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For quite sometime now, the question about whether or not to legalize the possession of weapons in the US has been hotly discussed by both sides of a discussion that is passionately committed to their opinion. The topic has also made its way to American politics, where the liberal position on the issue is objectively examined and considered during the elections (Lott 17). Would the second amendment stipulate that civilians should retain their own guns for the defense today? Is it morally right for people to buy a gun and use it whenever it is necessary? Why possess weapons of protection while the body is charged with defending citizens? These questions have been thrown back and forth between pro and anti-gun users and will probably continue for quite some time owing to the sensitivity of the issue (Carter 13). But the question remains, should we or should we not legalize the use of guns?
Opponents of free ownership and use of guns cite the numerous gun accidents witnessed throughout the US. There are incidents where careless gun owners leave their guns loaded, and children with their innocence mistake them for toys and injure themselves and others. According to Carter, four people die each day from accidental gun accidents that can be avoided through strict gun control (47). The ease of access to guns can be attributed to increased suicides, where the gun is used as the murder weapon. Additionally, study shows that states that have relaxed gun control policies have huge levels of homicide cases, factors that are directly attributed to the ease of access to guns (Snyderv). Proponents of strict gun control policies often cite the numerous cases of mass murders in the US, where the gun was used, including the Orlando and the California mass shootings. This leads to the postulation that these murders could be avoided if there were strict gun control policies (Lott 23).
Besides accidents and homicides, proponents of strict gun policies argue that the ease of access to guns leads to increased gun crime. In most cases, most gun crimes are violent and often lead to death. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the privately held guns in the US have killed more people than the civil war, and more than those killed by terrorists and terrorists-related activities (Lott 28). According to proponents of strict gun control argue that these horrifying gun-related death statistics can be avoided by enforcing strict gun control policies. They argue that though strict policies would not eliminate guns in the US, they would significant reduce their access, which will translate to decreased gun related accidents, suicides, mass murders and other crimes (Carter 67).
Opponents of strict gun control policies argue that gun ownership is entrenched in the US Constitution by the second amendment. The second amendment candidly states that the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed; thus denying the people their right to own guns is a contravention of the constitution (Lott 35). The opponents of strict gun policies argue that the gun in the United States are used eighty times more in preventing crimes than they are used to take lives and advance crimes. According to the FBI, a considerable number of women bear arms to protect themselves against sexual crimes and unwanted sexual advancement, while more than 200,000 people have reported having used guns to thwart crime in their backyard (FBI). As such, imposing strict gun ownership policies will not reduce but increase the levels of crimes in the country. The policies will make it difficult but not impossible for criminals to get guns, leaving the citizens powerless and without the tools to protect themselves against criminals as has been the case (O'Neill 27).
According to opponents of strict gun control policies cite the case of Kennesaw and Georgia, whose crime rates dropped with more than fifty per cent over a period of twenty there years after they passed a policy that required every home to own a gun. This is used to evidence that gun ownership reduce (not increase) crime rate (O'Neill 34). Additionally, countries such as Australia have witnessed increased armed robberies and murders by 69% and 19% respectively after instituting strict gun control policies (FBI). Thus, imposing strict gun control policies does not reduce but rather exacerbate gun-related crimes. Additionally, suicide by other means such as overdose and poisoning supersede suicide using guns; thus it is not true to argue that access to guns increases rates of suicide (Lott 48).
According to research, though a gun is in many times used to advance crime, it is a tool that citizens use to protect themselves against criminals. It gives potential crime victims the willpower to resists all forms of crime directed towards them. As such, countries that allow free ownership of guns have a significantly low number of crimes as compared with countries with strict gun control policies (Lott 56). For instance, the UK, which has strict gun control policies than the US has 125% and 133% rape and assault cases than the US. Additionally, the UK is the fourth in the world gun murders per 100,000 people compared with the US, which is number twenty-eight in the world in gun murders per 100,000 people (FBI). This evidences that crime rate is negatively correlated with the strictness of instituted gun policies. Additionally, it cannot be argued that ease of access to guns is to blame for mass murders as evidence show that a majority of gun mass murders occur in states that have strict gun ownership policies. For instance, despite having some of the most strict gun control policies, the UK is home to the three most horrendous school shootings in Europe (Snyderv)
Bearing the importance of guns in fighting crimes, together with the fact that there is a rise in crime rate in the US at this time when the police to citizen ratio is at its lowest, it is only fair that every citizen that has attained the legal age is allowed to own firearms for personal protection. However, there is need to make an in-depth background check before selling guns to the citizens, followed by basic training on safety precautions for holding guns. This will help reduce the number of gun-related accidents, and most importantly, limit the use of guns to personal protection rather than for criminal activities.
Carter, Gregg L. Gun Control in the United States: A Reference Handbook. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO, 2006. Print.
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). FBI Releases Preliminary Semi-annual Crime Statistics for 2015. 2016.Web. Nov.15, 2016. < https://www.fbi.gov/news/pressrel/press-releases/fbi-releases-preliminary-semiannual-crime-statistics-for-2015
Lott, John R. More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun-Control Laws. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010. Print
O'Neill, Terry. Gun Control. San Diego, Calif: Greenhaven Press, 2000. Print.
Snyderv Michael. 18 Little-Known Gun Facts That Prove That Guns Make Us Safer. Infowars. 2016. Web. http://www.infowars.com/18-little-known-gun-facts-that-prove-that-guns-make-us-safer/
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