The debate over one’s right to own firearms has emerged as one of the most contentious issues in America. Even though the debate has been getting significant media coverage in recent years, also due to a series of unfortunate public shooting tragedies, it is not really new. In fact, it is almost as old as the nation itself and arguably began on December 21, 1791 with the addition of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Second Amendment states, “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.” . Even though I personally support some form of state regulation of firearms, the State of California has gone too far and may even be guilty of infringing upon rights of its residents guaranteed to them by the Second Amendment. California should reduce the scope of its firearm laws because it may not only increase state’s appeal to outsiders but will also help reduce crime rate.
It is reasonable to claim California leads the fight against the Second Amendment; being the state with the strictest gun control laws in the nation including ban on assault weapons, though firearm laws vary from county to county. While it is illegal to transport a firearm in Los Angeles County, one can transport a firearm in Ventura County for as long as the weapon is secured in a locked container and the magazine is in a different part of the vehicle. These laws only create confusion and make it quite likely for responsible citizens to run afoul of the law. Just like a country, a state should have uniform laws so that not only it is convenient for residents to understand and comply with laws but enforcement is also efficient and cost-effective. Similarly, law does allow an individual, property owner, or business owner to bear arms but only those on the approved list . This limits state residents’ ability to defend themselves and their property against multiple threats because among other restrictions including gun type, magazine capacity is limited to 8 rounds. These restrictions sometimes kill the purpose of bearing firearms if a resident can only defend himself/herself to a certain degree no matter what the magnitude of threat maybe.
California has banned many assault weapons like AK47, SKS, and UZI that are legal in most states though modified versions could be acquired in the state. One may reasonably assume that if bans on assault weapons really worked, most states would have followed California’s suit but we observe that is not the case. Once again California is guilty of infringing upon the constitutional rights of its citizens that residents of other states enjoy. Access to constitutional rights play huge role in the average quality of life standards and narrowing the scope of firearm laws would significantly increase California’s appeal to outsiders.
One could be blamed for opposing California’s firearm laws if they were working but that has not been the case. Since the weapons ban in the mid-1990s, California’s murder rate by guns has not diminished and in 2012 alone, there were 1,879 weapons-related deaths. California had the highest number of murders in the US as well as the most number of murders by firearms at 1,304 . It is apparent that California’s firearms laws, the strictest in the nation, have failed and alternative approaches to regulations should be attempted.
Most gun owners in California are responsible and abide by state laws and it is unfair to punish the majority for the crimes of a small minority. The crime statistics show strict firearms laws do not work, thus, alternative and more practical approaches are needed that may not only work but also protect Second Amendment Rights of the residents of the state.
- California Department of Justice. (2013). California Firearms Laws Summary. Retrieved March 25, 2014, from http://www.icso.org
- Chalabi, M. (2013, September 17). Gun crime statistics by US state. Retrieved March 25, 2014, from http://www.theguardian.com
- The National Archives. (n.d.). Bill of Rights. Retrieved March 25, 2014, from http://www.archives.gov
- Turners Outdoorsman. (2014, March 21-27). Turner’s Weekly Ad. Retrieved March 25, 2014, from http://www.turners.com