The issue of gun control has had various debates and arguments for those who support and those against stricter laws of gun ownership. In reality, the Second Amendment within the United States constitution is responsible for the issues of gun control. In this respect, this part of the constitution is interpreted by many that people have a right to acquiring and owning a gun. The gun control laws are there to ensure that citizens who get access to guns are using them safely and appropriately not for criminal activities. It is, however, clear from Small Arms Survey that today, there are about 88 firearms for every 100 citizens within the United States. Many cases of gun-related crimes and fatalities have been reported within the country which indicates that public access to guns may be more harmful than beneficial. In this way, society should understand the importance of gun control laws and limiting access to citizens that access guns while addressing arguments opposing them as a way of saving lives.
Background of the Study
Gun violence is a common phenomenon in American society and the National Victimization Survey showed that 467, 321 people died in 2011 as a result of criminal activities using firearms. The FBI generated a report in 2011 that testified that 68% of homicides and 41% of violent robberies, as well as 21% of aggravated attacks, are done using guns. In addition, handguns are the most common firearms that are used in criminal activities especially homicides committed each year. This research shows that gun violence is a reality within society and many people use them to intimidate victims. It is also clear that most handguns are involved in criminal activities like assault, in various threats that are done without injury, and in many cases of rape or robbery (Zimring 723).
Gun ownership is another apparent issue in the United States with findings showing that more than 200 million firearms were in private ownership in the 1990s. Through the years guns among private ownership have increased especially due to the creation of new households and more wealthy people who needed to acquire firearms. In other areas, the increasing crime rates within the country motivated citizens who initially did not have guns to acquire them in a bid to seek protection. It is evident however that the reason that people own guns is more related to crime rates compared to having more wealth. Nonetheless, it is also evident that many firearms, specifically long guns are acquired for recreational activities like hunting which is not related to crime. Additionally, research indicates that as guns among private ownerships increased, they also grew tremendously among criminals and individuals with violent personas than in other groups of people. These “high risk” groups are barely represented and this is how gun ownership in private hands continued to be constant in the 1980s.
Evidence to Support Gun Control
Gun control is important because the many guns accessible to people make it easier for many of those in possession or criminals to injure and even kill others. This is clearly shown in the statistics that more than 60% of murder cases witnesses in the United States involve firearms. In 1989, the use of firearms injured more than 70,000 Americans most of whom ended up with permanent scars like disabilities. Additionally, gun murders are common in the heat of the moment and many people die from such encounters with firearms. It is clear that many non-lethal gun injuries are witnessed often because firearm shootings are high. In this way, gun control is important to minimize the access of guns to private owners and especially criminals. In reality, the presence of a gun makes it easier to kill or injure someone than when there is none, especially for instantaneous attacks. When there are stricter gun control laws it is easier to reduce crime-related violence since if the firearms are unavailable, it is definite that they would not be used. In addition, if owning guns becomes illegal, it would be easier for law enforcement agencies to arrest potential criminals before they get a chance to commit a crime (Valdez 43).
It is also necessary to control guns in the public because of the many suicide cases that are being reported. In reality, research shows that homes and residents in which there is a gun have a 5 times more possibility of experiencing a suicide than in houses where there are no firearms. It is a fact that people who live in houses with guns and someone has suicidal thoughts, a gun would be the easiest object to use for committing the act. It is evident that suicide occurs easily when there access to a gun among people who have strong emotions of fury, depression, and those who are hooked on drugs or even alcohol (Carter 9).
When guns are easily accessible in the home, people who may be mentally disturbed can easily use them to injure or kill others. Despite the fact the person can use other means to injure or harm others, it would be appropriate and safe to remove the access to a lethal weapon like a gun that is easy to operate and kill fast. Most of the mentally unstable people in the home need to receive treatment but also removing lethal weapons like guns minimizes the chance of suicide deaths (Carter 99).
High numbers of guns accessible to people do not create a safe environment but instead increase the chances of death by firearms. It is not the duty of the citizens to protect themselves from criminals since there are law enforcement agencies with resources and capabilities. There are many cases of robberies where guns are stolen from the house and such criminals use these guns to cause damage elsewhere. If the guns are not kept in the house, then it would not be possible for criminals to access them to cause damage to innocent citizens. The California strict laws on gun control ensure this security for citizens because they are protected by the state or federal security. California does not have any provision within the state constitution which requires or warrants citizens the right of possessing or acquiring firearms. This strict law is effective in ensuring that citizens have less access to guns and therefore, many criminals do not easily have access to guns. In addition, the law enforcers are able to arrest many people with illegal firearms because the law gives these provisions that minimize guns in the public hands (Kaplan and Olga 1730).
Against Gun Control Arguments
The opponents of gun control laws cite self-defense as the major reason why Americans should be armed. It is actually true that there are self-defense benefits to having a weapon than when there is none. Evidence shows that victims of criminal invasions who defend themselves are much more likely to avoid being injured than those who have none. A criminal or invader in most cases would hesitate to raid a home that one knows keeps a gun than a house that has no defense tools. In essence, statistics show that in 33% of victims that get injured during an attack, about 25% did not resist and get harmed while only 17% of those that defend themselves receive any injuries. In assault victims that defend themselves, the injury rates are around 30%, 27% as well as 12% respectively (Jacobs and Burger 14).
In addition to this, many Americans know that criminals have access to guns and they feel the need to have some kind of protection. When guns are at the hands of responsible citizens, who know how to keep and use them safely, it becomes a necessity in society. This is because many are able to protect their families and wealth from intruders or criminals who invade without warning. It is important to realize that guns can be used responsibly in a way that ensures the safety of families and society at large (Jacobs and Burger 14).
Refuting the Opposing Argument
It is clear from the information discussed above that keeping a gun within the home is more likely to cause an injury or kill a member than when there is none. Despite the fact that guns are used for self-defense the risk of owning a gun in the house creates possibilities of accidents and improper use at large. This can have serious consequences given the fact that criminals employ the element of surprise in most invasions and in many cases victims are unable to defend themselves (Blendon, John and David 1719).
Additionally, it is clear that there thousands of firearms that are gotten from theft and robbery every year in America. These guns come from private hands and fall into the hands of criminals who do harm to others in society. There are many cases reported by the FBI that indicate that most violent and criminal offenses are done using stolen firearms. If the guns were not sold to the public in the first place, it would be easier to protect many victims of gun crime. When guns are restricted, it definitely becomes difficult for criminals to get them easily as opposed to when they are readily available to the public. The legally sold guns are the same ones that are stolen by criminals from innocent victims and they end up engaging in violent activities. In this way, the guns are no longer for self-defense but an easy way for criminals to access them (Blendon, John and David 1719).
The idea of gun control laws has become a major issue of debate in American society. It is evident that the Second Amendment is the part of the constitution that deals with these laws and it are interpreted as giving a right for citizens to access guns. Statistics show that many violent crimes and assaults occur through firearms and this is why stricter gun control laws need to be devised. The easy availability of guns in the public makes it easier for criminals to access them – it is one of against gun control Arguments. Opponents of gun control argue that people need them for self-defense but this also means that criminals steal them often to use in violating the law.
Carter, Gregg. Gun Control in the United States: A Reference Handbook. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO, 2006. Print.
Blendon, Robert J., John T. Young, and David Hemenway. “The American public and the gun control debate.” JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association 275.22 (1996): 1719-1722.
Jacobs, James, and Burger, Warren. Can Gun Control Work? Great Clarendon Street, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print.
Kaplan, Mark S., and Olga Geling. “Firearm suicides and homicides in the United States: regional variations and patterns of gun ownership.” Social science & medicine 46.9 (1998): 1227-1233.
Valdez, Angela. Gun Control. New York: Infobase Publishing, 2009. Print.
Zimring, Frank. “Is gun control likely to reduce violent killings?.” The University of Chicago Law Review (1968): 721-737.