The Big Bang Debate

This article is not related to the big bang that gave birth to our world. But the issue we discuss is no less important for the future of humankind.

Guns have an important place in America’s history. They were a means of livelihood and protection before the American Revolution stormed in and changed the mode of life completely.

America’s hunting tradition is a remnant from the days before the American Revolution when it had been an agrarian economy. Hunting equipment was a necessity to secure food and to stop predators from eating the farm animals.

These days hunting is a sport and a meaningless tradition that has been continued for its entertainment value instead of fulfilment of a basic need.

Self defense was a necessity then, because before the American Revolution, the government did not have the resources for a full time army.

Bearing this in mind, the second amendment detailing the right to bear arms was adopted in 1791.

With the American Revolution, needs changed and guns were not required for survival. Then came in gun control laws when the need for safety arose. These are laws that regulated the manufacture, sale transfer and possession of guns. Most countries have a strict firearm policy with gun permits provided to only a few who go through rigorous background checks before being provided with one.

In times that call for unity, the US is divided between the right to bear arms as found in the first amendment and the US Constitution which is tasked with the responsibility of providing safety to citizens and unrestricted gun laws can severely cripple the process of establishing safety. The gun rights supporters argue that criminals will always have access to guns with or without laws.

The truth is that the recent spate ofshootings has increased exponentially. Increasingly used for hate crimes and racist agendas, a lack of strict gun control is dissolving the very democratic spirit that America is supposed to stand for. Guns put too much power in the hands of individuals who do not properly realize the consequences or the value of life.

While there are gun laws in place, there is a loophole that is about as useful as a hole in a boat.

So what are the gun laws and what makes it moot?

Selling guns to children or selling guns without a license is illegal.

Possessing a gun, even if not currently loaded is illegal as long as the weapon is capable of discharging bullets.

Convicts, prior convicts or those who are out on parole are not allowed possession of guns.

It is forbidden to have guns when in the vicinity of a school or hospital.

Those who wish to own shotguns and rifles must be at least 18 years of age and 21 years for all other firearms.

Eligible individuals must be subjected to background checks whereupon there are three possible responses. Accept, delay and reject. Delay generally means that further background checks are required to get a license.

With these laws in place, what makes guns so available to all and sundry?

The Gunshow Loophole

It is called the gun show loophole. Anyone can sell a gun from the comforts of their homes, online or at a gun show even without an FFL(Federal Firearms License) as long as it is not a regular business profit oriented activity. A gun may also be purchased for a third party as long as it is a gift. This is how guns end up in the hands of a minor enabling a criminal lawyer to state that the gun has not been obtained illegally.

More guns can only mean more violence. Remember that.

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn’t know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.