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Gun Control

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Firearms are dangerous weapons used to intentionally and unintentionally kill people, which lead to one of America�s most heated debates: gun control. With increasing crime and violence, many people look to gun control laws as a way to slow these trends down. On the other hand, others believe that owning a gun is a constitutional right that should never be taken away. James Q. Wilson�s essay �Just Take Away Their Guns� is an attempt to offer a solution to both sides of this argument. He claims that illegal possession of firearms is the problem and that frisking suspicious characters would be a good solution to the debate of gun control. However, random frisking to end illegal gun possession is a violation of privacy and an overbearing task that would be impossible to take on.

First of all, Wilson states that �legal restraints on the lawful purchase of guns will have little effect on the illegal use of guns� (106). However, Wilson fails to neglect that lawbreakers have to get their guns from somewhere. Of course some criminals will steal their firearms, but others look to breaking a different law. Buying guns from an unlicensed dealer gives criminals a feeling of safety. The criminal does not have to worry about being caught with breaking and entering and can also feel safe knowing that there is not a file containing records that says he owns a gun. Federal law limits who can purchase a gun on the basis of age, criminal status, and mental health (Zimring 37), but it does not put a limit on the amount of firearms a person can purchase. Enabling people to buy as many guns as they would like supports the black market. Without any restrictions on gun laws a criminal can buy firearms freely from whoever wants to sell one to him. Forgetting these facts weakens Wilson�s stance that gun control will not be able to help solve the issue of illegal gun possession.

A large setback with Wilson�s plan is the potential for racial profiling. He even recognizes this and says that �young black and Hispanic men will probably be stopped more often than older white Anlgo males or women of any race� (109). Some say that, to cut down on gun violence, it is necessary to target groups, neighborhoods, and races that are more likely to commit these crimes; however it is demeaning and backwards. A good example of how the stop-and-frisk can lead to racial profiling is a case filed...

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... but to go about it in the way Wilson suggests will only hurt the nation. Instilling a random frisk would cause more problems than it would solve. First and most important, Americans� privacy would be at risk. Another point to look at is the large possibility of racial profiling. To come so far in the area of civil rights and adopt Wilson�s plan would be taking a step backward. Also, it would be a travesty for the police to waste their time frisking possible suspects when there is already so much crime for them to be putting a stop to. Wilson fails to realize the problems his plan will cause America. Forgoing the end of illegal gun possession as Wilson proposes is not worth it when one looks at the harms it will create.

Works Cited

Boyd, Herb. �Cops Must Pay.� New York New Amsterdam News. 25 September 2003. 1.

Wilson, James Q. �Just Take Away Their Guns.� The New York Times Magazine March 24, 1994. Rpt in Current Issues and Enduring Questions 7th ed. Sylvan Barnet and Hugo Bedau. Boston; Bedford/St. Martin�s . 2005. 106-109.

Zimring, Franklin E. �Firearms, Violence, and the Potential Impact of Firearms Control.� Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics 32.1(2004): 34-37.
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