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Did you know that more than 22 percent of America's population has guns? The troubling figures about this incredible situation are that this figure comprises 35 percent of men and just 2 percent of women (Esposito and Finley 74). One would also say that women are at increased risk of being targeted by civilian gun owners because they lack adequate self-defense systems or, better yet, because men have the highest ownership of a firearm, there is a chance of increasing gender-related abuse. Considering that this statistic is the largest in the world, it is worrying, and something needs to be done and should be done fast to bring back sanity in the society regarding possession of crude weapons by civilians (Esposito and Finley 74). Gun rights stem back from the colonial history, frontier expansion, and the enactment of Second Amendment. The amendment states categorically 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 (Esposito and Finley 74)." However, this provision has been interpreted in various ways some to protect a personal interest in possessing guns while others argue that it restricts gun ownership to a particular group of people.
It does no matter who is interpreting this legislation correctly, what is important is the need to control gun right and even enact even stricter legislations to reduce the number of guns in the civilians hands (Pies 6). The argument for gun control is alive considering the tragedies that have taken place in the United States rooting from personal weapons. Just in around early 2013, a student went on a shooting spree at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, and the 16-year-old killed 20 children and about six adults using a 12 –gauge shotgun (Pies 6). This is just an example of many atrocities that can be committed when guns fell in wrong hands. This is the reason to why this paper seeks to take a position and support gun control in the United States. To defend this position, it will be necessary to highlight the existing legislations on gun control and later consider the merits and may be demerits of gun control to a country and its citizens.
Existing Legislation on Gun Control
The Amendment II of the United States spells 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." According to this legislation, it is legal for an 18-year-old to get to the shop and purchases a gun, the irony is that this same person is not allowed by the law to buy alcohol. Americans have strictly defended this provision in the Constitution with and the argument that having guns puts them in a better position in case they need to overthrow a tyrannical leader (Pies 6). This reason seems to be hypothetic and more speculative as one cannot live in fear of tyranny which may never come. Fine, as much as this is necessary for the event that the unexpected happens, the current life is most significantly valuable to the well-being of the country. It is a fact that “Nobody knows about tomorrow” and therefore it is just worth living today (Jones and Stone 167). Some activists against gun control argue that gun control would not work even if it were in place because one who wants a gun will still find a way of getting it and the killing will continue. If this is the argument, then we should also say that traffic laws are not necessary since one who wants to disobey the regulations will still make the red lights (Jones and Stone 167). Moreover, road accidents still occur and therefore we should do away with the regulations. An attempt to do that will result in over 100% increase in traffic accidents, and the deaths such will equally increase by the same margin (Jones and Stone 167). Therefore regulations are necessary to cushion some tragedies as it is better to prevent an illness than to try to cure it.
Gun control is, therefore, necessary despite the fact that people will still die of gun shots, but the number of guns with the civilians should reduce to ensure that Americans do not live in fear anymore (Jones and Stone 167). Taking, for example, the shooting at a school in Newton, the pupils who remained alive are still scared since they do not even know when next they may hear gunshots again. Furthermore, they underwent serious trauma which means that guns do not just kill but instil fear and psychological stress among the witness. Stricter gun control laws will serve to arrest these unfortunate scenarios (Jones and Stone 167). Countries that have tighter legislation to control gun possession have managed to reduce the number of deaths resulting from firearms. Australia, for example, started to implement gun control laws back in 1996 after a shooting massacre that left 35 people dead. So far, it has enacted legislation that bans possession of assault weapons, purchasing of shotguns and has also provided for paying for gun amnesty and buybacks. Current statistics indicate that this step has helped reduce the number of deaths from the firearm by over 59% between 1995 and 2006 (Jones and Stone 167). The Australian case provides a good benchmark for the United States to ensure that a proper law is placed in an attempt to reduce the 300 million firearms resting with the civilians. Now that there is gun right and a large proportion of the citizens have them, the next question to ask is whether the arms are helping or they are doing more harm.
Reasons For and Against Gun Control
Self-defense, this will be the first response to come from the opponents of gun control if they are asked about the reasons for the freedom to own guns (Hamzelou 14). Most anti-gun control activists argue that the state policies which are charged with the responsibility to protect the local citizens against criminals have failed in that. They claim that it takes a considerable time for police to arrive at a crime scene no matter how quick they are called and therefore the only thing they do is to investigate after the damage has been done (Hamzelou 14). The criminals get away with crime every day unless the civilians are allowed to have the guns, they cannot fight crime, and they are the one who loses. Another argument against gun control is that it contravenes the Second Amendment of the Constitution and therefore what are laws for if they cannot be followed (Hamzelou 14). Moreover, owning a gun is a constitutional right, and no one should take it away. Finally, they cite instances where some evil governments have taken advantage of gun control laws to harass innocent citizens found in possession of firearms (Hamzelou 14). As much as the opponents of the gun control laws have a constitutional right to air their views freely, it is important to understand that America is a democratic country and therefore sometimes the majority opinions counts (Esposito and Finley 98). It is also imperative to take a look at the proponents’ views on why it is not only necessary to have gun control laws, but they should also be strict to the level of ban where possible.
To begin with, the rate of deaths resulting from firearms among the civilian is alarming. Let’s briefly take a look at the statistics and find out the depth of the issue of guns in the hands of the public (Harcourt 23). According to the information from the federal police department, on average over 11000 people die in the United States from gunshots (Esposito and Finley 99). Surprisingly in some cases, even the gun holder end up dying either from suicide or by the mob justice. Taking just the month of February alone a total of 27 people were killed by gunshots in different cities all over the United States. Mark you these deaths only account for the reported cases, it, therefore, means that the figure could be bigger if all cases were to be put into consideration. From the brief statistical facts, considering that the only 22% of the population have guns, the situation will even be worse if the ownership ratio will have to increase (Esposito and Finley 103). Therefore even before looking at other possible side effects of legalizing gun possession, this statistics alone are enough to convince everyone that gun control is significant in the country.
Another argument for gun control is that guns undermine liberty. It is the responsibility to make a decision concerning him and express themselves freely as the law provides for freedom of speech and association. Once one is an adult, he can do anything with your health provided if he does not interfere with other people’s freedom. However being in possession of gun changes all these freedom (Harcourt23). Imagine a situation where some members of the community are armed, and therefore no one can mess with them. Those without guns will have to conduct themselves with a lot of caution when walking one need to take care not to step on the feet another. Moreover, as one speaks he/she needs to choose their words more carefully to ensure that they do not offend anyone around (Harcourt23). In this case the freedom of expression and association for fear of not knowing who you offend and if you mess with one of the gun owners, you will end up dead as they have the power in the bullet. Moreover, the more guns there are in the community, the higher the number of homicides and suicides since everyone has the means to execute their will.
Guns poison power since a group of people may use the guns in their possession to overthrow the government (Eller 209). As much as some government may be tyrannical and therefore may warrant such actions, the power hungry individuals may take advantage of the many firearms in the hands of the civilian to force their way to power. This kind of activities has led to unending war in the country as it has been seen in most African and some Asian countries (Eller 209). In these countries, those who were in need for power or who wanted to push their political agenda ended up forming illegal militia groups to serve their interest. The United States’ Second Amendment is clear that only a well-regulated militia is good for the security of a free state (Eller 209). However, the primary challenge if the guns are not controlled will be identifying the well organized and regulated militia.
In addition to all these reasons to support the need to have strong gun control laws, it can also be argued that if Americans need guns, they have already got enough at the moment. Having 300 million guns with the civilians is not just enough but in excess and therefore should be banned. Banning guns will help save lives since the security will be left to police and the army. When safety is left to the police, they will be the only ones allowed to bear the crude weapons such as firearms (Eller 212). The right thing with the police having guns is that they will be under the watch of the watch of their boss who is the government, and therefore they stand accountable to the government in whatever they do with the guns. Increasing the number of guns in possession of the civilians can spell doom to the security of the country in that criminals will use them against the law enforcement officers (Eller 212). Finally, gun control policies should be made stricter to enhance the fight against terrorism in the United States. When everyone is allowed to own guns, it will be so difficult for the government through the law enforcement officers to identify the intentions of everyone when they buy guns. Terrorists may then take advantage of the situation and find their way to the country and execute attacks on the innocent citizens.
In conclusion, it is important to note that, “better late than never” and therefore it is a wakeup call for the government to enact a law that will regulate gun possession in the United States. From the discussion, it is clear that gun ownership does more harm than good to a country. As much as the Second Amendment gives the citizens freedom to hold the gun for security purposes, it is definite on the “militia” insists that it should be well organized. However, most opponents of gun control tend to duel more on the “right to bear arm” and forgets that it should just be allowed to a particular group. Additionally, the statistics show how dangerous the guns can be if left in the hands of everyone. The death toll from firearms will keep on rising, and this has to be stopped as soon as possible. When a section of the population hold guns, the rest without arms lose the liberty to talk, walk and associate freely with others as they are not certain of what a person can do with guns in their possession. Gun control has worked in other countries such as Australia by reducing the number of deaths resulting from firearms by about 59% over a period of ten years and therefore America can also succeed, what we need is just the decision to be made by the policy makers. Let us ban guns to save lives.
Eller, Warren S. "Review Of The War on Guns: Arming Yourself against Gun Control Lies by John R. Lott." Risk, Hazards & Crisis in Public Policy, no. 7(4), 2016, pp. 209-212.
Esposito, Luigi, and Laura Finley. "Beyond Gun Control: Examining Neoliberalism, Pro-Gun Politics And Gun Violence In The United States." Theory in Action, no.7 (2), 2014, pp. 74-103.
Hamzelou, Jessica. "When Gun Laws Go Too Far." New Scientist, no. 225(3011), 2015, pp. 14.
Harcourt, Bernard E. "On Gun Registration, The NRA, Adolf Hitler, And Nazi Gun Laws: Exploding The Gun Culture Wars." SSRN Electronic Journal no. 23.
Jones, Michael A., and George W. Stone. "The U.S. Gun-Control Paradox: Gun Buyer Response To Congressional Gun-Control Initiatives." Journal of Business & Economics Research (JBER), 13(4), 2015, pp. 167.
Pies, Ronald. "Psychiatrists Should Be Advocates For Gun-Control Laws." Psychiatric News, no.46 (7), 2011, pp. 6-6. Web
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