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Until 1968, pistols, shotguns, rifles, and ammunition were widely available over the counter and by mail order catalogs and magazines to every adult anywhere in the country. However, America's tradition of federal and state legislation governing the private possession of guns dates back to 1971. The topic of gun control stimulates a heated and escalated controversy wherever it appears. The lack of common ground on this subject is the elephant in the room; this is due to a lack of studies in this field. This right is protected by the Second Amendment to the United State Constitution which states that "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." This amendment has come under sharp scrutiny and criticism after the death rate rises under this lethal weapon of high damage coefficient. This weapon is dangerous when wielded by the wrong individuals. The understanding level is of great importance when it comes to addressing an issue of such magnitude of gun control. To make the best decision for the constituents, decision makers need as much information as possible. The decision to remove a person's right to arm and defend themselves should not be taken lightly. There has to be an in-depth analysis that aims to further the goal of providing information to those who need it.
Some studies have concluded that robbery rates have not been affected by the right to carry policies (Valle, p.585). From 2009, research established that in the United States, murders that were committed with firearm represented 67% (Hoskin p.125). It is evident that it is very difficult to determine the exact deterrence level that the right to carry firearms have on levels of violent crime without biases. However, gun control proponents affirm that strict gun control policies lower violent crime in many areas throughout the world. For instance, Since 1920 England has adopted more stringent gun restrictions until 1997 when handguns were banned completely. Under these progressive restrictions, English violence progressively increased. Today England has the second highest violent crime rates in Europe.
Policy analysis concerning the gun restricting policies in England and the effect those policies had on crime rates (Malcon, p.25). The overall crime rates in the United States was also looked by the author which has much less restrictive gun regulation policies, including allowing citizens to (Malcolm, p.177) carry concealed weapons to protect themselves. England has adopted restrictive gun control over the last eight years until they eventually banned all handguns. The study highlighted that from 1997 up to the date the article was written England had banned all handguns; handgun crime has more than doubled. In 2002, the author stated that crime with banned handguns had increased by forty-six percent (Malcolm, p.176). Although America's rates of murder have been higher, England's murder rates are now converging on the United States murder rates as discussed by the author. Over the last ten years (Malcolm, p.177), America's murder rates have been decreasing, and England's murder rates have been increasing.
The fact that England had enjoyed low violent crime rates before and during the time in which they adopted strict gun control policy and that even though proponents of gun control have often credited (Malcolm p.178) their gun control policy for low crime rates, the rates were low, to begin with. England experiences large amount of gun crime in which the guns have been illegally obtained as a result of tight gun control policy as stated by the author (Malcolm, p.176). Due to the gun control policies, there are large amounts of illegal guns, faced with a perpetrator possessing a gun; law-abiding citizens have little to no means of protecting themselves (Malcolm, P.185). Loosening gun restrictions may not reduce violent crime, but it will afford the opportunity for law-abiding citizens to be able to protect themselves, their families and homes (Malcolm, p.187). The police have the responsibility to protect life and property but the ration of police to civilians is not one to one and therefore citizens can come in and help our men and women in the service.
Stell (2004 ) researched the purpose of strict gun control policy and its relation to gun scarcity. The period between 1982 and 2001, 77, 361, 013 firearms (Stell, p. 42) were produced by American gun manufacturers and out of that produce only 161, 674 were exported; the rest were consumed by the American society. With the fact that thirty-four different states adopted right to carry policies within this time frame and the amount of guns sold in America, Then violent death by firearms should have been high during this period because the gun scarcity lowers violent crime. According to Stell (2004, p.43), the data during this period showed that death by firearm in America remained around the 70% rate that has always remained steady. Strict gun policy does not necessarily lead to low crime rate, there are so many other factors that contribute to homicide and other crimes.
A study conducted by Kasprzak(2013) researching at the illegal possession of weapons in Poland and the motives for the crime. There are between 300 and 500 units of illegally possessed firearms and ammunition according to Kasprzak (2013, p.148) in the hands of individuals within Poland. Most of the time the perpetrator who possess an illegal firearm or ammunition was a male between the ages of twenty-one to forty years of age and lived in large cities (Kasprzak, p. 151). Possession of illegal weapons or ammunition is not necessarily a social threat however the crime can be a huge liability when they are used for the commission of homicide or other violent crimes. An illegally possessed weapon would be good tool to carry out the crime such as homicide robbery and assaults; this is the most fundamental reason for an individual to illegally possess a weapon (Kasprzak, p. 152). Poaching is also another reason for the perpetrators to illegally possess weapons, other reason is to collect renovate and sell the weapons for profit (Kasprzak, p. 153). Poland maintains strict gun control policy allowing individuals to possess certain firearms such as for hunting only if they obtain a license which requires a valid purpose for obtaining the license (Kasprzak, 2013, p. 150&152). Strict gun control policy can lead to many illegal fire arms in the hands of citizen which can be lethal if it's in the hand of wrong people. Crime rates can increase because the perpetrator can get away because they are certain they cannot be caught because the guns are not registered.
In conclusion, it's high time for citizens to have a roundtable discussion about gun control. One of the obstacles of initiating such discussions is the fixation on the right to bear arms clause in the Bill of rights. However, it should not be the focus of discussion instead we should examine the human rights claim that people make to justify their owning the gun and limit the discussion to the most insidious claim. The self-defense category which allows us to protect ourselves from bodily harm is a basic right that we all can claim and law-abiding citizens should be allowed to possess weapon appropriate to that end. The type of weapon to be possessed should be based on weapon damage coefficient and the minimum force necessary to produce a result.
Chapman, S. S. (2006). Australia's 1996 gun law reforms: faster falls in firearm deaths, firearm suicides, and a decade without mass shootings. Injury Prevention, 12(6), 365-372.
Hood, M. N. (2009). Citizen, defend thyself: an individual-level analysis of concealed weapon permit holders. Criminal Justice Studies, 22(1), 73-89.
Hoskin, A. (2011). Household gun prevalence and rates of violent crime: A test of competing gun theories. Criminal Justice Studies, 125-136.
Kasprzak, J. (2013). Scope of Illegal Possession of Weapons in Poland and Character Study of a Perpetrator of this Crime. Internal Security, 147-158.
Malcolm, J. L. (2003). Lessons of History: Firearms Regulation and the Reduction of Crime. Texas Review of Law and Politics, 175-187.
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