Custom «Essentials of the U.S. and California Government Policy Paper Guidelines» Essay Paper Sample
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Domestic policy is an aspect that affects the citizens of the USA. It is not the duty of the outside parties to instigate it, but that of the local community. One of such domestic policies is gun control. Statistics show that out of a hundred people in the country, at least 89 residents are gun owners. This rate has seen the USA occupy the leading position among other nations around the world in regard to the number of civilians owning guns. In most countries, guns are supposed to be carried solely by the representatives of law enforcement or the police, as they ensure protection from lawbreakers. The history of gun ownership originated in the colonial period when wealthy Americans owned guns, which they used for hunting and self-defense. California has implemented strict gun control rules to shield its citizens from injuries and fatalities caused by firearms. Gun control has become an issue of discussion due to the increase in mass shootings, homicides, suicides and gun-related violence, hence the need to advocate for improved gun control laws and policies.
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Issues Related to Gun Ownership
It is rather easy to purchase a gun in the USA so that and one can acquire it in firearms dealers which number has immensely increased in the country. Since sellers do no ask questions regarding the purpose of the firearm, an individual can buy a gun and use it to harm others (Squires, 2000). Furthermore, most gun dealers in the country are ignorant of the customer’s identity; therefore, it becomes difficult to trace the use of the gun. The issues involving gun ownership include mass shootings, murder, suicides and gun-related unlawful acts. Thus, gun ownership has become an aspect of concern owing to the increase in gun owners.
The USA has experienced a series of mass shootings, with innocent people and children being targeted in schools, churches, and even playgrounds. The country has continued to see innocent lives being lost due to such unlawful actions. Statistics indicate that there have been 91 mass shootings during this year, meaning that more shootings are going to be witnessed (Couts, 2017). This figure shows that at least ten mass shootings are being experienced in the country every month. According to the statistics, in California, after a mass shooting, the rate of firearm acquisition has risen by 53%, increasing the chances of other similar incidents.
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The rate of suicide with the use of legally purchased guns in the country is alarming. A recent study indicated that nearly 53 Americans commit suicide each day with the use of a gun. In fact, the rate of gun suicide is higher than gun murder in California (U-T Letter Writers, 2017). The existence of gun dealers in one’s neighborhood increases the chances of an individual to commit suicide. Moreover, the presence of guns in a household elevates the rates of suicide in a family. In some cases, suicide is accompanied by mass shootings when a shooter murders a considerable number of people and later kills himself/herself.
The California City Police Department each day has to handle cases of homicides. On the one hand, homicide is categorized as a first-degree murder, which occurs when an individual or a group of people premeditate, plan and organize the murder of one or more people. Motives for the killing can be passion or relationships, vengeance, and hatred (Fox & DeLateur, 2014). Easy acquisition of guns has enabled individuals to plan and commit murders. On the other hand, second-degree murders are killings that were not premeditated. Through individual ownership of guns, the police continue to cope with the bulgy cases of murders.
Apart from the three discussed acts, other cases of gun-related violence include random shots due to neglected guns in a household. In California, children have been the victims of these shots. Moreover, children and teenagers carry guns in schools to show them to their fellow friends, leading to accidental shots. Even though the fatalities or deaths arising from these shootings are unintentional, they happen because families have acquired firearms.
Policy Options to Be Considered
Various individuals have differed on the issue of gun ownership, gun control, and gun rights. All the three categories have the same problem, namely the use of guns to commit crimes and end lives. With regard to gun control policy, it is aimed at making sure that the guns that people purchase are to be used for leisure activities such as hunting or as a means of self-defense and not for criminal offences. In California, strict gun control measures have been implemented. They include completing all gun-related transactions through a gun dealer, meaning that proof of residency must be provided and the purchaser must be in possession of a firearm safety certificate (Hiltzik, 2017). Moreover, the Department of Justice (DOJ) in California must obtain the information on the gun purchaser. Gun ownership in California requires the DOJ to have the fingerprints of the purchasers and the serial number of the weapon they bought. Gun rights are premised on the Second Amendment section relating to the right of citizens to bear arms. Notwithstanding these strict rules, there are different groups of people and politicians who advocate for or oppose the implementation of gun control policies and laws in California.
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Gun control has been proposed by various groups of people who emphasize gun ownership being the primary cause of gun violence in California. Advocates of gun control explain that lives are lost, and a substantial amount of money is spent on the treatment of gun-related wounds. Apparently, allowing law enforcement officers to be the only individuals that carry guns makes people feel safe. It gives them a sense of security because one will not be afraid of his/her spouse, relative, neighbor, friend or any stranger purchasing a gun to use it against them. Moreover, gun control policy makes it possible to track the firearm by the DOJ which ensures that the gun is not used to harm people. These arguments refute the doubts raised by the opponents of gun control on how to prevent cases of guns purchased to cause violence. They state that guns encourage acts of violence and cause an unlawful action to be fatal (Cook & Goss, 2014). On the contrary, according to the advocates of gun control, California will see a decrease in violence and crime if strict and effective laws and policies on gun control are introduced. Furthermore, gun control will prevent the future generation from experiencing and engaging in violence at an early age since they will have no access to firearms (Hiltzik, 2017). Additionally, the advocates continue to enforce the legal aspect of gun control whereby those found illegally owning a gun in California face criminal charges.
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Individuals opposing gun control insist that gun ownership should not be discouraged. The reason is that a gun possession gives a person the assurance of safety since he/she can protect his/her life and those around them with the employment of the firearm. Burglary and other cases of violence with the use of guns have been on the rise so that possessing a weapon can keep one safe. These people insist on the government shielding gun rights to allow individuals to continue purchasing guns (Lott, 2000). Accordingly, they state that victims of gun violence could have avoided death and other injuries if they owned guns. The opponents indicate that violence is being experienced in the society; therefore, it should not be blamed solely on guns. According to a recent survey, 51% of men opposed to gun control, insisting on the need to protect their families from violence and crime, while 38% of women agreed with men and encouraged the government to focus on gun rights instead of gun control. Moreover, the opponents of this policy explain that the introduction of a gun control policy will not change the attitudes and behaviors of the society towards this issue. The strict policies on gun control in California only drive individuals to purchase more guns. As a result, black markets are increasing, and the rate of people illegally purchasing guns is alarming (U-T Letter Writers, 2017). Therefore, they argue that instead of implementing policies and laws on gun control, the society should be taught and aware of when and how to use guns in cases of self-defense.
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A Recommended Course of Action
Gun control policy should be enforced to prevent the high rates of deaths and fatalities as a result of gun shootings. Each year, families lose their breadwinners and young children or incur massive costs on treating a wounded family member involved in a firearm shooting. The government should adopt measures to make sure that the policy on gun control is implemented. One measure that the state of California has introduced is checking the background of gun customers and tracking the use of the firearm. Through background checks, the police and law enforcement agents can ensure that people owning guns will not use firearms to intentionally attack other people (Lott, 2000). Moreover, background checks have prevented the sale of firearms to criminals who may use guns to cause harm to people. Additionally, such measure has allowed the state of California to keep track of the individuals owning guns to make sure that weapons are not used for criminal or violent activities.
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Individuals with mental health issues should not be allowed to own guns in the state. Although there were introduced the strict policies, some gun dealers are greedy for money so that they might sell guns to mentally ill individuals (U-T Letter Writers, 2017). Furthermore, people with personality conditions such as bipolar disorder or depression should not have access to guns because they could use the weapon to end their lives and those of others. Most violent acts involving guns are committed by individuals who have mental issues; therefore, a restriction on the sale of firearms to such categories of people will guarantee gun control.
Citizens of California should also engage in enforcing gun control by discouraging gun dealers from starting their business in their neighborhoods. The accessibility of guns promotes violence in the region since everyone can quickly purchase a firearm. Moreover, citizens should discourage local authorities from giving licenses to firearm dealers in their regions through peaceful protests and demonstrations. They could also write emails to the local authority’s office or offer their handwritten suggestions relating to this issue. Consequently, through these actions residents can discourage teenagers from purchasing guns and reduce gun violence in their regions.
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In conclusion, the ownership of guns in the USA is an alarming issue, as it causes an increase in gun violence. Gun control policy in California should continue to be implemented and enforced, with citizens being taught about the effects of guns to gain their support. Firearms cannot be eradicated at once in California since they have been present and employed for a long time. The introduction of laws against them does not guarantee that people will stop purchasing and using them. By changing the attitudes and behaviors of the citizens towards gun ownership, gun control laws and policies will be successfully integrated into the state.