How strict are the gun control laws in RF? Read the text below and try to compare the gun control regulations in RF with those that exist in the US?
Most Americans feel that handguns are responsible for the high murder rates. An FBI report revealed that firearms were involved in more than half of the murders in the United States in 1984. Today Americans own 65 million pistols and revolvers, two handguns for every three households. Even sophisticated rapid-fire combat weapons are available.
At present, there are about 23,000 state and local gun laws and ordinances throughout the U.S. Some states have some restrictions on handgun open sales, some not; some states only prohibit carrying concealed handguns: in others owners must register all handguns and have a license to carry them, either open or concealed. In some communities people are not allowed to own any handguns. Proponents of gun control are pressing the government to at least require registration of all handguns and to require background checks on all potential handgun buyers to ensure that they do not have a criminal record.
Opinion polls show that, most Americans would like to have stricter gun control laws as a method of curbing crime. The pressure group in favor of new and strict controls has put its basic argument in a simple public poster: "In 1983 handguns killed 35 people in Japan, 8 in Britain ... and 9,014 in the United States. God Bless America."
The figures do not impress the National Rifle Association (NRA), one of the most powerful pressure groups in the nation, with three million members and assets of nearly a hundred million dollars. It is deeply conservative, and dedicated to the principle that "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." These words are indeed in the Second Amendment to the Constitution, part of the 1791 Bill of Rights. They also argue that about half of the some 120 million firearms in the U.S. are owned by hunters, and their slogan claims that "Guns don't kill, people do."
Although legislation was passed (against the NRA's opposition) in 1986 to stop the open purchase of machine guns and of armour-piercing bullets, adequate control of ordinary guns will not easily be achieved. The power of the NRA illustrates one facet of American society. Guns, for shooting birds and animals, and for protection against (predatory human beings are symbols of the virility associated with the building of the nation. And many Americans fear that
gun control laws will prevent law-abiding citizens from being able to protect their homes.
Task 1. Analyze the following opinion poll.
Should laws covering the sale of handguns be made more strict, less strict or kept as they are now? (Gallup)
1975 1980 1981 1983 1986
More strict 69% 59% 65% 59% 60%
Less strict 3 6 3 4 8
Kept same 24 29 30 31 30
Some communities have passed laws banning the sale and possession of handguns. Would you favor or oppose having such a law in your community? (Gallup)
All Men Women Whites Blacks
Favor 47% 39% 55% 45% 59%
Oppose 47 57 38 49 34
Task 2. Should laws covering the sale of handguns be made more strict, less strict or kept as they are now in your country?