The United States has one of the most lenient gun cultures in the world, and also one of the highest rates of gun violence as a result. This sample essay written by an Ultius professional writer explores the egregious violence and years of advocating that brought about the government passed National Firearms Act.
The act contains six categories of weapons that have been labeled “Title II.” Gun registration, however, does little to quell the incessant gun violence, and regulations remain unenforced. Greed, profiteering, and total disregard for the law have set the standards for American gun culture. The result, and what the following research paper strives to point out, is that people are shot every day, privatized prisons are full to profiteering capacity, and the cycles of abuse and violence continue.
Federally regulated weapons and gun culture
Gun culture is a strong part of the American identity, however, that is left over from a distant age when guns were used to hunt and protect. Now statistics show that those who own guns and weapons are far more likely to harm themselves and their loved one rather than any intruder or threat.
The Second Amendment of the constitution is called down to defend the right to bear arms as, “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” (Masters).
However, this is in the context of the people protecting themselves from a corrupt government. Now even peaceful protesters stand the risk of being beaten and imprisoned if they stand up to the status quo. Protesters with guns, such as the case of the Oregon Militia in early 2016, may bring on an indictment of military law.
Guns and endangered animals
Guns are associated with bravery, bravado, and a willingness to defy authority, but the reality of their use shows up as more and more endangered animals are hunted for sick sport and in various forms of relatively meaningless violence. The sad reality is, the United States, with less than 5 percent of the world’s population, has about 35-50 percent of the world’s civilian-owned guns, according to a 2007 report by the Swiss-based Small Arms Survey. It ranks number one in firearms per capita. The U.S. also has the highest homicide-by-firearm rate among the world’s most developed nations (OECD). (Masters)
While there have been many efforts to curb gun violence without eviscerating Second Amendment rights, the profit motivation continues to undermine the law. These efforts include the Gun Control Act of 1968.
The Gun Control Act of 1968
This law prohibited the sale of firearms to several categories of individuals, including persons under eighteen years of age, those with criminal records, the mentally disabled, unlawful aliens, dishonorably discharged military personnel, and others. In 1993, the law was amended by the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, which mandated background checks for all unlicensed persons purchasing a firearm from a federally licensed dealer. (Masters)
However, recent research shows that those who sell weapons often do not follow these laws and regulations. Their greed for profit allows dangerous weapons to end up in the hands of unstable individuals with wanton destruction as a result.
Federal weapons regulation and the gun show loophole
The most consistent dodge of the law for gun profits is the private sales loophole. Despite even recent 2016 mandates set forth by President Obama, this loophole is growing all the time. If someone purchases a gun from a private seller, such as a friend or family member, no gun background check is required. This is often mischaracterized as the gun show sale loophole, under the assumption that people can simply go to a gun show and buy a gun without getting a background check.
But licensed dealers at gun shows still have to carry out a background check. The actual loophole Obama’s gun control mandates seek to close is someone can meet with a private seller at a gun show — or, increasingly, over the internet — and buy a firearm from that person without a background check. In other words, the gun show doesn’t create a loophole; the private seller does. (Lopez)
Other nations around the world have stronger regulations which actually protect their citizens. For example, Canadian gun laws require safe storage in which the guns are unloaded. This prevents children from shooting themselves in the home. The United Kingdom bans the ownership of most guns, and those who have a license for their profession must renew it every five years, lobbying for why they should have the weapon (Lopez).
The National Weapons Registry
The National Weapons Registry was created in part to keep track of where the most powerful weapons are in the country. However, restrictions on power and destructibility have not been made to keep the public safe from excessive violence, but to ensure that only the police and the army have the most effective weapons. The merits of sensible gun control undermine the Second Amendment, putting the citizens squarely under the thumb of the best equipped military force in the world.
Definitions of nationally Registered Weapons
Machine guns are any gun which has the capacity to fire more than 1 bullet per pull of the trigger.
This includes, “Both continuous fully automatic fire and “burst fire” (i.e., firearms with a 3-round burst feature) are considered machine gun features” (Galka).
Short Barreled Rifles (SBRs) are guns with a buttstock or rifled barrel under 16” long, or an average length under 26”.
In this case, “The category also includes firearms which came from the factory with a buttstock that was later removed by a third party” (Galka).
Short Barreled Shotguns (SBSs) consists of a gun with a barrel under 18″ or a minimum overall length under 26.”
Suppressors are “any portable device designed to muffle or disguise the report of a portable firearm. This category does not include non-portable devices, such as sound traps used by gunsmiths in their shops which are large and usually bolted to the floor” (Galka).
Destructive devices are a broader distinction including, “Devices such as grenades, bombs, explosive missiles, poison gas weapons, etc. Any firearm with a bore over 0.50 inch except for shotguns or shotgun shells which have been found to be generally recognized as particularly suitable for sporting purposes” (Galka).
The has resulted in an ever-growing list of weapons and the requirements must be so specific and varied due to the huge industry that weapons are within America.
National Weapons Registry categories
- Machine guns;
- Short Barreled Rifles (SBRs);
- Short Barreled Shotguns (SBSs);
- Any Other Weapon (AOWs);
- Destructive Devices. (Galka)
Federal Weapons Regulation statistics
Many gun advocates make excuses for why a proliferation of weapons does not reflect in crime and abuse rates. But there is no arguing with the statistics; america needs stricter gun laws. Countries that have stricter access to weapons have lower rates of gun violence, simple. A few facts reinforce this:
State gun statistics
- The state with most machine guns per capita is New Hampshire, with 7.4 for every 1,000 residents. New Hampshire also happens to have the lowest murder rate (Galka).
- In Wyoming, which has a population of only about 600,000, there are over 100,000 “destructive devices” registered (Galka). Statistics don’t immediately indicate why this is the case in Wyoming, but there must be an interesting story there.
- Washington D.C., which does not appear on the map, has the second highest number of NFA weapons per capita, with 62 per 1,000 residents (Galka).
- Oklahoma‘s total NFA registrations are lower than the national average, but the number of silencers registered is the second highest per capita (Galka).
- California is well known to have some of the strictest gun control laws in the U.S. Yet, it ranks #2 in terms of total number of registered weapons (Texas is #1). Ironically, many of these weapons are owned by Hollywood, an industry that includes some of the loudest voices supporting gun control (Galka).
- Arizona, one of the states that bans nunchucks, ranks #9 overall with 16 NFA-registered weapons per 1,000 residents (Galka).
- The obvious question for Arizona: What is the legality of tying two of these machine guns together, thereby creating a pair of “gunchucks?” (Galka).
National gun numbers
- US led the world in the number of civilian-owned firearms with 88.8 guns per 100 people, while second-place Yemen fell far behind at 54.8 guns per 100 people (Lopez).
- Every day, 7 children and teens die from gun violence: 5 are murdered, 2 kill themselves (Brady Campaign).
- Every day, 41 children and teens are shot and survive: 31 shot in an assault, 1 survives a suicide attempt, 8 are shot unintentionally (Brady Campaign).
- Every day, 89 people die from gun violence: 31 are murdered, 55 kill themselves, 2 are killed unintentionally, 1 is killed by police intervention, 1 intent unknown (Brady Campaign).
- Every day, 208 people are shot and survive: 151 shot in an assault, 10 survive a suicide attempt, 45 are shot unintentionally, 2 are shot in a police intervention (Brady Campaign).
Gun Violence: U.S. versus other nations
Although there is little difference in the overall crime rates between the United States and other high income countries, the homicide rate in the U.S. is seven times higher than the combined homicide rate of 22 other high-income countries (Webster, Vernick, Vittes, McGinty, Teret, and S Frattaroli 2). Teddy bears have to meet federal health and safety standards, but gun control is not as strictly regulated (Violence Policy Center).
These statistics are sobering and sad, but only to those who put law, order, and justice before profiteering. The rates of violence continue to increase as the military industrial complex floods the unlimited expansion market of consumerism to which the nation is a slave. More than half of all mass shooters used assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and that many were armed with multiple guns. The study also showed that most shooters’ guns were obtained legally. (“Case Study in Crime Trends and Patterns”)
Conclusion to federally regulated weapons
Bottom line: registering guns does nothing to stop the tide of violence, nor do the laws and regulations currently on the books since there are so many loopholes, indifferent sellers, and law enforcers who do not enforce the law (Harwood). The realities of violence and profiteering which go on are a terrible burden on the nation, especially young people who are disproportionately victims of gun violence. Mass shootings will continute to be mainstream news, despite some states making laws to prevent them. Gun manufactures celebrate mass shootings due to the increase in the general levels of fear which creates more gun sales. This has become the American way – the new constitution of money.
Brady Campaign. “Key Gun Violence Statistics.” Bradycampaign.org.
“Case Study in Crime Trends and Patterns.”Ultius Blog. Ultius, Inc., 16 Oct 2013.
Galka, Max. “Map of Federally regulated Weapons.” Metrocosm.com, 18 May 2015. Retrieved from:
Harwood, William S. “Gun Control: State versus federal regulation of firearms.” Maine Policy Review (Spring 2002): 58.
Lopez, German. “How gun control works in America, compared with 4 other rich countries.” Policy and Politics. Vox Media, Inc., 6 Jan. 2016.
Masters, Jonathan. “U.S. Gun Policy: Global Comparisons.” PBS, 21 Dec. 2012.
Webster, Daniel W, Jon S. Vernick, Katherine Vittes, Emma E. McGinty, Stephen P. Teret, and Shannon Frattaroli. “The Case for Gun Policy Reforms in America.” [White Paper]. John Hopkins Centre for Gun Policy and Research, 5 Feb. 2014.
Violence Policy Center. “Regulate Firearms Like Other Consumer Products.” Vpc.com.