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Guns (From How to Stop Crime, P 155-191, 1993, Anthony V. Bouza, -- See NCJ-168917)

NCJ Number
A Bouza
Date Published
37 pages
This chapter reviews the history of the gun culture in America and efforts to control its dangerous consequences.
The use of guns is rooted in America's earliest history and is connected to hallowed traditions and myths. Since European rulers had restricted firearms ownership, in America the gun came to be seen as the essential tool of the free citizen; laws prohibited slaves and aliens from possessing firearms. The conquest of the frontier owed much to the six-shooter. In the 1830's and 1840's Texans fought Mexicans and Comanches and pushed for the development of a repeat-firing gun. Colt obliged with the .45 Peacemaker, and it became the symbol of the American West. The glamour of the gun has been perpetuated by Hollywood, as the battle between good and evil is typically waged with guns. Under such a milieu it is assumed by the average citizen that criminals will have guns to ply their trade; therefore, every citizen must have a gun to fight the threat of crime. Often forgotten are the consequences of gun accidents in the home, the maiming and killing of children who mishandle guns owned by their parents, and the convenience of using a firearm in the home to commit suicide. Although guns are part of American culture and will therefore never be outlawed or severely restricted, a national program of control must be in place to restrain the deadly consequences of easily accessible guns. Such gun control has been upheld by the courts in spite of the efforts of the National Rifle Association. This chapter concludes with an outline of the requisite components of such a national program of gun control.


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