Instructor`s name 24/04/2014
Shouldthe United States need to strengthen the guns control in order toreduce violence?
Throughouthistory, the United States culture has been perceived as a ‘gunculture’. This is from the trend in gun ownership, use as well asportrayal of guns in the media, movies as well as in video games(Lott 1). Further Lott cites that in 2009, America’s household of124 million people controlled 270 million firearms (1). This is morethan a quarter of the world’s total number of guns.Unfortunatelythe gun culture in the U.S has come at a price the United States hasexperienced gun violence of the worst nature through time. The mostmemorable ones such as the Columbine High Shooting in the end of the20th century, gun attack involving two youngsters in Washington DC in2002, the shocking Colorado movie theatre shooting, the 2012 shootingat Newtown elementary school to the recent U.S Navy yard attack where13 civilians were killed, continue to fuel the debate on gun control.This is in addition to several homicide, suicide, murders as well asother violent crimes happening every day across the country. Guncontrol is simply the act of regulating the sale and use of guns in acountry. With the shocking statistics of violence in the country,there is great interest in strengthening gun control to reduceviolence associated with guns.
Agun is a sophisticated weapon that is dangerous not only to otherpeople but to the user. In most cases of homicides, guns have beenused to perpetuate the violence. The increased availability of gunsin the hands of civilians has made guns accessible to dangeroushands. The Second Amendment provides every individual with the rightto protection, thus possessing a gun. As such, America is home ofmore than a quarter of guns in the world. According to Doeden, itbecomes very easy for guns to fall in the wrong hands, if they arenot regulated (78). Gun control is meant to ensure that guns arepossessed and used by authorized individuals including those whoselives may be threatened and those in fatal mission, all of whom mustbe sane. The atrocities committed using guns in the country isrelated to guns being in the hands of criminals and other undeservingcitizens including the mentally unfit, children and people withhistory of violence such as domestic violence perpetrators. Forinstance, the rising teenage shooting incidences in schools such asthe Columbine High shooting is linked to gun availability in thecountry.
Theexisting gun control policies that were enacted in the 60’s arevery lenient enabling most people to access guns regardless of theirpast records, age or mental health status. Most of the teenagers forexample access these guns from their parents as they are readilyavailable or may acquire them from the streets as there is readymarket for guns and lose gun control. Perpetrators are also able tocarry guns comfortably to their target as there is minimal regulationon possession of guns and their use. For instance, students caneasily carry guns to school or any other public places including inparties. Mr. Dan Gross, the president of the Brady Campaign toPrevent Gun Violence in a rejoinder to the Colorado movie theatremassacre said “Thistragedy is another grim reminder that guns are the enablers of masskillers and that our nation pays an unacceptable price for ourfailure to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people” (Hughes,N.P).
Besides,the weak gun control policies in the country are the result ofincreased rate of crime in the United States. Guns play a criticalrole in crime including in drug related crimes where drug lords andtheir kingdom use gun violence to gain control over a certain market.Cases of rape, kidnappings, and robberies are executed with guns(Lott 12). With continued failure to implement stringent gun control,the U.S will continue experiencing gun violence and other relatedcrimes. Though some believe gun control should be aimed atcontrolling illegal guns, criminals also use legal guns taken fromlegal owners to commit a crime, which is another reason why guncontrol should be tightened to ensure guns in circulation areminimal. Opponents of gun control cite the gun culture as theproblem, arguing that rather than gun control, the government andstakeholders should address the greater issue. Whereas the U.S gunculture is partly to blame for the killings and crimes that happenyear round, the solution lies in tightening gun control.
Gunshave been known to cause accidents and lead to injuries and deaths.Every year, 30 people die in the U.S by being accidently shot by gunowners who view their victims as a threat. As stated in NYAGV (N.P),between 2005 and 2010 more than 3,800 people died by being accidentlyshot by legal gun owners. A third of this number was below the age of25. These innocent lives are lost due to gun availability, which canonly be controlled by tightening gun ownership and use in thecountry.
TheSecond Amendment has been widely cited by opponents of gun control,as it allows people the right to self protection if they feelvulnerable. This stipulation has allowed millions of individuals topossess and use guns. Most people acquire guns both legally andillegally which allows an individual to control more than one weapon.The unregulated firearms among the U.S populace have only proved tobe precarious. As argued by the U.S Attorney General, Erick Holder,the average number of massacres in the country, perpetrated by gunshas increased three fold in the recent years (RT N.P). The AGreported that, the period between 2000 and 2008 the number ofshootings has increased from a yearly average of five shootings to analarming 12 shootings in the year 2013, which is a reflection of theincreasing guns in circulation in the U.S (Andres and Hempstead 4).Since the U.S constitution respects human life, anything that putsthe lives of its citizens at risk is highly condemned and that shouldinclude guns.
Asstated earlier in the paper, lack of strong gun control policies isresponsible for guns that end up in the hands of undeservingpopulation, including children, teenagers, people of questionablecharacter, mentally unstable persons, as well as criminals.Tightening gun control will make it difficult for people who have illmotives to access guns, hence reduce massacres, suicides, homicidesand other crimes committed using guns. Establishing tight gun controlmeasures for individuals seeking to own a gun including strictcertification procedures, banning ownership of automatic forcivilians, restricting the size of magazine or the number ofammunitions that one can have at a time, can largely help manage thiskillings and other crimes.
Accordingto studies, the United States is one of the most unsafe places in theworld in regard to careless killings. The whole world understands theAmerican culture as a gun culture as depicted in the media. Thequestion that lingers in one’s mind is why other countries have norampant cases of gun violence. The answer is obvious there is highnumber of guns in circulation among the population than in any othercountry.
InGreat Britain, a shooting episode in 1996 at Dunblane elementaryschool in Scotland led to a campaign against gun control. Theperpetrator used two legitimately owned semi automatic hand guns tokill innocent children and their teachers. The intensive campaigncompelled the government to enact stringent gun regulation in GreatBritain two years after the incidence. Despite cases of homicidebeing rare in Great Britain, this particular incidence accounted for25 percent of all the incidences concerning homicide, the peopleraised their voices to put an end to such violent cases in thefuture. This led to the ban on handguns in the country. Even thoughthere was no significant drop in crime, Scotland experienced a dropin gun related crimes since 1998 and toady the rates are just a thirdof the 1996 rate, when the incident that led to policy changeoccurred (North 192). The results were incredible. The general fallin crime in Great Britain is enough proof of the effects of guncontrol. In focus on this trend in Great Britain, North argues that“Ifthere had been a drift towards an “American-style” gun culture inthe 1990s the handgun ban stopped it” (192). The U.S should borrowa leaf from Great Britain. There should be no conflict between gunrights and safety in the country, as seen in the balance between thetwo in Great Britain.
Similarlythe U.S could learn from its closest ally, Australia. In a similarshooting episode to that in Scotland, a young man opened fire in acafé and other six locations using his semi automatic rifle killingnearly 100 people and injuring many others (Schifrin N.P). The thenAustralian Prime Minister, John Howard was compelled by the peoplewho had had enough of the killings to introduce stringent guncontrol. The control exercise involved buying back guns from thepublic to disarm them and introduction of new policies includingtightening of gun ownership registration, banning automatic rifles,and introducing national uniform registration measures. As expected,the results were just like in Great Britain. Today, the risk of dyingfrom gun related incidence has been cut by half since theimplementation of gun control 18 years ago. This makes Australia thesafest place in the globe with very rare incidences of shootings(Schifrin N.P). America should also follow suit, and join GreatBritain and Australia in gun control and ensure the safety of itscitizens.
Inanother view, politicians have always kept off the debate of guncontrol. It is almost a taboo to engage in gun control debate amongcandidates seeking office in the U.S. this is because majority ofthem believe that they will lose support from the people and thus notget elected into office. In the bid for their re-election ofincumbent president Obama, the question of gun control was vaguelyanswered during debates. This fear is further fueled by the NationalRifle Association which is a very influential organization in thecountry. NRA has over the years fought to maintain the status quo ongun possession, using the Second Amendment as their greatest weapon.On the contrary, the U.S citizens are concerned about the weak guncontrol policies. This is a fact confirmed by studies by John HopkinsCenter for Gun Control (Davi 1545). From the study, the authorconfirms that politiciansneed to know three major things: that there is strong support forpolicies seeking to keep guns off-hands of high-risk persons thereforms are constitutional and that the policies would save thelives of innocent citizens (1545). Hence it is very clear that mostpeople are for gun control and the hype created by associations likethe National Rifle Association are for the interest of a fewindividuals.
Gunuse in the United States is obviously uncontrolled. Any responsiblegovernment must be able to control guns in circulation and gun usage.This include guns used for hunting purposes, banning gun possessionin public areas, including institutions of learning, places ofworship, social events or in public parks. Routine stops and searchexercises can assist in minimizing cases of criminals or illegal gunsare ferried through the country (Andres and Hampstead 2). Besides byenhancing gun control the U.S government will be able to account forthe number of guns in the hands of civilians through rigorouscertification process of gun ownership and use (5).
Guncontrol in the United States remains a hot debate. Stakeholders inthe gun control debate have posed various arguments in support oftheir arguments. This essay however takes a strong position for guncontrol to reduce gun-related violence in the country. The facts areclear. First, the United States has the highest number of guns, whichis the cause of the increased gun violence in the country. Secondlycountries such as Australia and Great Britain acted on singleincidences of mass killing and implemented gun control the resultsare overwhelmingly impressive as there has been significant gunviolence in these countries. Last but not least, loose gun control inthe States has enabled undeserving people to access guns and executesmurders.
Whereasopponents of gun control argue that the problem is not the number ofguns, but the gun culture, the problem clearly lies on gunavailability. Hence the solution for gun violence is control of thenumber of guns and gun use among the population. The murdersoccurring from gun violence in the U.S are worrying and if guncontrol is not exercised, the country is yet to experience moremurders. Politicians and other stakeholders need to realize the voiceof the people and face this issue with the seriousness it deserves.Those who use the Second Amendment as a scapegoat for lack of guncontrol should look at it in a more open minded way it also upholdshuman life, and hence any threat to life including guns is notencouraged by this law.
Andrés,Antonio and Hempstead, Katherine. Gun control and suicide: The impactof state firearm regulations in the United States, 1995–2004,Journalof Health Policy,101.1 (2011): 95-103.
Devi,Sharmila. "Researchers call for reform of US gun controlpolicies." TheLancet380.9853 (2012): 1545. Print.
Doeden,Matt. Guncontrol preventing violence or crushing constitutional rights.Minneapolis, MN: Twenty-First Century Books, 2012. Print.
Hughes,Trevor. Colorado shootings reignite gun control debate, USATODAY.Web. July 23,2012.http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2012-07-22/aurora-gun-control-debate/56419042/1(23/11/13)
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Lott,John. (2010). Moreguns, less crime: Understanding crime and gun-control laws.Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Print.
North,Michael J. "Gun control in Great Britain after the Dunblaneshootings." ReducingGun Violence in America. Informing Policy with Evidence and Analysis,Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, MA(2013): 185-93. Print.
NYAGV.Fact Sheet: Accidental Shootings. Web. 24/04/2014. <http://nyagv.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Accidental-Shootings-NYAGV.pdf>
RT.Averagenumber of mass shootings per year in US has tripled – AG Holder.October 21, 2013. Web.23/04/14.<http://rt.com/usa/holder-mass-shootings-triple-519/>
Schifrin,Nick. WillLessons From Down Under Stem the Undertaker Here?19/12/2012. Web. 24/04/2014.<http://abcnews.go.com/International/australia-model-successful-gun-control-laws/story?id=18007055#.UX7sRVJ4PIU>