become prohibited, many individuals will no longer have the safety or sense of it as they do now. According to Ferydouni (2018): The concept of protecting oneself using guns still applies in modern society, along with the concept of government failing to protect its citizens, as seen with local police and the FBI in Parkland not responding how they should have to what was going to be a mass shooting (Ferydouni, page 1, para. 14). As we can see American’s are very dependent on guns for protection, because our governments are shaky, and little trust is given to them to protect us.
Also, if individuals homes are being broken into or they are being physically attacked, it will be more difficult for them to fight back. If the government turns against them, they will have nothing to stop them with. Because, lets face it, guns will not be outlawed for these individuals, just civilians. This is a fear that many Americans have, although some claim this to be paranoia, it is important to consider such situations. On the other hand, if guns are allowed in civilian’s homes, how many more instances of mass murder will conclude? How many more innocent lives will fall to the gun shot. Although the guns do not necessarily claim the lives of many, those behind them do. And since it is becoming easier and easier to purchase guns illegally, these instances are sure to increase in the future. As we can see, the decision is more complex than we could ever imagine. This is true, even though little consideration was taken regarding the murder rate in this country as well. I feel that, if gun violence wants to be combatted, stricter punishments in murder cases must also be taken. For instance, in the United States, if one pleads mentally unstable, they may not receive jail time or the death penalty after taking an innocent life. This is certainly not going to help gun violence in the least.
As we also discussed above the purpose of guns has changed drastically and will only change more in the future. Although military reasons are the number one use of guns in America, other purposes are becoming noticed as well. We see this in the mass shootings, suicides, and exporting of guns as well. None of which were the initial purposes of guns. I feel that this misuse has only a relationship with the present and unfortunately the future as well. In the past, guns were utilized for the purpose of warfare, although, that is not the case today. Guns should never be used as a way to make money, especially in the hands of American enemies. In my opinion, they should also not be used to find peace. Because, in my opinion, peace does not come from killing thousands or millions of people.
If guns were used for their intended purposes, as they were numerous years ago, I feel numerous issues would be resolved. America is making guns a controversial and heated topic in modern times and will more than likely continue to do so in the future. There are various things that the country must chance in order to decrease gun violence throughout its country. Although, guns do offer numerous benefits, individuals are not being responsible with them, and that is why we are having these mass shootings and so forth. Whatever the future holds for guns in America, we must hope that it is brighter than the current situation.
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