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美国作业:有关枪支管制困境简析A Brief Analysis of the Gun Control Dilemma i

论文价格: 免费 时间:2019-06-26 09:45:29 来源:www.ukassignment.org 作者:留学作业网
1  Introduction介绍
在过去的几十年里,美国与枪支有关的暴力事件非常严重,已经成为公众关注的问题。因此,美国人之间就枪支管制问题展开了激烈的辩论。尽管美国还有许多其他争议性问题,但很难找到一个比枪支管制更能激起多年愤怒和刻薄的问题(厄斯金,1972:455-469)。
During the last few decades gun-related violence in the United States has been so serious that it has become a public concern. As a result, there has been an intense debate over gun control among the Americans. Although there are many other controversial issues in the United States, it is hard to find one that provokes more anger and vitriol across years than gun control (Erskine, 1972:455-469).
争论的关键是因果关系问题。这里的逻辑是,如果枪支和暴力之间存在因果关系,美国必须采取更严格的枪支管制法律(Grigsby,2010:15)。鉴于美国的枪支流行率和暴力率都远远高于几乎所有其他工业国家,许多美国人认为,枪支暴力有因果关系。因此,他们呼吁制定枪支管制法律,并被称为枪支管制倡导者(卢埃林,1999:194)。然而,反对者否认这种因果关系。他们认为,美国的高暴力率是由其他因素造成的,而不是枪械流行,如社会异质性和经济不平等。因此,他们认为枪支管制在减少国内暴力犯罪方面是无效的。
At the crux of the controversy is the question of causality. The logic here is that if there is a causal relationship between gun and violence, the United States has to adopt stricter gun control laws (Grigsby, 2010:15). In view of the fact that both gun prevalence and violence rates in the United States are much higher than those of almost all other industrial nations, many Americans believe that there is a gun-violence causality. Therefore, they cry for gun control law making and are known as gun control advocates (Llewellyn, 1999:194). However, opponents deny such a causal relationship. They argue that the high violence rate in the United States is engendered by other factors rather than gun prevalence, such as social heterogeneity and economic inequality. Therefore, they argue that gun control would not be effective in reducing violent crimes in the nation.
另一个主要的争议是,为什么美国没有像其他工业国家一样采用严格的枪支管制法。根据枪支管制反对者的说法,答案在于美国历史和宪法。他们认为,美国历史与枪支所有权和枪支暴力紧密相连,这在美国公民中激起了对枪支的强烈热爱。因此,美国人反对严格的枪支管制。此外,他们认为美国宪法第二修正案保留了公民持有武器的权利,任何关于枪支的规定都是违宪的。然而,这种推理方式遭到了枪支管制倡导者的驳斥,他们认为美国枪支法的松懈是由于枪支管制反对者的激烈和不合理的反对。
Another major controversy is over the reason why the United States does not adopt strict gun control laws as other industrial nations. According to gun control opponents, the answer lies in the US history and the Constitution. They hold that the US history has been closely entwined with gun ownership and gun violence, which has provoked in its citizens an ardent love of firearms. Therefore, the Americans are opposed to strict gun control. Further, they believe that the Second Amendment of the US Constitution preserves the right of the citizens to hold arms and any regulation over guns would be unconstitutional. However, this way of reasoning is refuted by gun control advocates, who argue that the laxity of gun laws in the United States results from the fierce and irrational opposition of gun control opponents.
在过去的几年里,学校枪击案在美国频繁发生。这使全国恐慌,并为枪支辩论增添了更多的燃料。那么辩论的哪一方更接近事实呢?为什么美国不像其他工业国家一样采取严格的枪支管制?这些问题引起了我的兴趣(劳滕伯格,2011:213)。本文是我对枪支辩论的研究成果,旨在回答这两个问题。
During the past few years, school shootings took place in the United States very frequently. This alarmed the nation and added more fuel to the gun debate. Then which side of the debate is nearer to the truth? And why doesn't the United States adopt strict gun regulations as other industrial nations? These questions intrigue me (Lautenberg, 2011:213). This thesis is the result of my study on the gun debate, aiming to answer those two questions.
2  TheAmerican Gun Culture
2.1 The Formation of the American Gun Culture
The United States has a social history that is almost a formula for violence. According to some American historians, violence in this nation seems to fall into two major categories (Gandelman, 2013:73). The first is negative violence including criminal violence, feuds, the violence of prejudice, urban riots, freelance multiple murder, and lynching, political assassination that all seem to be in no direct way connected with any socially or historically constructive development (Hadaegh, 2015:32). But it is the other category of the American violence, namely, the so-called "positive violence" that occupies vaster room in American historical account and is considered more important in the nation's history. After all, the Republic was born only after a revolution which, both in its origin and its progresses, was replete with domestic violence; it was soon afterwards engaged in a war, though unofficially declared, with France between 1798 and 1800, won a "Second War for Independence" against the British in 1812 and seized a large part of southwest territory from Mexico at the heels of an unprovoked war (Smathers, 2012:73). Even the nation's unity got eventually maintained through immense bloodshed, although the descriptions of these efforts attached more emphasis to the salves' newly-obtained freedom and the assured union of nation, which, in contrast, ignored the vast waves of violence engendered afterwards. The very land upon which the great nation rises was reward from wars with Indians that lasted for centuries and the legend of western frontier would have been impossible but for the vigilante violence that made order and stability alive again in the wilderness. Even labor violence, though despised by the majority of the American public, turned to be the only path to recognition and a decent life for industrial workers, hence necessary and indispensable in preserving social harmony. 
Given such history, it is not surprising that the American nation formed a unique gun culture very early on. The formation of this gun culture has several sources, including puritanism, early frontier wars with native Americans, the American revolution, and the westward movement.
2.1.1 The Influence of Puritanism
Theoretically speaking, religion, to be more exact here, Puritanism is one cause--a primitive as well as ever-lasting cause--of violence in that it helps to create a key part of a person's identity. Puritanism effortlessly lends "an aura of concreteness, timelessness and supernatural authority to what is really contingent and fabricated". (Kenen, 2000:16) Hence the identity derived from this belief is envisioned and treated not as a deliberate act of human beings but as "transcendentally authorized", natural and eternal: "In the Bible, the identity of ancient Israel is shored up with the myth that it is God-given."(Luhar, 2012:87) By the same token, the identity of newcomers to the new world, instead of being created by their own painstaking efforts, was given as God's design and will. These Puritans thus viewed themselves as selected by God whereas their survival and later development over the land were considered to be planned and blessed by Him. Anyone who dare pose any obstacle to this survival or development, therefore, becomes the enemy to God, violating God's will and hence deserving God's punishments to be executed by His elects through whatever means (Llenas, 2013:76). 
2.1.2 The Influence of Early Frontier Wars with Native Americans
During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, skirmishes between the Native Americans and the white men were frequent and often brutal. In these early wars, weaponry was critical to the outcomes of most battles, and the side which had better and more firearms usually won. According to some chroniclers, the possession and use of this weaponry on the frontier inevitably influenced the American character. "One may see in these circumstances the roots of the Americans' celebrated self-reliance and individualism, but they were equally well to explain some of the less attractive elements of the national character. Through the early years, men habitually carried weapons during every waking hour. They became inured to violence [and] to settling disagreements directly and by force.”(Paulson, 2007:47)
2.1.3 The Influence of the American Revolution
During the battles of the American Revolution, firearms, especially rifles, continued to play an important role as the Americans fought against the Red Coats. The British troops used the Brown Bess, a non-rifled musket that was inaccurate beyond a few dozen yards. In contrast, colonists used the Pennsylvania rifle, with a bored barrel that imparted a tight spin on the bullet and was accurate at a far greater distance. Moreover, it could be reloaded faster. This rifle struck such terror into the hearts of British regulars that George Washington asked his troops to be dressed in the frontiersman's hunting shirt, since the British thought every such person a complete marksman." (Ghitis, 2009:122) According to some historians, "the success [of the rifle] helped to instill in the American mind a conviction of the complete superiority of the armed yeoman to the military professional of Europe." (Shafaee, 2010:99)#p#分页标题#e#
2.1.4 The Influence of the Westward Movement
However, from the earliest days in colonial America to the twentieth century and the modern era, as soon as a frontier area was secured and towns established, violence began to recede quickly (Schwartz, 2008:83). Newcomers strove to get along with his or her new neighbors, because they needed their votes to become citizens so that they could receive house plots and land allocations. Gun owning and carrying quickly declined in the emerging city, since "the prosperity of our city, its increase in business, the enhancement in the value of its property,depends upon the preservation of order." (Llewellyn , 1999:194) Meanwhile, in order to fight against group violence, especially ethnic conflicts that were periodic during the time, American cities began organizing police forces in the 1840s. 
By the end of the century almost all cities had professional police forces. In the last quarter of the nineteenth century, state National Guard units were formed to help combat the labor violence in northern and Midwestern cities. The social order was reinforced by public schools, which socialized children to be cooperative and regulative in their behavior. Moreover, adults were subject to the discipline of the factory work shift, which gave them less time and inclination for drinking and brawling and other violent behavior (Mehalko, 2012:35). All the while, from the very beginning of the colonial history, the frontier people were ready to cooperate for their mutual protection. As was concluded by Eugene Hollon, most frontier people were friendly, hardworking, and fair-minded, and "more often than not, people worked together harmoniously for the good of the community."(Lautenberg, 2011:213) However, he also observed, "these simple virtues, along with hardships and general boredom, do not make good materials for exciting narrative. The fiction writers therefore shied away from the reality and chose the part that can make a good story.”(Jones ,  2015:167)
2.2 The Development ofthe American Gun Culture
Amongthenineteenthcenturygun-makerswasonemostimportant innovatorSamuel Colt, to whose innovation and special promotion style the typical American gun culture should owe its life. Like most New Englanders, Samuel Colt at the beginning opposed the Mexican War as an imperialist enterprise.  But his sympathies shifted on the spot when the Government ordered 1,000 revolvers from him for use in that Warll. Although the war ended too soon to make his enterprise grow much beyond this initial order, he nevertheless made the best use of this war by traveling the world from 1847 on telling anyone who would listen how his revolvers had led  the  United  States  to  victory  over  superior  Mexicanforces (Mellman, 2013:181). In 1848 he opened a new factory and hit on the perfect weapon for a gun culture: his revolver was relatively inexpensive; fired several rounds quickly, negating the need for skill; were perfect for urban life, being easy to conceal; had no function rather than "self-defense," being useful neither in hunting nor militia service (Brown, 2013:51). In short, they were clearly intended for personal use in violent situation, and it was this characteristic of Colt revolvers that marked the guns' entry into personal life, prior to which guns were only military tools unsuitable for home (Collins , 2015:16). 
2.3 Gun Culture-Related Social Problems
While many people appreciate the "gun culture", guns are heavily involved in violence in the United States. Since 1960, more than 750000 Americans have died under firearms, including homicides, suicides, and unintentional injuries. In 1993, for example, about 39595 persons were killed with guns. It accounts for about 71% homicides and 63% suicides throughout the nation and was the highest number in US history in peacetime. (Mellman , 2013:181)
In the meantime, people of more than three times the death number are treated in emergency rooms each year for nonfatal firearm injuries. (Brown , 2013:51) In fact, the total number of people suffering from nonfatal gunshot wounds is far greater than that, since many less seriously wounded persons do not seek medical treatment and therefore go uncounted. From a narrow medical standpoint, it is foolish for many gunshot victims to go untreated. Bu that is reasonable in light of three facts: (1) most gunshot victims are criminals; (2) most doctors are required to report treatment of gunshot wounds to the police; and (3) most gunshot wounds are survivable without professional treatments.
It is worth noting, however, that the gun-violence increase has not occurred to all the Americans equally. Young black males are the most likely to suffer violence. For example, in 1990, homicide rate due to firearms for black males aged 20-24 was 140.7 per 100000 people, while the rate for all Americans at the same age was 17.1.At the same time, homicide rate for black teenagers was 105.3, while it was 14.0 for all the teenagers in the United States.(Everitt, 2015:74)
These figures are viewed as a great tragedy in the black community. For example, sociologists James D. Wright, Joseph F. Sheley, and M. Dwayne Smith declare thatthe escalating prevalence and use of guns in underclass neighborhoods have turned these areas into killing fields. Similarly, law professors Robert J. Cottrol and Raymond T. Diamond assert that the black-on-black violence that plagues the mean streets of our inner citiesis "tragic".(Hadaegh, 2015:108)
3 Legal Wars Between Gun Ownership and Gun Control
The social problems caused by the gun culture have led to intense legal wars over gun control. This chapter examines debates over gun control as well as major federal laws on gun control.
3.1 The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
3.1.1 The Definition of the Second Amendment
The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads, 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. Since the Second Amendment preserves the right of the people to keep and bear arms, many people, especially opponents of stricter gun control laws, assert that the US Constitution gives individuals the right to hold firearms. However, many other people do not accept the opinion. For them the Constitution guarantees common defense instead of individual bearing guns. Therefore, it is important to make a careful study of the Second Amendment itself. Yet the Second Amendment, not unlike other clauses finally written into the Constitution, is worded so sparsely that brevity and elegance have been achieved at the cost of clarity. It is therefore necessary to go deep into the First Congress's debates over the Second Amendment as the Framers were trying to make it. Further, as the Supreme Court is given the right of explaining the Constitution, it is helpful to study the court decisions concerning the Second Amendment.
When the US Constitutional Convention convened in 1787, a large number of issues were considered. Among them were fears of a standing army and federalism versus states' rights. Later these issues were raised again during the First US Congress's debates that eventually led to the Second Amendment in 1789. At that time, states' rights advocates—also known as the anti-federalists—comprised the overwhelming majority of the delegates. They emphasized that citizens in new republics should fear standing armies at all costs. They invoked the historical record between 1767 and 1776 in Massachusetts, where the British army inflamed and abused the local population and then tried to weaken the people by disarming them. The states' rights advocates were also quick to point to the sorry records of Charles I, Oliver Cromwell, and James II, who used their armies to disarm and tyrannize the English populace between 1639 and 1688.
At the time, federalists such as Alexander Hamilton were also fearful of standing armies. However, they realized that the survival of the United States was dependent on a strong national government, and that it must have its own army and navy. Finally, the great compromises were reached between proponents and opponents of federalism, and the result was Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution and the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights.
Careful analysis of the First Congress's debate over the amendment shows that the Framers clearly intended the amendment to guarantee the individual's right to have arms for self-defense and self-preservation. This conclusion has long been accepted by the gun control opponents as the most obvious explanation of the US lack of strict gun control laws. Further, the opponents also point to the federal court decisions to support their argument. Indeed, "the Supreme Court decisions between 1876 and 1938 contained language supporting the notion that the Framers of the Constitution clearly intended ordinary citizens to possess arms and to be prepared to carry these arms into battle in defense of the state." (Mehalko, 2012:192)
3.1.2 The Decisions over the Second Amendment by the Supreme Court
While the gun control opponents prefer to take the long view of history with regard to the Second Amendment, the advocates of gun control like to take the short view of history. Their favorite startingpoint is often 1939 (United States v Miller). In this case, the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government had the right to control the transfer of certain firearms (Chapman, 2011:879-879). More particularly, the sawed-off shotgun, a favorite weapon of gangsters, was deemed unprotected by the Second Amendment. The ruling reads, "in the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of shotgun having a barrel of less than eighteen inches in length' at this time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument." (Brown, 2013:125) At the time, lower-court decisions used even more direct language to support the National Firearms Act and the related 1938 Federal Firearms Act. For example, in upholding the National Firearms Act, the district court held in United States v. Adams that the Second Amendment "refers to the Militia, a protective force of government; to the collective body and not individual rights." (Goodman , 2013:99)#p#分页标题#e#
Gun control advocates also refer to more recent Supreme Court decisions. In Lewis v. United States, the court ruled that the 1968 Gun Control Act's prohibition of felons owning firearms was constitutional. It held that "legislative restrictions on the use of firearms do not entrench upon any constitutionally protected liberties." (Erskine, 1972:43)
Taking into consideration these and all other federal court decisions concerning the Second Amendment, gun control advocates hold that the Supreme Court is in support of laws regulating firearms (Barlow, 2015:43). "No federal court," they contended, "had ever struck down a gun control law as unconstitutional based on the Second Amendment." Note Indeed, the U.S. Supreme Court has given at least five judgments on this amendment, while lower federal courts have made more than three dozens of rulings. In none of these decisions have the courts ruled that the Constitution guarantees the free and clear right of any individual to own any gun (Ghitis , 2009:122).  On the contrary, the courts have "consistently ruled that both federal and state governments can restrict who may and may not own a gun and can also regulate the sale, transfer, receipt, possession, and use of specific categories of firearms (Everitt , 2015:16). 
3.1.3 Debates over the Second Amendment
In sum, after a dispassionate examination of American history and of federal court decisions, it becomes clear that the Second Amendment protects the right of individuals to keep and bear arms.
However, the same examination also leads to the conclusion that both state and federal governments can regulate the possession (keeping) and carrying (bearing) of firearms.
Further, many contemporary legislators and judges feel that there is no need to be confined to the full intentions of the Framers. They recognize that significant changes have occurred in the United States and around the world since 1776, when an armed population was critical to the defense of the new nation. In the past 220 years, the standing army has become entrenched in American life and it is no longer deemed as a threat to personal liberty. The concept of defense is no longer limited to fighting at the borders of one's homeland repelling foreign invaders. It has been broadened so greatly that the defense of America includes sending soldiers to Europe, Asia, Central America, and Africa. In short, the place of the United States in world affairs has changed dramatically. The eighteenth-century notions of the purpose and place of the militia in the community are out of step with today's realities. Therefore, these people argue that there is no need to assure the keeping and bearing of arms in private hands (Jones ,  2015:167).
Moreover, many observers refer to the fact that the states and the federal legislatures have already made up a series of laws regulating firearms and their use. All the while, the courts have never struck down local, state, and federal gun control laws on the basis of the amendment. Indeed, they have always kept to the decision handed down by the New Jersey Supreme Court that "the Second Amendment, concerning the right of the people to keep and bear,was framed in contemplation not of individual rights but of the maintenance of the states' active, organized militias."
In short, the Second Amendment does protect the right of individuals to keep and bear arms. However, it may not account for the lack of strict gun control in the United States, as Spitzer concludes in his book The Control of Gun, "the Second Amendment poses no obstacle to gun control as it is debated in modern America."note
3.1.4 The Impossibility in Repealing the Second Amendment
But what's the point of acknowledging gun-ownership as a Right in this "Great American Gun War"? On the surface, a right assures that people will be legally protected in fulfilling it and lawfully punished by violating it. More importantly, a right indicates it should be honored even "when there is significant social cost in doing so" (Kenen, 2000:16). To apply such an implication, a right cannot be withheld or denied for whatever reason or on whatever occasions. But the act of gun control for the sake of social order一putting aside its effectiveness or feasibility—is atypical example where an individual's legal rights are to be sacrificed for imposed peace and stability. Those who advocate gun licensing, to give another instance, are implicitly acknowledging gun possession as, instead of aright, "a special favor or privilege" that can be "granted or revoked" (Poe, 2001:176). That, perhaps, is the core reason for the anger in gun-right preservers at the mere mention of controlling of guns. Similarly, regarding themselves as law-abiding citizens, the gun-right group is bound to be seized with indignation when asked to pay for the mischief done by a portion of "others" to the society as a whole. Sincere gun control, not unlike other social problems, is also touched by the omnipresent racial issue. According to the Uniform Crime Reports prepared annually by the FBI, black, who make up roughly 13 percent of the U.S. population, commit some 42 percent of all violent crimes, including 40 percent of weapons violations and 54 percent of murders (Luhar , 2012:87). Backed by the data, therefore, the "culture of violence" seems concentrated among minorities, especially African Americans. To stretch the argument a step further, this may imply that the firearms problem should be settled by way of addressing racial issue first rather than combating gun itself directly and indiscriminately, further complicating the issue of gun control. 
3.2 The Gun Control Act of 1968
Although the NRA had opposed gun controls for decades, its primary focus was on sporting, hunting, and other recreational gun uses. However, the situation changed after the passage of the Gun Control Act of 1968. A growing number of NRA activists were becoming dissatisfied with the lack of political leadership at the NRA headquarters. The Institute for Legislative Action was established as the lobbying arm of the NRA and hard-liner Harlon Carter became its head. A year later, its political action committee, the NRA Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF), was established for the 1976 elections. Carter and his allies rallied a faction called the Federation of the NRA. They deposed the moderates and took over the leadership. This was later dubbed the Cincinnati Revolt. Although Gun Control Act of 1968 banned the sale of handguns to felons and fugitives from justice, it was not difficult for criminals to get firearms by lying about their record. With this consideration in mind, gun control proponents placed their primary emphasis on the enactment of a national waiting period for handgun purchases. Their purpose was twofold: first, to provide authorities with the opportunity to conduct a background check on the prospective purchaser in order to prevent handgun purchases by felons, the mentally incompetent, or others who should not have handguns; and second, to provide a cooling-off period for those who seek to buy and perhaps to use a handgun in a fit of temper or rage. Such a law represents only a modest degree of government regulation, since it merely postpones a handgun purchase by a few days and denies handguns only to those everyone agrees should not have them. Yet the struggle over the enactment of a waiting period turned out to be a bitter struggle between regulation opponents and proponents, where "the ground being fought over was far less important than the struggle itself." (Grigsby, 2010:117)
3.3 The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act
On March 30, 1981, only a few weeks after his inauguration as President of the United States, Ronald Reagan stepped outside the Washington Hilton Hotel, accompanied by members of his staff and secret service agents. Just then a man named John W. Hinckley Jr., approached them with a handgun and opened fire. (Indeed, most assassinations or attempted assassinations of major political figures in the United States have been carried out with handguns.) President Reagan and three others were wounded. Among them was the presidential press secretary James S. Brady, who was permanently disabled by his injuries. Since then, Brady has been viewed as a symbol of the evils of easy handgun ownership. And his wife, Sarah Brady, became the head of Handgun Control, Inc., the leading group promoting laws regulating firearms (Allard , 2015:33).
Although the Gun Control Act of 1968 banned the sale of handguns to felons and fugitives from justice, it was not difficult for criminals to get firearms by lying about their criminal record. With this consideration in mind, gun control proponents placed their primary emphasis on the enactment of a national waiting period for handgun purchases (Paulson, 2007:47). Their purpose was twofold: first, to provide authorities with the opportunity to conduct a background check on the prospective purchaser in order to prevent handgun purchases by felons, the mentally incompetent, or others who should not have handguns; and second, to provide a cooling-off period for those who seek to buy and perhaps to use a handgun in a fit of temper or rage. Such a law represents only a modest degree of government regulation, since it merely postpones a handgun purchase by a few days and denies handguns only to those everyone agrees should not have them. Yet the struggle over the enactment of a waiting period turned out to be a bitter struggle between regulation opponents and proponents, where "the ground being fought over was far less important than the struggle itself." (Schwartz, 2008:49)
3.4 The Federal Assault Weapons Ban
The Federal Assault Weapons Ban (AWB) — officially, the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act — is a subsection of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, a United States federal law that included a prohibition on the manufacture for civilian use of certain semi-automatic firearms it defined as assault weapons, as well as certain ammunition magazines it defined as "large capacity." The ten-year ban was passed by the U.S. Congress on September 13, 1994, following a close 52-48 vote in the Senate, and signed into law by then President Bill Clinton the same day. The ban only applied to weapons manufactured after the date of the ban's enactment, and it expired on September 13, 2004, in accordance with its sunset provision. Several constitutional challenges were filed against provisions of the ban, but all were rejected by reviewing courts. There were multiple attempts to renew the ban, but none succeeded (Shafaee , 2010:99).#p#分页标题#e#
4 The Infeasibility of Gun Control
Despite the efforts of the federal government to regulate guns, gun control remains a dilemma difficult to resolve. There are several factors accounting for the infeasibility of gun control in the United States, including the limitations federal laws, the irreconcilable differences between interest groups, and the huge conflicts of public opinions.
4.1 The Limitations of Federal Laws
Corrupt Federal Firearms Licensees, straw purchases, illegal sales (e.g. at gun shows), illegal street sales and swaps, as well as gun theft altogether contributed to the illegal sources through which criminals or potential criminals attain weapons even after guns get legally controlled. As a nationwide survey of inmates in state prisons in 1991 reveals, 28 percent of those incarcerated for a handgun offense obtained their guns from "black market, a drug dealer, or a fence" whereas another 9 percent managed so from theft. (Llenas, 2013:251) After all, as outlaws, their violation of laws is an act to be expected. It is not unusual for them to try the illegal channels while the legal ones are still open, in view of which the blockage of the latter could hardly make any difference for them. In contrast, the gun-lovers argue, the law-abiding people's ownership or use of guns would become the only subject to the regulations by legal enforcement. Hence a staggering picture emerges of innocent citizens, with their restricted access to guns, helplessly facing culprits armed with illegal ones (Stuart , 2013:127).
4.2 The Irreconcilable Differences between Interest Groups
The irreconcilable differences between interest groups make it difficult to resolve the gun control problem. Interest-group activity has been intense and decisive. There are interest groups that favor stricter gun control, led by Handgun Control Inc. (HCI), and those that oppose it, led by the National Rifle Association (NRA).Both HCI and NRA have played a significant role during the struggle over gun control. The 1991 vote in the House showed that the NRA could be beaten. According to Representative Charles E. Schemer (D-N.Y.), a strong supporter of the Brady Bill, "people realized that there's life after voting against the NRA." (Jones, 2015:154) The bill also pictured the NRA as an extremist organization opposed to any regulation, no matter how modest or reasonable it is. At the same time, the enactment of the bill strengthened HCI and its coalition with police organizations and other gun control groups. So far the HCI has come to political maturity after its long-term fight against the NRA. It has learned much from its adversary both in organizational skills and lobbying expertise (Smith , 2014:48).
4.3 The Huge Conflicts of Public Opinions
 Why have the efforts to enact strict gun control regulations in the United States so far failed to achieve much? Is it because the American people actually like the status quo and prefer that guns not be regulated to the degree as in Europe and other industrialized countries? The key advocates and opponents of gun control offer drastically different assessments. According to Handgun Control Incorporated, "80% [of Americans] would support a `comprehensive' handgun bill, including licensing, registration, regulation of private transfers, a mandatory safety examination, and a limit of only two handgun purchases per user;…approval [is] just as broad [for] a simple ban on assault weapons."(Paulson, 2008:96)In contrast, the National Rifle Association has an entirely different idea (Mutter, 2011:80). It contends that "scientific polls have consistently shown that most people oppose costly registration of firearms, oppose giving police power to decide who should own guns and do not believe that stricter gun laws would prevent criminals from illegally obtaining guns."(Collins, 2015:207) Moreover, criminologist Gary Kleck, one of the NRA's favorite academicians, asserts that "most people have no real opinion or only very weak or unstable opinion on specific narrow gun control proposals…and the few who do gave strong stable opinions are mostly anti-control." Note In view of the controversy, it is necessary to examine the data on attitudes toward gun control and decide which side of the gun control debate is closer to the truth (Wolf , 2014:851-878). 
5 Conclusion
The debate over gun control has been waged in the United States for decades, with a sustained intensity and intractability that can be found in few other issues. It is organized by interest groups that favor stricter gun control, led by Handgun Control Inc. (HCI), and those that oppose it, led by the National Rifle Association (NRA).  At its heart, the debate is a question about the relationship between gun prevalence and gun violence. Although scientific research dose not support the causal relationship as held by the proponents of gun control, there must at least be a magnification effect. That is, gun prevalence has magnified the problem of violence in the United States. It follows that the rate of violence may be reduced by enacting appropriate gun control laws. Another key problem is weather the Second Amendment of the US Constitution protects the right of individuals to hold all kinds of arms. The result of study reveals that although the Supreme Court upholds that the Constitution preserves the right to hold arms, it has not interpreted it as barring all regulations of guns. That is, the US government has the power to enact stricter gun control laws.
The United States of America is experiencing a great gun war, the ending of which, if there is any, is bound to be another compromise: neither side of the war will win a complete victory or suffer a complete failure. To date, the two groups are still playing the tug-of-war, trying obtaining an edge over the other so that the compromise by one side would be smaller than that by the other. As long as the gun is still used as an assault weapon, bringing harm to the social order or personal safety, advocates of gun control would not cease exerting their pressure. Similarly, opponents of gun control would hardly give up their fight unless the two hundred years' history, in which gun is an undeniable part, could be erased from memory. 
 
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