Handgun Control in the United States


Outline

Thesis: Handguns should be outlawed with the exception of law enforcement
purposes.

I. Why Not Real Gun Control?
A. Handguns are too easily accessible to America's youth.

II. Kids: A Deadly Force.
A. Kids are killing each other all across America.

III. A Look At The Brady Bill

IV. The Economics of Crime.
A. Americans are spending too much money each year to protect
themselves.

V. Charts and Figures.
A. Where Americans are spending all their money on protection.


Handguns should be outlawed in the United States with the exception of
law enforcement purposes. Two weeks before Christmas Day, 1987, 17 year-old
Kendall Merriweather was shot and killed a few blocks from his high school in
southeast Washington, D.C. Police arrested two teenage students who they
believe killed Merriweather while trying to steal his "boom box" radio. A few
days earlier, in Pasadena, Texas, a 14-year-old eight grader at Deepwater Junior
High School whipped a snub-nosed .38 out of his jacket and held the assistant
principal hostage for two hours. Police said the boy was distraught over his
parents' recent separation. (Stanza 19) These were not isolated incidents. All
across America, the number of kids using- and being harmed by-guns is rising at
an alarming rate. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, more than 27,000
youths between 12 and 15 were handgun victims in 1985, up from an average of
16,500 for each of the previous years (Stanza 19). The increase in gun use
often stems from urban crack trade. Many crack gangs have more firepower than
a small police department. Whatever the cause, authorities are finding the use
of handguns by youngsters an extremely diff-icult trend to stop ( Stanza 19).
As long as pistols are as easily accessible as candy, people of all ages will
continue to be on both ends of the barrel.

Kids in America have reached a new level of criminal violence that seems
linked to the nation's ever-expanding arsenal of handguns. Guns are everywhere,
and they are being used in increasingly horrific ways (Morganthau 33).
According to Thomas Morganthau, author of Why Not Real Gun Controll?, in America,
firearms kill more people between the ages of 15 and 24 than do all natural
causes combined. According to a survey taken in 1993, gun deaths, including
suicides, now total more than 37,000 a year, and handgun homicides have reached
13,000 a year.

The big question that everyone is asking now, is "What should we do about
this?". The answer outraged voters say in poll after poll, is to pass more
restrictive laws to control handguns. This mood is moving a reluctant Congress
toward renewed consideration of the Brady Bill, named after Jim Brady, who was
permanently disabled in John Hickney's attempt to assassin-ate Ronald Regan in
1981 ( Morganthau 33). The Brady Bill is a common sensical and an ad-mittedly
modest attempt to impose a five-day waiting period for the purchase of handguns,
and to require local police agencies to make a "reasonable" effort to ensure
that the buyer does not have a criminal record (Morganthau 34). But the bill
rests on a largely unsupported assumption that the combination of a waiting
period and police background checks will somehow reduce handgun crime. There
is no real proof of this, because of the simple fact that background checks
cannot catch crime-minded "wanna-be's" who do not have records yet (Morganthau
34). Handgun Control Inc., the lobbying group that is the prime backer for the
Brady bill, contends that the bill will work and that it is only a first step
toward a "sensible" national gun-control policy that need not include an
outright ban on handguns or some form of licensing for gun owners (Morganthau
34). The real problem, according to President Bill Clinton, is handguns, which
are easily concealed and widely available on the street. But no one thinks
Congress will be able to conquer its fear of the National Rifle Association to
do anything much about limiting handgun sales any time soon. And that, in all
probability, means America's tragic obsession with lethal weaponry will
continue for years to come ( Morganthau 34).

The cost of crime in America is adding up at a surprisingly quick rate.
Americans are scared. The fear of crime permeates their lives. They worry
about being raped or mugged in parking lots at gunpoint. A high percentage of
these muggers and rapists are kids who get their hands on illegal handguns.
Kids these days spend too much time watching t.v., and some people believe that
this leads to the violence. There is violence everywhere on t.v., and with all
the time kids