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The Second Amendment of the United States. The Constitution applies to the defense of the right to carry and retain weapons of fire. There has been much criticism of the amendment, especially with the recent rise in mass shootings seen across the United States. The criticism has led to the rise of movements that advocate tougher laws for gun regulation, whilst other groups promote the notion that a better America is assured by more weapons. Around 170 million new arms have been purchased by Americans since 1990. (Chappell). Gun-related murders, on the other hand, declined dramatically between 1993 and 2011, a factor primarily due to the increased possession of weapons in the U.S. The number of murders was estimated in 1993 at 18,253, while in 2011, the number was approximately 11,101 (Chappell). Moreover, firearm crimes declined from 1.5million in 1993 to approximately 467,300 in 2011. Despite the fact that the U.S. population grew significantly between 1993 and 2010, 1993 remains the year that the U.S. recorded the highest number of homicides; however, the rate in 2010 is estimated at 49% lower than in 1993 (Chappell). Other gun-related crimes, including robberies, assaults, and robberies are estimated at 75% lower in 2011 as compared to 1993 (Chappell).
Although increased gun ownership demonstrated a substantial decline in gun-related crimes between 1993 and 2011, the emergence of mass shootings in 2012 brought about the debate of whether more guns can increase the safety of the American citizens. Since the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting in 2012, the U.S. has experienced approximately 1,518 mass shootings (Congress.gov). In 2017, approximately 11,600 deaths were linked to gun violence, while in 2016, gun violence caused the death of approximately 15,000 people, with 383 mass shootings. The U.S. is currently ranked first based on firearm per capita, with approximately 88.8 guns for every 100 people (Chappell). The U.S. also demonstrates the highest firearm homicides among the developed countries. The problem of gun violence is currently considered the third cause of death for children in the United States, with approximately 1,297 children dying from gun injuries each year. Further, the U.S. records approximately 33,000 gun related deaths each year, where approximately two-thirds of the deaths comprise of suicides (Congress.gov).
Gun advocates maintain that mass shootings, crimes, and murders occur in the American society due to lack of sufficient guns in all places. Thus, they argue that arming more people with more with guns would minimize gun violence, since criminals would be scared to cause trouble if they are aware that guns are surrounding them. However, gun control supporters argue that more guns increase violence mainly citing the recent mass shootings. However, there is no evidence demonstrating that gun control lowers the rate of crime as illustrated by the Congress, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Academy of Sciences, and the National Institute of Justice (NRA-ILA). Similarly, the FBI has not listed gun control as one of the elements that define the level and type of crime. For instance, between 2011 and 2015, approximately 169,395 gun related deaths were recorded; however, unlike the popular idea of the gun control supporters that most firearm deaths involve criminals who target innocent individuals, approximately 62%, 105,183 deaths, during the period were suicides.
Therefore, based on the available information about the relationship between gun ownership and gun-related deaths, restrictions on legal gun ownership cannot guarantee safety for the American people. The idea is illustrated by the gun-related crimes statistics, which demonstrate a significant drop in the firearm crimes since 1993, despite more people acquiring new guns. The Second Amendment demonstrates efficiency in curbing crime in the U.S. However, the interpretation of the Amendment remains unclear, since while some consider the Amendment as an individual right, similar to the freedom of speech and religion among other rights, others argue that the Amendment does not demonstrate an unlimited gun ownership right, since such restrictions as prohibiting people from carrying guns in sensitive places such as schools and prohibiting mentally ill persons from carrying guns have always existed.
The misunderstanding of the requirements of the Second Amendment has play a great role in encouraging gun crimes in the U.S., whereby there are many instances of negligent gun issuance, where most states fail to employ sufficient background checks on individuals before legally issuing them with guns, since they consider gun ownership as an individual right (Chappell). The high cases of gun suicides are closely linked with individuals suffering from depression and other mental disorders, such as war veterans, indicating that proper examinations were not conducted before issuing such individuals with guns. Such cases demonstrate a minimal threat to the larger population since they involve individuals committing suicide, illustrating that such individuals may still commit suicide even in the absence of guns. However, mentally ill individuals also pose a threat to the safety of the community, and there is need to conduct sufficient checks on individuals before the issuance of firearms. Therefore, there is need to enhance the clarity of the Amendment by stating the exceptions for gun ownership and the elements that should be examined before issuing guns.
In conclusion, although the Second Amendment is considered effective in minimizing gun violence in the U.S., the Amendment fails to include exceptions for gun ownership as well as measures for controlling illegal guns. Illegal guns are largely associated with such crimes as robbery and illegal drug activities, which are a major cause of death in the U.S. However, statistics on crime demonstrate that gun ownership by the right individuals plays a critical role in minimizing crime, indicating that the proposition that more guns lead to more crimes is flawed because the number of people holding guns is not as important as the nature of people holding the guns in predicting gun violence. Therefore, to make America safe, it is crucial for the responsible authorities to ensure that guns are only owned by the rightful individuals by first amending the Second Amendment to ensure clarity regarding the persons that should own guns.
Chappell, Bill. "Rate Of U.S. Gun Violence Has Fallen Since 1993, Study Says." NPR.Org, 2017, https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2013/05/07/181998015/rate-of-u-s-gun-violence-has-fallen-since-1993-study-says.
Congress.gov. "Congressional Record." Congress.Gov, 2017, https://www.congress.gov/congressional-record/2017/10/2/extensions-of-remarks-section/article/E1304-1.
NRA-ILA. "NRA-ILA | Crime | Criminal Justice." National Rifle Association Of America, Institute For Legislative Action, 2017, https://www.nraila.org/issues/crime-criminal-justice/.
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