Defense from criminals and danger is always the most important thing to all people. The increase in crime across the world has necessitated gun ownership for safety across the world. Many people are applying for personal guns to protect themselves from criminals. However, gun ownership has come under scrutiny. There have been suggestions that licensed gun owners may use their guns inappropriately. Children and other family members may also get access to the guns and use them wrongly. This has led to the gun-control act that tries to restrict gun ownership. This law is, in effect, in many parts of the world. Even with the gun-control policy, gun ownership is still faced with many controversies and challenges. The Gun-control policy has significant importance on the safety of people and ensuring that guns licensed are not used wrongly and addressing the challenges and controversies facing this policy will be imperative in meeting the objective of the safety of individuals, societies, and communities.
The Gun Control
Gun control is policies and laws that are designed to restrict gun ownership in a given jurisdiction. Most countries are concerned about the safety of the people. They license individuals to carry guns. Those licensed are supposed to use their guns for defense only. However, there are cases where the owners get the false alarms and use their guns out of panic. At the same time, there are some people who feel they are secure enough and threaten other people using the gun they obtained (Hemenway 1). Some licensed gun holders may also use their guns inappropriately and for criminal purposes. This has made it a challenge for the gun-control policies and lawmakers. They do not know who to trust and who not to trust.
The Current Policies, Regulations
Any person in any country across the world has right to a licensed gun. However, there are regulations that come with this. First, the applicant has to prove that they have never been involved in any criminal activities. Most governments have departments that are responsible for checking the history of a person. Once the applicant is cleared, they should be issued with a certificate to show that they have never been involved in criminal activities. Secondly, the applicant has to undergo a mental assessment and evaluation. Policymakers usually worry that a mentally ill person owning a gun can be disastrous to society and have to ensure that applicants are sane.
The third process involves providing reasons as to why the applicant would like to own a gun. In most countries, the applicant has to go to the nearest police station for an interview. Once they provide all the reasons why they would like to own a gun, a police board evaluates the application. It is discussed by that board and the decision made. It is important to note that the police have the right to disregard an applicant’s application without providing any reasons. If the police decide that the application is successful, the applicant has to prove that they know how to handle and use guns. If they do not know how to use it, they have to enroll in a class on the same. The class mayday a few days after which the applicant is provided with the gun and the permit. The newly licensed gun holder has to go through the requirements and conditions for using the gun (The New York Police Department 1).
The terms and conditions for gun application and the process differ from country to country. They also differ in different parts of an individual country, especially countries that have a state system. This also differs if the applicant requires large guns for hunting or other purposes.
The Gun Control Debate
There has been a gun-control debate for the last decades. Of course, some support gun ownership while others do not. Most people apply for gun ownership for self-defense purposes. They claim that there are times they may be in danger, and guns may be important in protecting them. For example, a person could be walking down a dark alley at night only to come across criminals. If they are defenseless, they are likely to be robbed and hurt. On the other hand, if they own a gun, they can draw it and shoot in the air to disperse the criminals. They do not have to shoot them. Most criminals would run away on realizing that a person has a gun without a second thought. However, most gun owners are more than willing to shoot their attackers and offenders (Cao 1).
The importance of guns in self-defense is appreciated by people across the world. Women, who are the most targets of criminal activities and defilement, have been fighting to be allowed to own guns. Guns have been known to be owned by men and women who feel they need to protect themselves. The calls have even been more intense in countries where there are high rape cases and aggression towards women. Guns could be important in the safety of women in such places. Women in even countries where crime rates are relatively low also claim that owning guns would be important for their safety (Malware and Price 1).
While individuals see gun ownership as a way of protection, the government and law enforcement agencies see it as a way of controlling illegal arms. There are people in the society that are very paranoid. Such people would do whatever it takes to feel secure. One weapon that would make such people to feel at ease is a gun. If laws are stringent or individuals are not allowed to won guns, such people would look for alternatives, usually illegally acquired guns. Most law agencies consider this fact and always ensure that people who do not have a history of criminal activity can apply for a gun (Moorhouse and Brent 1).
While gun ownership is a good thing for the individuals in the society, some experts claim that guns in homes are not good. They claim that the gun owners may react inappropriately at times leading to disaster. For example, a person who gets angry very fast may do something out of anger without even knowing. Such a person can draw a gun, shoot to kill himself or another person, and live to regret it forever (Namkug, et al 1). Psychologists agree that such people should not be allowed to own guns. There are many cases of such scenarios that have been reported all over the world. Such a person cannot be blamed as that is how they react when they are angry. Gun ownership has been linked to the high levels of homicide in the United States, for example (Nagourney 1).
Another issue of concern with gun ownership is access by other family members, especially the children and the youth. There are children and young people who are ever curious about what their parents have and what they do not have. Such children may look throughout the house, especially when their parents are not around. They may find guns and may try using them. Some children have been reported killing fellow children with guns. They may think that they are not harmful and play with them and end up killing another child (Barrett 1).
There are children and young people who have gone berserk and used their parents’ guns for killing their fellow children. There are many cases in especially United States where children and young people have gone on a shooting spree in their schools killing many students and teachers and injuring many. There are at least two to three such cases in the United States alone every year. This has come to a shock to many including parents, administrators, law enforcement agencies and the international community (ABC News).
The gun-control policy has faced many controversies in its existence in many places across the world. In the United States, there are several issues that have emerged on gun control policies that have led to a lot of controversies. Recently, there were claims that most African Americans’ applications to own guns are disregarded. It was deemed that most of them are criminals, and they would eventually use the guns for robberies and other illegal activities. These comments aroused a national debate that is yet to be addressed comprehensively. Some claim that these comments were racism while others stated that the comments were relatively true (O’Brien, et al 1).
In 2012, the Supreme Court in Colorado allowed students and staff to carry concealed guns within school premises. This was in the wake of the Virginia Tech Institute mass killing. Experts and law makers from other states in the United States and other places in the world could not believe this. They claimed that this was putting more students in danger. After all, it could not be determined who could be issued with a gun ownership license and who could not. In fact, it was reported that there were massive flaws in carrying out background checks on the students and staff putting many more in danger (Cage 1).
Addressing Controversies and challenges
With these challenges and controversies, the relevant government institutions and law enforcement agencies should work to address them. These organizations should focus on generalized security. This can be done by improving the law enforcement and recruiting more staff for protecting the society. The American government has been working towards such a model, for example. The number of gun ownership has been decreasing as a result. People do not see the need to apply for guns if they are feeling secure. With enhanced polices and gun control policies; the number of guns can be controlled effectively, and the number of gun-related deaths would decrease as well (Violence Policy Center 1). Recent data indicate that the number of deaths related to shootings has decreased considerably thanks to this law. Number of gun-related deaths was lowest in 2012 in a span of a hundred years (Lapierre 2).
Gun control is very important to the modern society. Ownership of guns is important for individual safety and security. However, guns can be used for illegal activities putting the entire society in danger. Reforms in the gun-control policies and enhanced security in the society and city can play an important role in reducing the number of guns owned by people and risks associated with it. Individuals, the society and the government should work together to improve this policy and the security of the people in any given jurisdiction.
ABC News. America’s worst mass shootings: timeline, 17 September 2013. Web. 09 November 2013.
Barrett, Paul. Guns, Children, and Accidents: Four Blunt Points. 30 September 2013. Web. 09 November 2013.
Cage, Fielding. Gun laws in the US: seven things you need to know about the data. 16 January 2013. Web. 09 November 2013.
Cao, Liqun, Et al. “Willingness to shoot: Public attitudes toward defensive gun use”. Journal of Criminal Justice, 2002: 85-109. Print.
Hemenway, David, Et al. “Are guns used more by US civilians for self-defense or for intimidation? / Commentary”. Western Journal of Medicine, Jun 2001: 396. Print.
Jacobson, Louis. Wayne LaPierre of NRA says “fatal firearms accidents are at the lowest level in 100 years”. 30 January 2013. Web. 09 November 2013.
Manware, Mellissa and Price, Mark. “For self-defense, women take up firearms: As violence rises, so does female gun use, advocates say”. Knight Ridder Tribune Business News, 09 Apr 2006: 1. Print.
Moorhouse, John and Brent, Warner. “Does gun control reduce crime or does crime increase gun control?” Cato Journal, 2006, 103-124. Print.
Namkug, Kim, Et al. “Altitude, Gun Ownership, Rural Areas, and Suicide.” The American Journal of Psychiatry, Jan 2011: 49-54. Print.
Nagourney, Eric. Gun Ownership Linked to Higher Homicide Rates. New York Times, 2007:1. Print.
O’Brien, K. et al. “Racism, Gun Ownership, and Gun Control: Biased Attitudes in US Whites May Influence Policy Decisions: e77552.” PLoS One
The New York Police Department.” Permits | Handgun Licensing Information.” N.d. Web. 09 November 2013.
Violence Policy Center. “Household Gun Ownership Hits New Low – Fewer Than One Out of Three American Households Has a Gun.” U.S Newswire, 2011. Print.