Gun Violence in the United States An issue to be addressed 1

After the massacre of twenty 6 and 7-year old children as well as six adults at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown Connecticut, the issue of gun control again emerged as a hotbed National political issue. It was the latest shooting in a country that seemingly has an ongoing love affair with firearms that has spawned debate over the course of what is now centuries.

This tragic event again place emphasis on a Nation riddled with gun violence and mass murders that only seems to remain in the minds of the public as well as lawmakers through the period of a short lived news cycle.

A Timeline of the Evolutions of Firearms Use and Legislation in America
The United States has an extensive history of gun use. In colonial times, the war of independence (1775–1783) matched outnumbered groups of settlers that formed thirteen colonies who took up the cause of forming an independent government against the advancing British Empire. At the commencement of the war, the Colonial forces had no support from other European nations but as it progressed the fledgling country gained the assistance of powerful international allies such as Spain France, and the Netherlands. Initially, these countries secretly supplied the Americans with weapons and supplies necessary for their war efforts but in time, openly assisted them militarily. This took the war to an international platform and at its conclusion aided the young Continental Army in the defeat of the British. Weapons used during the battles were primarily muskets and cannons and other explosive devices, the flintlock pistol, along with swords and sabers.

During the fighting, a covenant between the thirteen established sovereign states that now made up the United States of America was written and put into effect as law. This document was formally named the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, now identified as The Articles of Confederation. This agreement drafted in mid-1776 by the Continental Congress and ratified by the states towards the end of 1777, functioned as the new country's first sanctioned Constitution.

Within Item VI of the Articles of Confederation it is defined that "every State shall always keep up a well-regulated and disciplined militia, sufficiently armed and accoutered, and shall provide and constantly have ready for use, in public stores, a due number of filed pieces and tents, and a proper quantity of arms, ammunition and camp equipage". This early text was later transformed into the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and was adopted on December 15, 1791, as one of the first of ten amendments which encompassed the Bill of Rights. Simply put, the verbiage was edited to read "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."

This phraseology has come to be the basis for most modern debate regarding issues of gun safety and control and its interpretation has come under scrutiny throughout its existence.

In 1871 the National Rifle Association was founded by General George Wingate and Colonel William C. Church who were both Union soldiers. The goal of the organization was originally to "promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis." The newly formed organization's first president was General Ambrose Burnside, who was a veteran of the Civil War, former governor of Rhode Island and a U.S. Senator.
In present day politics, the NRA has become one of the largest and most powerful, influential lobbying groups in Washington. Millions of dollars are spent by the group annually in their attempt to get politicians that are found to be like-minded and favorable to their views voted into office. Over the past hundred years they have sustained a record of swaying legislators in their voting patterns for or against proposed firearm bills. Leaders of the organization submit that they're "America's longest-standing civil rights organization." Membership had swelled to over 5 million by the end of 2013. Another slogan stated by Wayne LaPierre, the NRA's current president is "The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun." This quote was delivered after the Sandy Hook massacre during the height of public sentiment turning toward stricter gun control legislation. The organization has recently been in the spotlight as new gun control legislation has been proposed due to the rash of violent mass murders and massacres since the onset of the twenty-first century.

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