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The recent rise in gun shootings and the multiple incidences of the mass shootings in the United States have once again sparked the discussion about gun safety with various groups giving their views. One trend that is clear is that the U.S. is leading when it comes to the possession of handguns. It is estimated that there are 88.8 firearms in every one hundred people in the world. This is more than in any other region, including in countries that are currently engaged in civil war or terrorism. In 2017 alone, more than 300 mass shootings in the world reported the largest number of mass shootings in a single year. There is a reason why policies and law meant to regulate the possession, modification, transfer, sale, and manufacture of firearms were put in place considering the effects that possessing firearms has brought. Guns are a significant reason why crime and mass shooting continue to rise, and if something is not done, every mass shooting that will happen will continue to prove to be the deadliest. This paper will discuss why we need to have gun control by looking at how it will keep us safer and additionally look at opinion against gun control.
The fact that 22 percent of people in the US own firearms is something quite alarming. It means that about 270,000,000 people do own guns. The prevalent culture of gun ownership in the country is something that can be traced back to the frontier expansion, revolutionary roots, and the second amendment. The second amendment which in some way gives people a right to own firearms is what many advocates of anti-gun control use to oppose gun control. However, the second amendment which states "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" clearly refers to militia, not every single civilian (Follman et al. 29). Gun restrictions have for so many years existed and looked at the unprecedented occurrences that ownership of guns has caused; the individuals who own firearms have also constantly supported gun restriction. Recent mass shooting, for instance, the one that occurred in Las Vegas, claiming the lives of 58 people and injuring hundreds of people, is a wakeup call of one of the effects brought by firearm ownership.
The Need for Gun Control
There are a good number of research done that shows having gun control would make us safe by avoiding happenings that are related to guns. Gun control should be done for various number of reasons.
Guns Increase the Number of Homicides
One would expect that individuals owning guns would make them less likely to start a fight. However, this is not the case at all. According to a study done by Harvard school by analyzing data from the police department, homicides and guns are quite close (Cooper et al. 201). The reasons why homicides have been increasing for years is because people have easy access to firearms. It is much easier for an individual to pick up fights and kill the person, they are in an argument with or one that they do not like, when they have guns. Statistics from all over the world has shown that when people have easy access to guns they are much likely to be involved in the homicide.
Guns Increase the Number of Suicides Committed
There is a common perception that committing suicide is something that involves deep and thoughtful planning when one lays out a perfect execution plan of how they will take up their lives. However, recent studies have shown that suicide is not exactly a rational decision but rather it’s something that individuals do on a spur on a moment (Andrés et al.101) This means that if the individual has less access to the life-taking weapon, such as guns (which are very much available), they might get a chance to live again by avoiding that moment of “madness”.
Majority of the Public is for Gun Control
The politicians are supposed to represent people and opinions of the people. However, in some cases, they have been articulating all aspects of what people want, especially when it comes to gun control debate. About 54 percent of American citizens support strict firearms laws and about 91 percent people think it’s paramount to do a background check before permitting possession firearms to citizens (Colleen L. et al. 1080). Politically, the majority of independents and Democrats support gun control while Republicans also do. Many individuals are for gun control, but the politicians are usually very reluctant.
Most Mass Shooting Massacres Use Legal Weapons
In 2017 alone, there have been a record number of a mass shootings like it has never been seen before. Since 1982, the majority of the massacres have been performed by high capacity weapons but not all of the mass shooting. Some mass shooters are so desperate to achieve their mission that they even use handguns to do a mass shooting. They might not kill as many people as they would, but they do sometimes kill a significant number of innocent citizens.
Banning Guns Saves Lives
People kill people, not guns. The lesser the number of guns we have in the society, the lower the number of deaths as a result of guns. In Australia in 1996 when mass shooting happened to kill 35 people, John Howard, the prime minister then undertook a crackdown on gun ownership destroying over 650,000 various types of guns back then (Spitzer & Robert 45). Now, it’s hard to trace when the last mass shooting happened in Australia. This is exactly what our country needs.
The Second Amendment
One of the most debated passages in the entire US constitution is the second amendment. Much people who want to support gun ownership only concentrate on the part where it says “bear arms” forgetting one important part that is “militia” (Lott & John 16). They also forget that this amendment was made back in 1791 when the war conditions at that time were completely different. Back then there was a state of war and people were not living liberally as now. People should, therefore, not use the second amendment to grant themselves more power to have guns.
The Public Has Too Many Guns Already
Supporting gun control does not mean that owning guns will lead to a complete ban on owning firearms. It is very understandable to have a rifle or a shotgun to protect our families and property in times of need. It’s a fact that American citizen owns more guns than any other country in the world, even the other developed ones (Follman et al. 59); there are more guns in the US than in countries like Yemen or other countries that deal with drug cartels. These numbers are quite unnecessary, and it's time to think about changing this fact.
Arguments Against Gun Control
There is a significant number of people who hold an opinion on why gun control should not be allowed. Majority of people who own guns admit that guns do help them feel secured at their homes and also it makes them secure their property. Many also argue that banning of guns will not significantly change the gun culture in the country since some people will still own guns and crime will be constant. Other people, like farmers, also need guns to protect their livestock and fields against the wild animals and intruders. The farmers feel there is not enough technology to take care of their farms, and hence the banning of firearms is not done in their best interest (Bourne 151). Additionally, some people love shooting and have taken it as a major sport among themselves and as a form of recreation. They argue that there are other sports which are more dangerous than shooting. Since shooting is not aimed at anyone, then the sport is less harmful. Another major argument is that of the second amendment which, they say, allows them to own firearms. Since it's a part of the constitution, then it should be respected and implemented as it is and just like other parts of the constitution are.
However, these arguments are not always correct. To start with the second amendment, which as many say allows them to own guns, this a complete misinterpretation. They fail to recognize that the people addressed by the amendment were the "militia" and they only interpret the part that favors them (Lott & John 125). This is completely wrong. Looking at the number of deaths that has resulted from the mass shooting this year, it is important for people to think against gun ownership. Yes, we do need to have guns to protect our families, but there should be some control over how much and what type of guns we own.
In conclusion, the gun control debate is one that will not end soon. One thing for sure is that guns have brought a significant number of deaths in our country. Looking at various effects brought about by gun ownership, it is indeed important to have some control when it comes to how many guns we own or the type of guns that people have in their homes. Gun control does not mean a total ban on guns but only limiting gun ownership to a level where it’s necessary. However, restricting gun ownership will not work alone. There is need to address other factors, such as our mentality. After all, guns do not kill people, people do.
Bourne, Mike. "Guns don't kill people, cyborgs do: a Latourian provocation for transformatory arms control and disarmament." Global Change, Peace & Security 24.1 (2012): 141-163.
Andrés, Antonio Rodríguez, and Katherine Hempstead. "Gun control and suicide: The impact of state firearm regulations in the United States, 1995–2004." Health Policy 101.1 (2011): 95-103.
Cooper, Alexia, and Erica L. Smith. Homicide trends in the United States, 1980-2008. BiblioGov, 2012.
Barry, Colleen L., et al. "After Newtown—public opinion on gun policy and mental illness." New England journal of medicine 368.12 (2013): 1077-1081.
Follman, Mark, Gavin Aronsen, and Deanna Pan. "A guide to mass shootings in America." Mother Jones 15 (2012): 119.
Lott, John R. More guns, less crime: Understanding crime and gun control laws. University of Chicago Press, 2013.
Spitzer, Robert J. Politics of gun control. Routledge, 2015.
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