Gun control has long been an issue affecting Americans. It has slowly been ruing America. Started in the early part of this century and continuing to be an issue today, gun control is picking up speed and gaining force via many laws that have been put into place. Gun lobbying groups persuade voters and raise citizen's awareness and often use the Second Amendment in their fight.

Many groups of people are hurt by gun control. As we will see, the only people to benefit from gun control are criminals. Robert Spitzer, professor of political science at the State University of New York and the author of The Politics of Gun Control, explains the first congressional action dealing with guns. "The first congressional action pertaining to guns was the enactment of a ten percent federal excise tax, passed as part of the War Revenue Act in 1919. It was more significant as a revenue-raising measure than a tool of regulation, and it survived the 1920 s despite several efforts to reduce the tax." (140). In The Gun Control Debate: You Decide, editor Lee Nisbet states Since that first act, there have been nearly twenty thousand gun laws that have been put on the books (95).

"A few of these are federal laws (such as the Gun Control Act of 1968), but most are state and local regulations" (95). Although the National Government has set up some gun laws, individual states are granted the right to introduce and enforce their own laws. "Forty-four states have constitutional guarantees on the right to keep and bear arms" (author unknown-gun cite. com). An example would be the right to carry a concealed handgun granted by many states.

It is legal in Pennsylvania to carry a concealed firearm with the proper permit, however in Ohio it is illegal. One of the most recent laws passed that pertained to gun control was the Brady bill. "The so-called Brady bill (named after James Brady, the former Whit House press secretary and subsequent gun control advocate who was seriously injured in the assassination attempt against President Reagan in 1981) was introduced in 1987 (Spitzer 157). The bill was first brought up in the House of Representatives in 1988 but was defeated.

President Bush, who was Republican, publicly opposed the Brady bill. Not until a Democratic President went into office did the Brady bill pass in both the House and Senate. President Clinton signed the bill into law on November 30, 1994. The bill calls for a national waiting period for handgun purchases which does everything but help vendors at weekend gun shows make a profit. By the time a prospective buyer is cleared for the purchase, the show is over. According to Gary Kleck, author of Targeting Guns; Firearms and Their Control; "At least seventeen million American adults carry a gun for protection each year" (209).

Of that seventeen million, only eight hundred thousand violent acts are committed with the guns (209). Carrying is more common in big cities. Carriers of firearms say that by carrying a firearm they have a great sense of security. Although there are many groups that oppose gun control, the largest is the NRA (National Rifle Association): The NRA, with nearly three million members, is America's largest organization of gun owners. It is the primary lobbying group for those who oppose gun control laws. The NRA believes that such laws violate the U.

S. Constitution and do nothing to reduce crime. In addition to its monthly magazine American Rifleman, the NRA publishes numerous books, bibliographies, reports, and pamphlets on gun ownership, gun safety, and gun control ("Gun Control" 281). The Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights is often referred to when talking of gun control. It 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 (Spitzer 25).

Supporters of gun control interpret the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights to be limited specifically to the arming of a 'well-regulated Militia' that can be compared to today's National Guard. However, opponents believe the amendment was created to protect an individual's right to own and use guns. Our reasoning can be supported by the fact that when the constitution was written, hunting was the only means of getting food. Had guns been unconstitutional to own and use, early Americans would have had no means with which to hunt and kill their food.

Sportsmen are perhaps the people hardest hit by gun control laws. We are people who enjoy hunting, sport shooting, target shooting, and nature. "Today, about fourteen million persons, or seven percent of the country's population, identify themselves as hunters" (Spitzer 9). Gun control laws make it harder for us to obtain the necessary equipment needed for our sports.

One of the goals of gun control is to disarm criminals. Criminals, however, have proven that no matter how many gun laws are passed, they will always be able to get guns. Therefore, the laws that are meant to keep guns out of criminal's hands, end up keeping guns out of sportsmen's and law-abiding citizen's hands. Fortunately for opponents of gun control, the Republican Party is on our side. This usually offers opponents a candidate who will support and fight for their rights to own and use guns.

In his book, Robert Spitzer tells of the platforms of Republican-Presidential nominees (123-24). He shows us their long history of opposing gun control. "GOP lawmakers are the primary recipients of contributions from the National Rifle Association and other gun rights groups" (author unknown-open secrets. org) Gun control strips citizens of their constitutional right to bear arms. Gun control stops sportsmen from enjoying a sport once enjoyed by many. Gun control takes away the right for a citizen to defend himself.

Gun control is ruining America by imposing regulations on tax-paying citizens. Works Cited Comic, Charles P. , ed. Gun Control. San Diego: Green haven, c 1992. "Gun Control vs.

Gun Rights: The Issue." Online posting. 12 Dec. 1999 web Kleck, Gary. Targeting Guns: Firearms and Their Control.

New York: Aldine de Gruyter, c 1997. Nisbet, Lee. , ed. The Gun Control Debate: You Decide. Buffalo: Prometheus, 1990. Spitzer, Robert J.

The Politics of Gun Control. Chatham: Chatham House, c 1 "State Constitutions and the Right to Keep and Bear Arms." Online posting. Nov. 1999. Gun Control. 12 Dec.

1999. web >.