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Gun Control And Schools Essay, Research Paper

you recently picked up a newspaper or turned on to see the news you may have

question what is happening in our schools and begin to think whether our schools are

still safe places for children. Recent school shootings have set feared in many parents

about their children s safety in our schools. Since last year number of school shootings

by students have occurred regularly. On Tuesday February 29, 2000 in Mount Morris

Township, Michigan a six-year old boy shot his classmate to death in their first grade

classroom. Police reports show that the two youngsters had an argument the previous

day. A single shot was fired inside the classroom at Buell Elementary School around 10

a.m. The young boy said he brought the gun to school to frighten her but accidentally

fired a shot. “We’ve had other schoolchildren take guns to elementary schools before

but it never went this far with it. “Society refuses to take responsibility by locking up

their armed weapons.” Said by a schoolteacher. Since last year there have been fifteen

different school shootings in which many student have died without any reason. Who

should we blame for this? Should we blame the parents, teachers, schools or our

government?

Before blaming anyone we must hear what two sides of gun control have to say. It is

very wise to debate on a topic that have concerned all of us since last few years

before making our decision. In doing so, we must answer series of questions. Therefore

our group has come up with some questions to which we will try to tackle. Since this is

a debate paper we have try to present both side of the issue through our answers.

Very first question that arise in peoples minds after witnessing the horrible tragedies is

should we have more gun control laws? Many of us differ on this issue. We have found

lots of argument on this question. Proponents of gun more gun control laws feared that

until stronger gun control measures are taken there will be future tragedies like horrors

that took place at schools all over US. Over 76% of Americans favored more gun

control laws (LA TIMES). On the other side people who are against more gun control

laws argue that issue of guns is not really the problem. They say more gun control laws

wouldn t prevent future tragedies because people who are intended to harm people are

less likely to obey them. Opponent of stronger gun control laws also believe that

government laws on how to store guns and laws banning certain types of firearms deny

the fundamental right of self- defense and violate the Second Amendment.

Another serious question arise when talking about gun control is should adults be held

criminally responsible for their children actions? Few Americans including our president

agree we should hold adults responsible, but over 70% of Americans believe that adults

should not be held responsible for their children s action. The uncle of the six-year old

student who shot his classmate was arrested following the shootings. Should the uncle

be held responsible for the action he didn t take? And how about the child, should we

charge a six year old student as an adult? Also what causes these students to gun

down their classmates? What stressor contributing to these shootings? And what are

right steps we should take to prevent the future tragedies?

Our group explores these questions in an effort to make sense of what appear to be

senseless and avoidable crimes. We have tried to examine gun violence in schools

through the lens of the recent school shootings and explores the role and responsibility

of parents, teacher and society as a whole in combating this frightening scourge. We

have also created a skit in which each member of our group has taken part of someone

and has debated on this issue.

Opponents think that stricter gun control laws will not work or stop the violence in the

school. School violence is a hard thing to take control of. Gun control laws will not help

to make our schools safer. The gun control laws might help some people to feel better

and safe but it will not stop the person who intends to hurt someone. According to the

Wall Street Journal, nationwide there are more than 20,000 gun control laws that

regulate everything from who can own a gun, background checks on people wanting to

own a gun, where it is been purchased, etc. The Clinton administration has created

stricter gun control laws, which will increase school safety, but the question is will

these laws ultimately save the lives of the children in school? Guns are more available

today than they were in the 1970 s and 1980 s and at that time school shootings were

not prevalent as it is today. According to the magazine NEA today, the guns do not

create violence in schools, the kids with an attitude towards violence is the major

problem. Today, the attitude and violence mix together in the mind of the teenagers.

Even if we put a slash on guns than there are other weapons that can kill and more

readily available than guns, that can create violence in the schools. As for example, a

student with a knife could kill several people before being disarmed. Bomb-making

materials are readily available in stores and information on making bombs is plentiful on

the Internet. A student who intends to kill innocent people will find a way to do that

violent act even though he or she does not have the access to guns.

According to John R. Lott, the professor in law and economics at the University of

Chicago Law School states that gun availability has never before been as restricted as

it is now. In 1960 s and 1970 s, it was possible for the 13 year old to buy a rifle from

hardware store anywhere in the U.S. Rifle were mailed to anybody who wanted to buy

one. It is also a fact that until 1969, the public high schools in New-York City had a

shooting club. The students used to bring guns to the school and turned them over to

their homeroom teacher or to their coach and retrieve the guns after the school for

target practice. The students who were on the rifle team regularly compete in wide

shooting contests in New-York City. The most surprising part is that the students who

were good at shooting contests were awarded university scholarships. Furthermore, the

best-illustrated part for not having gun control laws is from Virginia. The high-school

students in rural areas have a long tradition of going hunting in the morning. The state

legislative has failed to enact an exemption to a federal law banning guns within 1,000

feet of a school. They ultimately failed because students often bring guns to the school

by putting them in the trunk of their vehicle. It was crazy to send a good student to

the prison because he brought the gun to the school.

Furthermore, potential victims use guns more than two million times a year to stop

violent crimes: 98% of the time simply brandishing a gun is sufficient to stop an attack.

Crimes are stopped with guns about five times as frequently as crimes are committed

with guns. In addition to this, not one academic study has shown that waiting periods

and background checks have reduced crime or youth violence. Therefore, disarming

potential victims (those likely to obey the gun laws) relative to criminals (those who

almost by definition will not obey such laws) makes crime more attractive and more

likely. Mechanical locks that fit either into a gun s barrel or over its trigger requires the

gun to be unloaded; and locked, unloaded guns offer far less protection from intruders.

The requirements of locks on guns would surely increase deaths resulting from crime.

Switzerland has more firepower per person than any other country in the world said by

author Steven Halbrook. He also added that Switzerland is still one of the safest places

to live. Switzerland has a lower homicide and robbery rate than United States, which

has strict gun control laws. Yet, there have no school massacres in Switzerland where

kids and guns mix freely. In our country there are 20,000 gun laws already on the books

and still we don t have the answer whether this gun control laws has caused the

existing gun violence problem. Well, good intentions don t necessarily make good laws.

What counts is whether the laws will ultimately save lives. Thus, Guns, clearly, are not

the real problem. The strict gun control laws might help make a school safer but there

is no evidence that shows that by putting restriction on guns the violence in the school

has decreased. The gun control laws have noticeably reduced gun ownership but the

result is opposite that each 1% reduction in gun ownership there is a 3% increase in

violent crime. The bottom line is that guns do not kill people but criminals do and gun

control laws do not control guns but they control law-obeying citizens.

The Second Amendment gives citizens the “right to bear arms.” Proponent believed that

it should have read, “Only adults who meet the requirements may possess firearms,” but

instead it means once you are born you can purchase a gun and take anyone’s life. Too

many shootings have occurred over the years and the numbers will continue to grow

unless we as righteous citizens put a stop to it. Many liberals believe that we need gun

control because to many innocent people are dying. No one has the right to take a life

away from anyone. Once that person is gone there is no way to bring them back.

Tragedies will occur but we can try to prevent a few of them from occurring by

enforcing gun control laws Different factors contribute to violence in our schools. Kids

commit crimes for many different reasons. Some see it on T.V. and want to imitate

them. Others do it for attention. Some do it out of anger and just don’t care to think

about the consequences. We need strict gun control laws to help prevent some of

these teens from making the biggest mistake of their life. Unqualified citizens and kids

have easy access to firearms. I can log on to Internet right now and purchase a gun

without being asked any questions. The Brady Law was created to prevent some

criminals from purchasing deadly weapons. The Brady Law gives a background check. It

asks for your residence, prior criminal convictions, age and employment. There is also a

ten-day waiting period. Those who need the gun right away just say forget. Many don’t

even try to purchase a gun because they are afraid of what will be found out when the

background check is done. When the Brady Law was created our murder rate fell by

11.6%. Since 1989 twenty seven thousand were arrested when trying to purchase a

gun due to the background check. The Brady Law is helpful yet no one tries to enforce

it. This law continues to be ignored. Kids can get their little paws on a gun without any

hassle. There are several loopholes that give children easy access. Parents are not

required to keep loaded firearms out of reach of children. Parents should lock up their

firearms. Many times children think that their parent s gun is a toy gun and they end up

injuring themselves or others. Private gun owners can sell guns without background

checks at gun shows and flea markets. They do not need to keep records of whom

they have sold to. This creates a big problem when a gun has been found at a murder

scene. The Law Enforcement is unable to trace the gun back to the owner. It then

becomes harder to find the murderer. Gun manufacturers and stores are not required to

lock up their guns when the factory or stories closed. Thousands of guns are stolen

from stores every year. If a person needs a gun bad enough nothing will stop him from

stealing one but if he knew that they were locked up he would not even try because he

would not succeed. Gun manufacturers are not required to make guns that are safer

and less accessible to children and unauthorized users. They have the ability and

technology to produce these guns but refuse to produce them. It is inexpensive to

create combination locks. In most states, juveniles of any age can purchase assault

weapons. Most kids do not have the capability, maturity and responsibility to handle a

gun. Children play with them like toys and don’t understand the consequences. Many

believe in personalizing guns, trigger locks, more security for schools. Children without

access to their parents’ firearms or illegal guns will be less likely to commit violent acts

at school. Guns do kill people according to LA Times, 800 Americans old and young die

each year from gun shot by children under nineteen. Another, even stranger

phenomenon is the rapid growth of armed violence in schools. It is becoming more and

more frequent to find loaded guns at elementary schools. Los Angeles has 300-armed

police officers permanently assigned to schools, and a growing number of schools have

metal detectors at their doors.

Law enforcement officials are more alarmed then ever about the threats that children

and their teachers face in learning institutions. Many troubled adolescents decide to

shatter their own life along with those who are their classmates by coming to school

with loaded guns and opening fire. These students involve themselves in such acts for

many different reasons. A fifteen-year boy wounded six schoolmates over a breakup

with his girlfriend. This incident occurred at an all American suburban high school where

no one would have thought such a thing was possible. “He’s not one of those trench

coat types,” Brandon Bailey, a seventeen year old said. You do not have to be a

certain type to go out and harm someone. Many do such a deed out of anger. “You tell

yourself this kind of thing could never happen here, but you know in your heart that’s

not true anymore,” commented a student. A gun can kill so many people so fast. In

1998 nine thousand handgun murders occurred in America. A gun should be treated like

a vehicle. A person should need a license just to hold a gun and fingerprints should be

taken. We all know that if a person really wanted to harm someone they would use

something other then a gun. Just remember that a knife cannot conduct a drive by

shooting only a gun can. A person can kill twice as many people with a firearm in just a

matter of time. In order to use a knife a person must put a lot more energy into it and

can only get to so many.

Gun control in schools is a controversial issue in the United States. It has recently

become a major issue because of all the school shootings. On one side of the issue, the

proponents want zero tolerance. The proponents believe that stricter laws and

regulations are needed to ensure the safety of students and faculty members. Laws

and regulations, such as locker inspections, more security guards on and off campus,

students must carry see through bags, metal detectors, and criminal charges against

the student their parents when a gun is misused. Some believe that children who go on

shooting rampages should be tried as an adult. Another solution proponents proposed

were new technology devices such as trigger locks and personalized guns.

Opponents of gun control in schools believe that stricter laws and regulations are

unnecessary. They believe that children will commit crimes regardless if they have a

gun or not. They say that it s not the gun that pulls the trigger, but the person behind

the gun that does. If a child can t use a gun, then he ll use a knife or any other

weapon. Opponents to gun control in school believe that adding stricter regulations and

laws would cost too much money. Regulations and laws would just raise taxes. They

argue that money shouldn t be spent on gun control in school, but on educational

programs, school supplies, computers, new technology, teachers, and renovations.

In the past two years in the United States there has been an unprecedented amount of

devastating shootings and murders in schools. The unbelievable rate of school

shootings amongst children has caused a major concern amongst teachers, students,

authorities, and the whole society. From Colorado to Arkansas, to the most recent in

Mount Morris Township, Michigan, has caused an outcry from society to make drastic

changes in order to protect the children of the future, and anyone else who might get

involved. Schools used to be envisioned as a safe environment, where you were free to

learn and have fun without any worries. But now in the present time when you think

about school you envision fear, school shootings and violence.

As a group we came up with some solutions concerning gun control in schools. We all

agree that recently school shootings have become a major issue. And we feel in order

to help prevent on going future tragedies certain laws and regulations need to be

added. First of all we believe that it should be required that students take educational

classes on gun control and prevention in school. Second, we believe all schools should

have metal detectors, allowed no lockers, and add more security guards on and off the

campus. When a student gets caught with a gun in school we believe he/she should be

suspended for a week. To be reinstated the student must be forced to undergo

counseling and take extra classes in gun safety and prevention. When a student fires a

gun in or outside of school, we believe they should be tried as an adult. Criminal

charges should also be implemented to the owner of the gun which the child has

obtained access to.

School shootings have been occurring at an unbelievable rate. The big question is why

has it there been numerous amounts of shootings these past two to three years? There

many factors out there that contributes to the problem. Kids see violence on television

everyday. They see it in movies, the news, and TV shows. The media has glorified

violence. Another contributing factor is parental guidance. Plenty of children are left

unsupervised, free to make decisions by themselves. While the parents are out working

eight to twelve hours a day, the child is left alone to do as they please. Guns are very

easily obtainable nowadays. You can buy them off the streets or even on the Internet

with no questions asked. Parental guidance and media control is a necessity if we want

to see some changes. Children at young ages are very easily influenced. Parents need

to monitor what their children are watching on the television and need to be involved

with their lives and interests. They need to keep their children involved with sports and

clubs. Parents need to teach their children how to handle certain situations. Situations

such as, dealing with a bully, controlling your anger, and all other hostile situations a

young child could encounter. Until all the underlying factors are somehow controlled,

guns will still be found in schools.

Work cited

Halbrook, Steven. Are Guns Really The Problem? Economist. 12/12/99.

Ebsco host. Cerritos College, Norwalk, CA. Feb. 1999. (http://www.epnet.com).

Johnson, Greg. Aim at Guns. Los Angeles Times. March 29, 1999: A13.

Lott, John R. Gun Laws Can Be Dangerous, Too. Wall Street Journal. May 12, 1999: A42.

Lott, John R. More Gun Controls? They Haven t Worked in the Past. Wall Street Journal.

September 25, 1999: A 41.

Pressley, Sue. Six Wounded in Ga. School Shootings. Washington Post. May 21, 1999: A1.

Sowell, Thomas. Chicago Study More Guns, Less Crime Is Right On the Mark. Enterprise.

8/30/99. Ebsco host. Cerritos College Norwalk, CA. Feb. 1999 (http://www.epnet.com


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