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Legal Gun Age, Research Paper Example

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Research Paper

What are the Effects of Gun Purchasing on Age?

Objective

It is necessary to have age restriction on guns.  With age comes maturity, which is why the government has set restrictions on so many different areas.  Drivers need to be 16 years of age, drinkers need to be 21, and smokers need to be 18.  This is based on the estimated age of responsibility to be able to make sound decisions that will not harm themselves or others.  This is just a guide, and does not work for everything.  However, with guns and the dangers associated with them, it is important that the users understand the responsibilities that go along with such power. There are various effects of gun ownership from the ages of 18 through 25, and 26 through 30.  There is also background, culture, and law to consider with purchasing guns. In association with guns, there are also federal laws that supersede state laws.  The current age requirements and background specifications necessary to purchase a gun is necessary for protecting and preventing unnecessary use and even death.

Argument and Evidence

The laws and requirements for firearms are put into place to protect not only the user, but society as well.  “Among American males aged 15-24, the firearm death rate is much higher, skyrocketing to an astonishing 50.9per hundred thousand.” (Center for Disease Control, 1994)

“Keeping firearms out of the hands of dangerous and irresponsible persons is one of, if not the primary goal of the United States gun control policy.” (Gun Control, 1994)  The ages in question, being 18 through 25 and 26 through 30 falls into the highest rates for accidental fatalities in the United States.  This data is relevant to the big picture of the danger associated with the purchase of guns.

Gun laws have variation based on local, state, and federal requirements.  Federal requirements are to supersede all other laws, however it does not always work in that capacity.  Questions about the state-by-state differences in gun laws are getting new attention following the recent attack in a Colorado theater, where a heavily armed man fatally shot 12 people at the midnight opening of “The Dark Knight Rises.”  When tragedy, associated with guns, occurs it draws light to the current standards and regulations, putting them into question immediately.  Were the federal laws followed and could the event that occurred in the Colorado theater been prevented?

A regulation that is needed to be address is the access to background information needed to process the purchase of guns.  “The main drawback to this system is that all police records are not yet available in a nationwide database, making it possible that someone will fall through the cracks. It also does not cover the “secondary” market of private sales at gun shows and flea markets, where guns can be bought without a mandatory waiting period or a background check.” (Gun Control, 2012)

“Guns are additionally regulated by state and local legislation and there is little uniformity among the states.  The variations include: Child Access Prevention Law; Conceal Weapon Law; Regulation of private sales to minors; Regulating all secondary market sales; Ban on “assault” weapons; “One handgun a month” laws; Ban on “Saturday Night Specials” and other “junk guns”; Preemption; and Waiting periods.” (Gun Control Policy, 2009)
“The strongest and most consistent predictors of gun ownership are hunting, being male, being older, higher income, residence in rural areas or small towns, having been reared in such small places, having been reared in the South, and being Protestant. The social origins of Rs consistently predict having firearms, supporting the view that early socialization into gun owning subcultures is important in explaining gun ownership. However, traits like racial prejudice and punitiveness towards criminals are not important. Most gun ownership in the general public is related to outdoor recreation like hunting and its correlates, rather than crime. On the other hand, ownership of handguns may well be linked with fear of crime and prior burglary victimization, though findings are necessarily ambiguous due to questions of causal order – fear could motivate gun acquisition, but having a gun could also reduce the owner’s fear.” (Kleck, 1991)

Trends and Patterns

“Prohibiting the purchase of guns by persons believed to be at high risk for future criminal activity has become a widely accepted violence prevention policy. Some 327 000 persons, 2.6% of those who applied, were denied the purchase of a handgun, rifle, or shotgun in 1999.” (Gifford, Adams, & Lauver, 1999)

Sixty percent of persons incarcerated for gun crimes in the thirteen U.S. states with the most lax standards for legal firearm ownership were not legally prohibited from possessing firearms when they committed the crime that led to their incarceration. According to the study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 31 percent of these gun offenders were old enough to possess a firearm and had no prior disqualifying record. But 29 percent had criminal records or would have been too young to legally possess a firearm in states with the strictest standards for gun ownership.” (Lax Gun Ownership)

According to statistics gathered in 2007 by age group, the majority of accidental fatalities were highest in the age group of 15-24 and 25-34 respectively.  This clearly shows the age effects of gun ownership.

Critical Thematic Evaluation          

“Denial of handgun purchases by felons has been associated with a reduction in their risk of committing new gun and/or violent crimes of approximately 20% to 25%.” (Wright, Wintemute, & Rivara, 1999)

“Scholars Richard Florida and Charlotta Mellander recently studied state-to-state variation in gun homicide levels. They found that firearm deaths are significantly lower in states with stricter gun control legislation. This is backed up by research on local gun control efforts and cross-border gun violence.” (Beauchamp, 2012)

Relevant Literature

“The Gun Control Act of 1968 prohibits the purchase of guns by felons, fugitives, narcotics addicts, persons who have been adjudicated mentally ill, illegal aliens, and certain others; persons younger than 21 years are prohibited from purchasing handguns. Recent amendments have extended the federal prohibition to include persons convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence crimes or subject to domestic violence restraining orders.” (Garen, Wright, Drake, & Beaumont, 2001)                                                      

“In almost every state, the basic handgun legislation, includingboth the prohibition on the carrying of concealed weapons and the restrictions on gun ownership by felons, minors, and incompetents,24 stems from the Uniform Revolver Act, drafted and promoted by the NRA and the now defunct United States Revolver Association in the first three decades of this century.26 However socially desirable these and other controls may be, they raise problems for the individual right interpretation which its proponents have rarely, if ever, attempted to address.” (Kates, 1983)

Statement of the Research Problem

The current age requirements and background specifications necessary to purchase a gun is necessary for protecting and preventing unnecessary use and even death.

“Despite this phenomenon, which is by no means recent, the purchase of a handgun was a relatively simple endeavor until late 1993. Prior to that date, nothing in the federal law prevented an individual from obtaining a gun simply by filling out a form which stated that the potential purchaser was not a felon, ever dishonorably discharged from a branch of the armed services, under indictment, or a fugitive. A purchaser would then be permitted to purchase as many handguns as he or she wished-prior to and without any verification of this information whatsoever.”  (Aborn, 1994)

“The Brady Bill that was passed by the House in 1991required a seven day waiting period before a purchaser could take possession of a handgun. During that period, local law enforcement officials would have the opportunity to conduct a background check to ensure

that federal or state law would not bar that individual from purchasing a gun.” (HR, 1991)

“In 2007, there were 613 fatal firearm accidents in the United States, constituting 0.5% of 123,706 fatal accidents that year” (Dataset)

References

Aborn, Richard M. (1994) The Battle Over the Brady Bill and the Future of Gun Control Advocacy.  Fordham Urban Law Journal, Volume 22, Issue 2 Article 7.

Beauchamp, Zack. (2012) Five Lies The Gun Lobby Tells You.  Retrieved from                                     http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/12/14/1340531/five-lies-the-gun-lobby-tells-you/

Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, Monthly                  Vital Statistics Reports, No. 6, ZML. 18.  (Dec 8, 1994)

Dataset: “20 Leading Causes of Unintentional Injury Deaths, United States”. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, 2007.

Garen J. Wintemute, MD, MPH; Mona A. Wright, MPH; Christiana M. Drake, PhD; James J.    Beaumont, PhD. (2001) Subsequent Criminal Activity Among Violent Misdemeanants Who Seek to Purchase Hand Guns : Risk Factors and Effectiveness of Denying Handgun Purchase. The Journal of the Medical Association, 2001;285(8):1019-1026. doi:10.1001/jama.285.8.1019.

Gifford LS, Adams DB, Lauver G. (1999) Background Checks for Firearm Transfers. Washington, DC: US Dept of Justice; 2000. Document NCJ-180882. Gun Control Act of 1968, 18 U.S.C. 921-922 (1994)

Gun Control. (2012)  Retrieved from http://www.faqs.org/health/topics/9/Gun-control.html

Gun Control Policy Issues. (2009) Retrieved from http://www.newsbatch.com/guncontrol.htm

H.R. 7, 102nd Cong., 1st Sess. (1991).

Kates, Don B. (1983) Handgun Prohibition and the Original Meaning of the Second Amendment.        Michigan Law Review.

Kleck,Gary. Guns and Violence: A Summary of the Field. School of Criminology and Criminal                Justice Florida State University.

“Lax Gun Ownership Laws Could Impact Ability of High-Risk Individuals to Purchase Firearms”.  John Hopkins School of Public Health, 2012.

Lowery, Wesley & Adam Sege. “Mass. Borders are no Barrier to Guns Sold Nearby Guns used in Bay State crimes often originated in nearby states”. Boston Global Insider, 2012.

Wright MA, Wintemute GJ, Rivara FP. (1999) Effectiveness of Denial of Handgun Purchase to           Persons Believed to be at High Risk for Firearm Violence. Am J Public Health. 89:88-90.

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