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Discussion Starter #1
I am writing this paper for my senior socilogy class. Thanks for reading it. Criticize it if you must but if you burglarize my home, prepare to walk out with your head! :)
Matt Fochs
Sociology Report
Gun Control in America and its Effect on Society
3 May 2003

Gun control in America is an interesting topic because for no other cause are there more than 10,000 laws written on it. For no other topic are more than 1000 bills considered by federal, state, and local legislatures every session. I would like to note that as a certified Montana Hunter Safety Education Instructor, hunter, vivid outdoorsman, and pro gun that this report will be written with a significant amount of bias, but not without at least looking at the other anti gun issues and controversies. I think that gun control has become out of hand to say the least. There are so many laws that deal with bans but are rarely enforced. The National Rifle Association is one of the largest lobbying groups in America and stands up to protect the Second Amendment guarantee for nearly 40% of Americans, a number that continues to grow. Why would this number be growing. Prisons in our country are becoming severely over capacitated to a point where convicted murderers are being released after serving only a few years for their terrible crimes. Rapists, thieves, arsonists, and those that have committed crimes against children are being released after a short term prison sentence, only to get out there and make people scared for their lives and safety, and for the protection of their children. Law abiding citizens are becoming armed. Enrollment in education and safety programs continues to rise at a startling rate. Instructors are in short supply and they are asked every year to help teach more classes, 99% of them are unpaid and do this out of the kindness of themselves. There is large demand for these upstanding citizens in their communities. Citizens are becoming armed because of the rising crime rate that has taxed local police forces. The imminent danger of gangs in certain large urbanite cities strikes a chord of fear in hundreds of thousands of citizens. In certain areas gunfire by gangs fills the nighttime air and has become commonplace. I don’t agree with the argument by anti gunners that if we had no guns that there would be no crime. In the country of Australia crime has risen more than 10%. That was in a country where crime was formerly non extant. In New York City where it is impossible for citizens to own handguns, crime has also risen dramatically. In Canada where a plan to register all guns is dying a slow horribly planned death because in two years they can not decide which plan to go with that has led to billions of dollars lost due to mismanagement and constantly changing laws and a sad display of ethics by the registration officials. Many anti gunners state that the United States has the highest crime rate, that figure includes misdemeanors and traffic violations. The country with the highest felony crime rate is Colombia, followed closely by Mexico. Murders in these countries exceed 29 and 24 per 100,000 respectively. Citizens in these countries are far to poor to afford any kind of self defense weapon. Foreigners are often the victims because they are nearly guaranteed to be unarmed. It would be fairly easy to write a thick book on all the studies that have been compiled on the effects of gun control in the world. It would be easy to blame a particular age, gender, or even race. As far as gender goes, males are most often the victim and criminal, for race blacks are the largest percentage, and for age, the group age 15-24 is the largest involved in violent activities. Even more startling is the percentage of repeat criminals. “It is estimated that in New York City alone, some thirteen thousand convicted killers are on parole on any given day. A quarter of the criminals who kill police are on probation or parole. In any given year, fifteen or more police officers will pay with their lives for the criminal justice system’s leniency toward convicted felons.” “James Wootton, president of the Safe Streets Alliance in Washington, D.C., prepared an analysis of recidivism among violent criminals. He cited a three-year follow-up study conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics of 108,850 state prisoners released in 1983 from institutions in eleven states. It fond that 60 percent of violent offenders were rearrested for a felony or serious misdemeanor and that 42 percent of all violent offenders released were reincarcerated. Altogether, the study revealed that these felons had been arrested for 14,467 homicides, 7,073 kidnappings, 23,174 rapes or sexual assaults, 101,226 robberies, and 107,130 assaults.’’(125)
Concealed carry laws are important for our citizens to protect themselves against criminals that know that the police do not respond quickly enough to save lives or even be caught. “In many states, legislators have been told that a vote for carrying a concealed firearm is a vote against law enforcement. Why? And what of these other questions: Why would law enforcement officials position themselves against the people they supposed to serve? Why are they afraid of law abiding people carrying firearms to protect themselves and their families? Why do they try to wedge themselves between legislators and the people they were elected to represent? Why do law enforcement administrators lobby against the needs, the rights, and the protection of the people? This is not a law enforcement issue; this is a fundamental human rights issue. Law abiding people carrying firearms have never been a threat to law enforcement; and there is overwhelming evidence to support the positive results of carrying concealed firearms.” (32) The state of Florida is an excellent example of concealed carry success. Florida revised its concealed carry laws in 1987. “Florida’s homicide rate dropped from 37 percent above the national average to 3 percent below the national average after the state changed its concealed carry law in 1987. In 1987, Florida’s murder rate was 11.4 per 100,000 compared with a national rate of 8.2. In 1993 it dropped to 8.7 versus 9.3 in the nation. Between 1987 and 1992, rape increased nationally by 14.4 percent. But in Florida it only increased 2.9 percent and in 1993 rape in Florida decreased .2 percent. Florida’s property crime is also falling. In 1992, property crimes were 4.7 percent below their 1980 level. Florida’s overall crime rate in 1993 dropped 1 percent.” (33)
Waiting periods are attempted by anti gunners that believe that this will curb the intentions of would be killers. “John Hinckley could not have been stopped by a waiting period. In addition to the gun he used in the assassination attempt, Hinckley had bought a handgun in California with no problem, despite the fifteen-day waiting period. No waiting period ever devised would have stopped Hinckley. But passage of a law demanding a waiting period would only be a ‘symbolic victory’ that would lay the groundwork for a massive government intrusion into the lives of ordinary, decent Americans. John Hinckley purchased the gun he used in the assassination attempt nearly six months before he shot the president and James Brady. He purchased a .22 caliber revolver on October 13, 1980, from a Dallas, Texas, pawn shop. It was a lawful purchase. He had no felony convictions and no adjudications or record of commitment for mental illnesses or incompetence.” (41-42) “In 1940, the imposition of a forty eight hour waiting period on handguns took effect in California. Touted as a “crime control” measure, it failed to control crime, so in 1958, legislation increased the wait three days. More failure. In 1965, they increased it again, this time from three to five days. Still more failure. The state legislature upped it to fifteen days in 1976- longer than any other state- but California’s crime rate continued to soar, and finally, in 1990, the waiting period was expanded to cover all handguns, rifles, and shotguns, and all transfers, including private transfers between family members.”(43)
By comparison cars are available to most anyone provided they are of an appropriate age and have a license to drive, similar to what the anti-gunners want. “More than 70 percent of all felony crimes involve the use of a motor vehicle.’ That finding, highlighted in legislation (HB-2171) dealing with motor vehicles in Florida’s legislature in 1994, could have terrible consequences. Using the logic of gun prohibitionists, shouldn’t lawmakers consider banning the following motor vehicles? Black BMW’s (assault cars) - are the vehicles of choice of drug dealers with their menacing looks and dark tinted windows that hinder law enforcement visual searches. Sports Cars (machine racers)- with speedometers that register 100 or more miles per hour are designed to exceed the speed limit- nobody needs to go that fast except to ‘out-car’ police. Compact cars (SNS- small nifty size) are small, inexpensive, and easy to park out of sight of police. Vans (high capacity vehicles) are able to hold large numbers of people and frequently are used by soccer moms for drive by shootings. In fact these are the accidental death statistics from 1910 to 1990, the first number is motor vehicles and the second number is firearms. 1910- 1900, 1900; 1920- 12,500, 2700; 1930- 32,900, 3200; 1940- 34,501, 2375; 1950- 34,763, 2174; 1960- 38,137, 2334; 1970- 54,533, 2406; 1980- 53,172, 1955; 1990- 46,800, 1400.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Children and guns is an extremely important issue because of the recent increase in children becoming the victims and criminals that plague America. “On a frosty night just before Christmas in 1990, 15-year-old Kenneth Johnson shot Edward Taylor, a cab driver who wouldn’t hand over his money, in Northwest Detroit. Taylor43, a decorated Vietnam veteran, died in the emergency room. Johnson was tried as an adult and convicted of murder. But rather than sentence him to life in prison, the judge sent Johnson to a juvenile facility. Less than two years later he was back on the street.”(74) Many anti gunners would like to see that parents be sent to prison if their child uses a gun, yet every state already has laws that punish parents for accidents that are caused by negligence.
Finally in an attempt to see if America is too free. We are surrounded everyday with things that are guaranteed to us by the constitution, such as reading this paper, reading a newspaper, listening to the radio on your way to work, getting an opportunity to work at a job that you choose, and many others that are so prevalent. “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” That is the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. “A common claim of the anti-gun lobby is that the Founding Fathers never meant that individuals should be armed; they only intended for the Second Amendment to apply to a militia, such as the National Guard. These self-proclaimed interpreters of the Constitution also ignore the Second Amendment’s specific reference to “the right of the people.” The fact that the “rights of the people” appears in the Fourth, Ninth and Tenth Amendments as well- and that courts have ruled repeatedly that these rights belong to individuals- matters little to them.”(3-4) George Mason, the subsequent co-author of the Second Amendment said “To disarm the people [is] the best and most effectual way to enslave them.”(5) “Our Founding Fathers clearly understood that, once armed, Americans would defend their freedoms to the last breath.”(6)
Finally I would like to note that as a law-abiding citizen of this country where I have no criminal convictions, that I was denied the ability to purchase a firearm by the newest form of governmental control called the NICS or instant background check. I do not believe that this can be effective to stop criminals if it does not serve the best intentions of the people. I can not agree with a system that is so poorly managed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The FBI is the sorriest excuse for a law enforcement agency that this country has ever seen. There is no excuse for their terrible tack record of carrying out the law.
 

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Very well written! You might want to send a copy to the NRA. Think it would make an excellent insert in the Rifleman.
Paul
 

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mattsbox99 - forget the N.R.A. send it to the White House and hope it helps to make George W change his mind about the assault weapons ban... Very good paper!.. CEJ
 

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Instructors are in short supply and they are asked every year to help teach more classes, 99% of them are unpaid and do this out of the kindness of themselves.
Did you cite your source for this in the footnotes of the paper Matt? Statistics, especially one claiming something as high as 99% are sure to be questioned and being able to back it up with facts will only help your position (and your grade).
 

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Matt,

Great paper. I liked your content, and the information you put forth.
I do have what I hope is a constructive criticism. Before submitting your paper, get with someone well versed in English written grammer and spelling.
I am far from a grammer expert but I think a little polishing and editing would go a long way toward making your point.

J Miller
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I get my statistic about the hunter ed instructors because I am one. I got it from an IHEA publication. I handed the paper in already and gave my oral report and I got a 465 out 500. My speaker was an NRA member. thanks for ereading it.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
“To disarm the people [is] the best and most effectual way to enslave them.”(5) “Our Founding Fathers clearly understood that, once armed, Americans would defend their freedoms to the last breath.”(6)

Thats my favorite line!!!
 

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mattsbox99
Great paper!! So what kind of feedback did you get from rest of the class-Was your paper debated? :D Look forward to the day we see Dr. mattsbox99 on the tube telling these anti -gunners they are full of you know what!!!:D :cool: :D
 

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It'll be Dr. mattsbox99 someday but it won't be on sociology or medical but as a wildlife biologist. I live in Montana so there weren't a lot of people that disagreed with me to begin with and only one person debated about the legislation part, and how totally illegal it is. Any form of gun control is illegal, one law is just a little then it grows. I guess you guys know already.
 

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Good paper. Assume you want constructive criticism, not just praise.
Recommend you take out personal references. The third and fourth sentences could go. Telling a liberal that you are a firearms instructor and that you applied for a carry permit is unlikely to make that liberal respect you more because of your experiences. They are more likely to tune you out as being a gun nut. Try to write from a more objective position. Try to eliminate the word "I" whenever possible.
 

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Over what time period did crime go up in NY ? By how much ? How was it measured ? If gun laws did not change, then how could an increase in crime be attributable to gun laws ? If crime went up in Australia after imposition of gun ownership restrictions, but crime also went up in NY while NY had no change in gun ownership laws, then maybe the crime increase in both places was not the result of gun laws. Be careful of how you present factual information. The facts you cite could be used to argue against your premise that gun ownership restrictions lead to an increase in crime.
I assume your paper will be divided into paragraphs to make it easier to read.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Yes my paper was divided up into paragraphs and I changed some stuff too. I got a 465/500 on it. New York City had been slowly changing their laws and crime went up at about the same rate as compared to the law changes. In Australia the legislature changed their stance on gun control pretty much from one incident, however ther had been a buildup of incidents in the past few years that also contributed.
 
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