In the United States, the rate of deaths from gun-related causes was around 12 per 100,000 people in 2016. That’s half as many as any other country in the world, and it’s close to the global average of 25 deaths per 100,000 people caused by diabetes (Newman & Todd 21). The recent increase in gun violence in the United States, as well as numerous incidents of mass shootings, has reignited the debate over gun control, with various people expressing their views. One thing that is certain is that United States leads when it comes to ownership of firearms, it’s estimated that the country has 88.8 firearms in every one hundred individuals (Gross & Marcus 6). That is more than any other country, even countries that are currently undergoing civil war or terrorism. In 2017 alone, there has been over 300 mass shooting in the country recording the highest number of mass shooting in one single year. There is a reason to why policies and law meant to regulate the possession, modification, transfer, sale, and manufacture of firearms was put in place considering the effects that are possessing firearms have 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 show why there is a need for gun control by looking at the background of gun control, several effects brought about having a lot of guns and finally highlight and counter-argument held by those 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 (Newman & Todd 11).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 and during the colonial history. The second amendment which in some way give 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 militia, not every single civilian (Follman et al. 29). Gun restrictions have for so many years existed and looked at the unprecedented occurrences that own guns have 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. There is certainly urgent need to have gun control.
THE NEED FOR GUN CONTROL
There are a good number of research done that shows doing 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, Alexia & Erica 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 leave alone the united states have shown that when people have easy access to guns are much likely to be involved in the homicide. Apart from one person killing the other, people also use guns to harm themselves
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 lay 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, Antonio & Katherine 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”. According to a study done by Boston Globe, places that have elevated the level of firearms ownership, the suicide rate at these places is two times higher as compared to places with low ownership of guns (Bourne 46). Also, the number of people who commit suicide using guns has constantly been increasing. This among many other reasons makes a lot of people to side with gun control.
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 gun control debate. About 54 percent of American citizens support strict firearms laws and about 91 percent people thinks it’s paramount to do a background check before permitting possession firearms to citizens (Barry, Colleen L., et al. 1080). Politically, the majority of independents and Democrats support gun control while about of Republicans also do. Many individuals are for gun control, but the politicians are usually very reluctant. One major reason why majority are for gun control is that of the frequent mass shootings
Most mass shooting massacres use legal weapons
In 2017 alone, there has been a record number of a mass shooting like it has never been seen before. Since 1982, the majority of the massacre 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. Limiting the number of guns that people have might help to avoid these deaths.
Banning guns save lives
People are the one who kills 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. Those who think we do not need gun control use the second amendment for their argument.
The second amendment
One of the most debated passages in the entire US constitution is the second amendment. Much people who want to support guns ownership only concentrates 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. There already enough guns out there.
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. However, there is no justifiable reason why an individual a high capacity magazine, pump action shotgun or an AR- 15, owning guns is not a sport. 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). More than 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. Having too many guns is not the solution.
Arming everyone is not the solution
It’s a fantasy to think that if everyone was armed that a mass shooter would not stand any chance. According to several studies, only 1.7 percent of all the mass shooting intervened by civilians were successful (Spitzer, Robert 116). This level of success is very low. In cases where the civilians have been successful in subduing the killer, they have done it only after the killer had killed enough people and ran out of bullets. Majority of the armed civilians who attack the killer usually get injured or killed since the killer is at most times an expert as compared to the civilian. Therefore arming everybody will not exactly help, it might make the situation to be worse. However, there are those who think gun control is not the best idea to counter all the issues related to guns that we face.
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 admits 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 gun 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 amendments 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 that 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 have resulted from the mass shooting in this year, it is important for people to think again about 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 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.
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